FUSE Festival Autumn 2023 is a contemporary, multi-arts festival presented by the City of Darebin that turns the community into a platform for local artists and performers to highlight their creative and rich, artistic talent. FUSE takes place every Autumn and Spring. This Autumn, from 11–26 March, Darebin’s streets, parks, venues, theatres, galleries and other public spaces will all be transformed into locally unexpected zones of art, culture and creativity.
In this year’s program, festival-goers will experience everything from large community celebrations to intimate new experiences. FUSE believes that art is for everyone and encourages the community to discover the surprising and unexpected in their local neighbourhood with a bold and diverse program for Autumn 2023.
Launching the FUSE Autumn programming this year is Out of the Park Picnic on Sunday 12 March, hosted by Queen Acknowledgements, aka Nartarsha Bamblett, a proud Yorta Yorta, Gunai Kurnai, Walpiri and Wiradjuri women. This free afternoon event at Edwardes Lake Park features interactive activities with shared culture, local artists, food, site art, music, family activities and a strong community voice.
Artists performing include Emma Donovan, DJ Jumps, and Dorsal Fins. There will also be the All-inclusive Interactive Drum and Movement Activity, presented by African Star Dance, a group of performers and musicians who are committed to bringing the community together through African culture and tradition. Everyone is invited to rehearse with the band prior to their performance or join in on the day. Sunday 12 March at Edwardes Lake Park in Reservoir.
In celebration of International Women’s Week, The Molly Hadfield Social Justice Oration has been held annually by Darebin City Council for over ten years. This year, guest speaker Namila Benson, radio broadcaster, podcaster and television presenter, will provide a thought-provoking dialogue on racism and anti-racism. The event is a tribute to Molly Hadfield OAM, an inspiring local who worked tirelessly for social justice.
Wednesday 15 March at Darebin Arts Centre.
FUSE presents its very first Artist Keynote with Mat Watson. REGIONAL ECHOES: From yabbies to freeform synthesis will be a compelling discussion on Mat’s journey from growing up in rural Victoria to discovering a life in music, modular synthesisers and experimental sound.
Thursday 16 March at Darebin Arts Centre
Meet the Makers celebrates Darebin’s amazing local wine makers. Visitors will get to sample homemade wine, chat with the makers, listen to live music by Pirritu, browse artisan food and wine stalls, and view demonstrations. The day is MCed by Darebin local, Elise Pulbrook, from MasterChef 2021.
Sunday 19 March at Preston City Hall.
As part of FUSE, the City of Darebin commissions works to be presented throughout the duration of the of the festival. This FUSE Fund initiative gives local artists an opportunity to explore new practices and engage with additional elements to improve, perfect and diversify their art form.
Exquisite Bias is a free two-week photography exhibition by Delia Poon showing collaborative, audio-visual portraits, exploring unconscious racial bias and cultural identity in contemporary Australia. The project invites Darebin locals to have their photograph taken and record their answer to the question, ‘Where do you come from?’
11-26 March at Preston Library.
THINGAMABOBS is an interactive space full of surprising machines and quirky contraptions. It is a kinetic installation that bounces between the absurd, the deeply human, and the straight-up funny. Spectacular, silly, romantic – all thingamabobs have a story to tell. It’s an installation that collects the imagination of kids and seniors into an entertaining space inviting curious people to look and listen.
18-19 March at Northern Community Church
Time Distance Music is led by local musician and instrument inventor Colin Offord. Audiences can enjoy the music of seven visionary musicians from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, exploring new possibilities for traditional and invented instruments. Enjoy the continuous uplifting, cross-cultural, musical performance—audiences can come and go as they please.
25-26 March at The CHALICE, Northcote Uniting Church
FUSE will also be launching two podcasts as part of the festival. Darker is a series of six fictional works written and performed by La Trobe university students. These diverse, provocative and engaging pieces each play of the theme of ‘darker’ such as an artist in the grip of a spectre, family stories emerging from the shadows, island life resulting in solemn introspections, and many more. The Future Leaders, created by artists Dr Claufia Esobar Vega and Jorge Leiv, is an intriguing series revealing the future generation’s opinions on the leaders of today and their vision of the leaders of the future.
The Darebin Community Awards recognise individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the community. This year’s presentation ceremony will be held at the brand new Narrandjeri
Stadium, where everyone can attend. This new stadium is located at John Cain Memorial Park in Thornbury and is a purpose-built multi-sports facility for women’s sport and the wider Darebin community.
23 March at Narrandjeri Stadium, Thornbury
FUSE@Large open access program, where anyone presenting a creative event in Darebin can do so under the FUSE banner. Events and programs to be announced soon.
The FUSE closing party features The Last Dance by All The Queens Men. Inspired by the LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club, All The Queens Men present an all-out afternoon soiree featuring Motown and disco classics performed by some of Melbourne’s most prolific vocalists including Wendy Stapleton, Sarah Ward, Nefertiti LaNegra and more. This promises to be a huge event celebrating the whole LGBTIQ+ and allied community.
Saturday 25 March at Northcote Theatre
FUSE Autumn 2023 takes place from 11 until 26 March, with the full program to be announced on Tuesday 14th February at www.fusedarebin.com.au