This picture shows long white and narrow room, with a large colourful landscape drawing displayed along the left hand side, a projected image on the far centre room and framed works alongside the right hand side. A woman with light brown skin stands closest to the pencil drawing faces the drawing nd gestures towards it. Across the middle of the room 5 figures stand, all casually dressed and looking toward the drawing and woman in black. On the right hand corner of the room three people sit or crouch looking at the wall. One person with green stands in the centre foreground of the room with her back to the camera, wearing a brown and blue hooded cardigan combo.
Eloise Coombe, First Site Gallery Creative Exchange for Carolina Kozselski and Victoria Jost, 2019.

THE CHANGING ROOM PROJECT is a research-based investigation on the quest for ideal structural and related processes for a socially engaged arts organisation in 2023.

The call for structural change within arts organisations and their funders is made loud and clear by RMIT researchers Hendry, N.A., Flore, J., & Gaylor, A. and cultural researchers elsewhere (‘COVID-19 was an unexpected intermission for creative arts workers in Victoria: but what happens next? – A Research Snapshot’. Melbourne: RMIT University. et al, 2021). These studies underline the need to make future arts engagement increasingly accessible, and arts employment increasingly secure and tenable.

Through literature review and interviews Fiorella considers the forces influencing audience-based cultural practices to better understand how a pandemic era community arts organisation can be designed offer inclusive socially impactful programming, whilst itself being resilient and supportive of its members. The Changing Room is about making space for socially engaged arts practice, where pedagogy, creative practice and dialogue intersect.

This research is preparatory to program development of a conversation and workshop series intersecting multi-generational wisdom with specialist information and arts-based engagement. Participatory arts complement each session, delivered in a variety of forms. Through this, participants access entertainment, a shared wellbeing experience to assist social connection, as well as a multimodal means of learning new information and other socially engaged arts practices.

This project complements Fiorella’s Master of Arts Management research focus on audience engagement, strategies toward cultural inclusion, cultural policy advocacy for socially engaged arts, feminist exhibition proposals and education resource design for multiple intelligences.

Fiorella is an emerging arts manager with experience in socially engaged program development and co-ordination and was an inaugural member of the RMIT First Site Gallery Commitee (2018-9) where she developed and co-ordinated the Archways exhibition program, calling out for artworks from RMIT students with an experience of social barriers.

Fiorella developed and delivered the Incinerator Gallery Art & Dementia Program in 2019 and has developed the pilot Art & Dementia online program 2020 and Tuning-In to Art (online) 2021 project to pilot stage.

In 2021 Fiorella participated in the City of Moonee Valley Women’s Leadership program.

How to form and conduct a socially engaged arts organisation in post pandemic times is relevant to the field of Arts Management as a means of promoting resilient and inclusive arts service delivery in a fluid arts sector.


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Fiorella Fabian