Midsumma Pathways

Krista, Midsumma Pathways Participant. Photo by Alexis D.Lea

Midsumma Pathways

Midsumma Pathways is a nine-month mentorship program for LGBTQIA+ artists with disability. The Pathways program provides a queer context for fourteen LGBTQIA+ participants with disability to develop their artistic practices. It includes access to professional mentoring, group workshops and contact with arts industry representatives, that build participants' capacity.

Led by professional artists and arts workers, Midsumma Pathways brings together a diverse range of emerging cultural practitioners, creating a unique space for the intersection of ideas and modes of practice. Accepted into the program have previously been artists from across all disciplines - including dance, visual art, theatre, media, circus, burlesque and writing.

As the program will be delivered online and through other remote learning options and platforms, we are continuing to deliver the program throughout the COVID-19 period of social distancing and restrictions.
We are open and enthusiastic to applicants who are interstate, some funding may be arranged for travel and accommodation if any in-person events are able to proceed.


Midsumma Pathways is funded by the Australian Government.


Apply for Midsumma Pathways

Applications for Midsumma Pathways 2020-2021 have now closed.

If you want to talk through this application process or any of the questions, please contact the program coordinator, Mama Alto - at [email protected] We are here to help, offer a hand, chat through ideas and celebrate the wins!

Midsumma Pathways Participants 2020

The following applicants were successful for 2020-2021 Midsumma Pathways program, running from June 2020 to February 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we will deliver (at least the initial steps) Midsumma Pathways 2020. By moving the program to a digital space we have been able to expand this year's program to 14 participants.

Andy Rijs (Andy Amor)

Andy Rijs (Andy Amor) is an emerging fashion and textile designer, whose bold and innovative designs incorporate vibrant colour, sculptural silhouettes, and unique prints, imbued with a sense of individualism and fun. They have a passion for designing for diversity, and creating accessible, genderless, fashion-forward clothing. They're currently working towards launching a range of chest binders, to fit a diverse range of bodies.

Pronouns: they/them
Photo credit: Andy Rijs 


Dasha works across theatre, dance and experimental/contemporary performance as a maker, writer and performer. She explores photography, site-specific work, long-form journalism as well as incorporating visual theatre, music and new technologies as part of an expanded practice. Cross-cultural theatre/contemporary dance practices, contested-complex histories, hybrid spaces, disability access aesthetics and provocative conversations are recurring themes. 

Pronouns: she/her or they/them
Photo credit: Alexis Desaulniers-Lea 


Eclectic and esoteric, Diimpa is an avant composer, soundscape weaver and sonic wizard. He is a proud mixed Kabi Kabi autistic queer man who works with keyboard instruments to create worlds of effortless magic and sound journey. Filled with electric pulses or ambient textures, Diimpas unique brand of contemporary minimalism is, at its heart, transcendent.  

Pronouns: he/him

Emma Armstrong-Porter

Emma Armstrong-Porter is a visual artist, educator and a co-founder of NOIR darkroom Gallery and Photographic Space. Her practice most probably employs the graphical yet organic nature of relief printmaking but she also makes images of the often unseen using chemistry-based photography techniques. Her art is influenced by the language of tattoos, living with autism and mental illness, institutionalisation, consumerism and suburbia, usually resulting in visual narratives. 

Pronouns: she/her

Evie Clayton

Evie is a synthetic chemist, science communicator and circus artist who likes to apply the same curiosity and critical thinking to both science and circus. Evie's specialties are aerial rope, handstands and synthetic glycobiology. They are expanding their artistic practice to dramaturgy and creative development, exploring medical misogyny, cissexism and heterosexism, and drawing on their lived experiences as a queer, non binary person and chronic pain patient. 

Pronouns: they/them
Photo credit: Benjamin ODea 

Fox Kennedy

Fox Kennedy is a queer, feminist, fat, socialist, collage and visual artist born in Kalgoorlie. They are interested in building safer spaces and challenging violence in communities through art, and talking about personal and political issues with a kitsch aesthetic. Fox is working with art that engages ideas of chronic illness, disability, activism, accessibility, trauma, healing and community building.  

Pronouns: she/her or they/them
Photo credit: Fox Kennedy 

Jamila Main

Jamila Main is a trained actor and award-winning playwright who makes work that operates within queer, feminist dramaturgies, and centers queer stories and people with disabilities. Their work often explores autonomy, trust, and joy, utilising the expressive possibilities of queerness in all its pure unbridled potential.  

Pronouns: she/her
Photo credit: Sam Oster 

Jasmine Shirrefs

Jasmine Shirrefs is a Deaf, non-binary and queer writer who experiments with form, narrative, memory and communication to explore the experiences of living in the intersections.  

Pronouns: they/them
Photo credit: Dulcie Shirrefs 

Joel Lago

Joel Lago is an actor, poet and performance-maker learning to be uncompromising and unapologetic in his disability and queerness. Joel aims to create art and media that address and challenge social perceptions of disability.  

Pronouns: he/him
Photo credit: Susan Papazian 

Leisa Prowd

Leisa Prowd is a dancer and physical theatre performer, developing a practice where exploring her own physical identity as a person with a visible skeletal disability. Leisa explores and confronts ideas of what it is to be a dancer, what it is to radically accept and celebrate the body in all its intricate diversity.  

Pronouns: she/her
Photo credit: 3 Fates Media 

Melody Shotade

Melody Shotade is a storyteller on a peace mission. Her tales aim to evoke thought & hold space, forradical self-acceptance and individualism.

Pronouns: she/her
Photo credit: Linda Scanlon 

Patrick Gunasekera

Patrick Gunasekera is a Sinhala queercrip interdisciplinary artist working from the Whadjuk region of the Noongar nation, disrupting coloniser frameworks of art and manifesting multiplicities of home throughwriting, performance, visual media, and facilitation.  

Pronouns: he/him
Photo credit: Centre for Stories 

Sam Martin

Sam Martin is a Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Gay theatre maker and filmmaker, exploring ideas of the many facets of identities, inclusivity, navigating English and Auslan, and empowering and encouraging Deaf, disabled and queer communities. 

Pronouns: he/him
Photo credit: Julian Pertout 

Yasemin Sabuncu

Yasemin Sabuncu is a multidisciplinary artist working across performance, writing, visual art, film and television, who aims to create stories that uplift, engage, and promote diversity in innovative ways. Yaseminexplores ideas of belonging, identity, liminality, spirituality, the environment, race, disability rights, questioning the status quo, and being the other.”  

Pronouns: she/her
Photo credit: Yasemin Sabuncu 

Mentors 2020

The Midsumma Pathways Mentors will be announced here in August 2020. Stay tuned!

Midsumma Pathways Participants 2019

The following applicants were successful for the 2019 Midsumma Pathways program.

Abbie Madden

- mentored by Robbie Curtis

Abbie Madden is Artistic Director and founder of inclusive dance and circus company Blindful. Their current work My Sight - Their Sight has just completed an Australian tour, performing at the Western Australia Circus festival and FRINGE WORLD Perth 2018. Abbie took part in Melbourne Fringe 2017, with a show called Blindful and won Best Emerging Producer, supported by Milke. Abbie is originally from Australia where she trained at Gravity Dance Studios and Adelaide College of the Arts in their Bachelor Program.

Abbie was also a member of the world renowned Australian Dance Theatre's Youth Ensemble where she worked with Choreographers Larissa McGowan and current company dancers. After seeing award winning comedy dance theatre group ponydance perform in the Adelaide Fringe 2013 Abbie relocated to Belfast to fulfil her dream of working with them and became a company member for two years. Whilst in the UK and Ireland Abbie worked with various independent dance companies, musicians and collectives. You can see her in music videos for Ryan McMullan (now touring with Ed Sheeran), Donal Scullion and Loris.

A highlight was presenting a video work at PS2 Gallery in Belfast as part of a 2016 exhibition that Abbie curated with the Go Girl Collective. Abbie is a versatile performer and choreographer with experience in dance performance along with creative research and developments, film, physical theatre and musical theatre. The direction she wishes to head in right now is merging dance and circus with disability, how can these disciplines become more accessible. Particularly to those with a vision impairment, which comes from Abbie's own experiences being born with congenital glaucoma.

Christopher Bryant

- mentored by Amelia Roper

Christopher Bryant is an award-winning playwright, author, and performer. He has studied at NIDA (Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance), 2014/15), and worked with a range of companies including Gob Squad, fortyfivedownstairs, Malthouse Theatre, the State Library of Victoria, ATYP, La Mama and MKA. As a playwright he's been shortlisted for the Griffin Award (Home Invasion, 2015), Belvoir St Theatre's Phillip Parsons Fellowship (The Mutant Man, 2014), and the Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Competition (The Mutant Man, 2015).

Recent work includes his play Intoxication (Myron My, 2016), which he also performed in, and his "dark, expressionistic thriller" The Mutant Man (British Theatre Guide, 2017). Intoxication won the Queer Development and Mentorship Award at the 2017 Melbourne Fringe, and toured Australia in 2017 & 18. He's had scripts published through Playlab and Australian Plays, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Russell Beedles Performing Arts Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria (2015).

As an author he's been shortlisted for the Scribe Nonfiction Prize (2017) and the Frankie Magazine "Good Stuff" Award (2017). He has completed a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship (2017), and is due to complete a residency at Bundanon Trust in 2018 to complete his narrative non-fiction collection, Accidents Happen. He has been published in Hello, Mr. Magazine, Thought Catalog, and That Reminds Me, as well as appearing at the Emerging Writers' Festival and NYFW. He teaches with Monash University, where he's completing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Jane Montgomery Griffiths.

Clareo O'Shannessy

- mentored by Sapidah Kian

Clareo is a transdisciplinary artist in visual art, performance and spoken word poetry. As a bisexual, she is unable to find scripts that demonstrate her experiences of bisexuality, so she writes her own. Clareo is interested in creating and performing content with nuanced approaches to bisexuals' personalities and traits. She also aims to be very progressive in her approach to gender and identity. Healthy artistic conversations around mental health are also a priority for Clareo, as she has lived experienced as a survivor.

Clareo's love of word play, visual intricacies and physical theatre, all with a queer feminist lens, assist in the unique poetic landscapes of her plays. Clareo is completing her final year of a Bachelor of Fine Art at Monash University. She has a long history of exhibiting in Melbourne, including a career highlight in 2012, as a part of REVAMP Collective's exhibition, HABITAT, at the NGV Australia.

This led her to be personally mentored by Annee Miron, ongoing, and Juan Davila, for 5 wonderful years. Clareo is also an emerging circus performer with Women's Circus. Her particular interests are in acrobatics, clowning and physical theatre.

Creatrix Tiara

- mentored by Maude Davey

Creatrix Tiara works with creative arts and media, technology, games, community cultural development, and education to explore ideas around community, identity, liminality, belonging, and social justice.

She's a life-long writer, a strident activist for rights to self-determination and personal choice, and has built a reputation for creating challenging, catalysing creative and community work that deals with race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Currently she's very interested in exploring the ways that arts, media, performance, games, and other mediums can be used to convey and support experiences of transience and flux while also building empathy and understanding for experiences and stories outside one's own.

Elvin Lam

- mentored by Justine Miles

Elvin is based in Melbourne and started dancing in his late teenage years. Before dance, he trained in figure skating for 10 years and attended different competitions. He was also an actor for Deaflympic, films, TV and theatre before he strapped on his first pair of dancing shoes. He joined Deaf Can Dance in 2006 and had performances in Melbourne, South Australia and Queensland. Currently he is with The Delta Project and the latest performance was Under My Skin at Arts Access Victoria and Next Wave Festival in 2016. He is also a skilled comic illustrator.

Ruby Allegra

- mentored by Quinn Eades

Ruby Allegra is a 24 year old queer, genderfluid visual artist, makeup artist, speech pathology student and activist from South Australia. Their background is in fine art, and Ruby incorporates painting, pencil sketching, poetry and abstract contour portraiture to explore themes of disability, sexuality, gender, intersectionality and mental illness in their art. Ruby is also co-founder (with artist and poet Wallis Prophet) of The TheyThem Collective, a queer and gender diverse artist collective.

Sophie Rose

- mentored by Alison Bennett

Sophie Rose is an artist and student living in Narrm/Melbourne. Her practice looks at the body in states of sickness and girlhood through writing, objects and video.

Recent exhibitions include: 
Remedial Works, curated by Andrew Verano at PICA, Perth (2017) and Real Life Fantasies, curated by Patrice Sharkey at Westspace, Melbourne (2017).

Mentors 2019

The following humans are the amazing mentors for Midsumma Pathway participants in 2019.

Robbie Curtis

– mentoring Abbie Madden

Robbie Curtis is an awarding winning dancer and acrobat who has performed nationally and internationally. Robbie was a graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, majoring in contemporary dance. After graduating he went on to work for Footnote Dance company, Legs on the Wall, Shaun Parker Co, Australian Ballet in their contemporary season Infinity, Circa (touring and making work with them for 5 years), Circus Oz, and Cirque Du Soleil. Robbie performed hoop diving in Cirque Du Soleil's show VOLTA as well as general acrobatics. Robbie has a rich understanding of interdisciplinary physicality and loves creative physical exploration, discovering new ways of moving.

Amelia Roper

– mentoring Christopher Bryant

Amelia is an award winning Australian playwright and screenwriter, living in LA, where she works on the Netflix / Jenji Kohan show GLOW and develops TV and film for American and Aussie audiences. She's currently in Melbourne rehearsing LOTTIE IN THE LATE AFTERNOON, directed by Marg Downey for KIN Collective at 45 Downstairs, and writes for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company, The Rose and Yale Rep.

Her plays have been seen at the Old Vic in London, KXT in Sydney, Melbourne Arts Centre, the Humana Festival of New American Plays at ATL, Taffety Punk in DC, Square Product in Boulder, Prelude Festival in NYC, San Francisco, and Moscow in Russian translation. Her latest play ZÜRICH opened at New York Theatre Workshop, produced by Colt Coeur, to rave reviews and Critics Pick in NYT, TimeOut, and The New Yorker. Amelia also works with Gloria Steinem, Hollywood's Time'sUp movement and 5050by2020.com with Jill Soloway. She is an alum of St Martins Youth Arts Centre and Monash University and has an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

Sapidah Kian

– mentoring Clareo O'Shannessy

Sapidah is an actor, director and theatre maker. As an actor, she has worked extensively across film, television, theatre and radio.

Recent acting credits include: In-Fidelity (Complete Smut Art Auction-FOLA 16), Tomorrow When the War Began (ABC), The Five Provocations (Black Eye Films), Partisan (Warp Films), Catalyst Club (24 Hour Experience-FOLA 14). Recent theatre making credits include Freewheelin', Queerum and Catalyst Club (24 Hour Experience-FOLA 14), I Am The Wind (Turtle Lab/Public Front), Never Swim Alone and Light (Verve Studios), Curtains (Carnegie 18 for Full Tilt/Vic Arts Centre), Ulrike Meinhof Sings (Turtle Lab).

Sapidah has also worked as a dramaturg and provocateur in theatre and film, most recently with Iranian Australian performance group, Baran, for Metro Arts/PWA. She was co-founder of Turtle Lab, a performance laboratory investigating creative process, directing works and engaging in performance research on projects such as Troilus and Cressida (RSC/The Wooster Group).

Maude Davey

– mentoring Creatrix Tiara

Maude Davey trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and has worked as an actor, director and writer ever since, with her primary focus being the creation of new work, particularly in the variety style. Her own neo-variety sci-fi behemoth, Retro Futurismus, has been playing in Melbourne at fortyfivedownstairs since 2015 and has been presented in Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin and Western Australia, earning six Green Room Award nominations.

She has collaborated frequently with Finucane & Smith over the last two decades, on many projects including as a core member of The Burlesque Hour/Glory Box ensemble from 2004 – 2013. She 'retired' her Burlesque acts with her acclaimed autobiographical retrospective, My Life In the Nude (nominated for a Green Room Award: Best Actor), which has been presented in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. She has appeared regularly on stage, TV and film and teaches Acting and Performance Making at VCA and La Trobe Universities.

Justine Miles

– mentoring Elvin Lam

Initially from Sydney Justine trained in her early years with Anne Mosdell and then The Halliday School of Dance. Justine was accepted into the Australian Ballet School and after being selected to join the Australian Ballet under the Directorship of Maina Gielgud she quickly achieved rank of Leading Soloist, working with such greats as Sir Robert Helpmann, Rudolf Nureyev, Galina Ulanova, Anne Woolliams, Yiri Kylian and many others.

She has danced Principal and Soloist roles in many ballets including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Merry Widow and La Sylphide. Justine was also a Guest Principal Artist for the National Ballet of Canada and the Dancers Company. After retiring Justine was Ballet Mistress for the Melbourne Ballet Company and choreographed "In Memoriam" and "Phases" for their opening seasons.

She has guest taught for the Australian Ballet and currently teaches the Australian Ballet "Studios" program. Justine is also a Dance Adjudicator and Ballet Examiner and was judge for the Royal Academy of Dance 2018 Isobel Anderson Awards in NSW. She has also been a guest teacher for the Royal Academy of Dance Summer, Autumn and Winter schools taking masterclasses and ballet repertoire classes.

Quinn Eades

– mentoring Ruby Allegra

Quinn Eades is a Tracey Banivanua Mar Research Fellow and Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Gender, Sexuality, and Diversity Studies program at La Trobe University. A writer, researcher, gutter philosopher and poet, his book Rallying was awarded the 2018 Mary Gilmore Award for best first book of poetry. Quinn is the author of all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body, and the co-editor of Going Postal: More than 'Yes' or 'No', and Offshoot: Contemporary Life Writing Methodologies and Practice. When he's not working, Quinn is hanging with his kids, cuddling his pups, and watching reruns of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or drag makeup tutorials on YouTube.

Alison Bennett

– mentoring Sophie Rose

Dr Alison Bennett works in 'expanded photography' where the boundaries of photography have shifted in the transition to digital media and become diffused into ubiquitous computing. Bennett's recent projects explored the creative potentials of augmented reality, stereophotogrammetry, 3D scanning, and virtual reality as encompassed by the medium and practice of photography. As a neuroqueer trans-media artist, Bennett's work has explored the performance and technology of gender identity and considered the convergence of biological and digital skin as virtual prosthesis.

Her work has generated international viral media attention more than once; been featured on ABC TV Australian Story, the New York Times, Mashable, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Motherboard, The Creators Project, KillScreen, ABC TV News, and The Guardian 'best Australian photographs of 2015'.

Midsumma Year Round

Want to know what else we do (apart from run a fantastic arts festival each year, of course)! Check out our mentorship programs and year-round activities.

Midsumma Year Round

Midsumma Futures

Midsumma Futures is a nine-month development and mentoring program for early-career artists and culture-makers.

Midsumma Futures
Principal Partners
Major Partners
Gold Partners