Since its inception in 2007, the development of new critical writers has been a distinct, responsive and dynamic strand of SPILL Festival. Growing out of a writing scheme delivered by LADA (Live Art Development Agency) and then honed into the established programme it is today, successive cohorts of SPILL Writers have worked with various SPILL Writers-in-Residence to experiment and explore writing in response to live art and performance and writing as performance practice.

Photo by Alex Talamo

The invitation to be a writer for SPILL opened up something very exceptional for me. It created a space (psychological and physical) to develop both my embryonic writing skills as well as expanding my experience of Live Art. I sincerely believe that the writers played a crucial part at SPILL. They had a special relationship with the artists, responding, reflecting, and interacting as well as with each other and Diana Damian; our wise and encouraging mentor. [SPILL Writers alumni from 2014/15]

This year, after a very tough selection process, SPILL Writing welcomes six exceptional writers (Mark Aaron, Elisabeth Carlile, Jackie Montague, Phoebe Patey-Ferguson, Claire Ridge and Michelle Sewell ) to join SPILL Writer in Residence Diana Damian-Martin, to reflect critically, formally and creatively on the festival, taking inspiration from the theme of EN MASSE.


Whilst encountering and considering the politics of critical writing about performance in the context of the festival, the writers will explore relationships to collectivity, the body and radicality through their writing, in dialogue with the works, the festival and wider artistic, cultural and political contexts. The process also involves regular meetings and workshops, provocations and challenges to their own practice, and explorations of the process of writing itself. I am really looking forward to working, thinking and writing with everyone. [Diana Damian-Martin, SPILL Writer in Residence]


This year’s SPILL Writers are variously emerging writers, visual artists, performers and researchers. During the festival, the writing they create in response to work will be published on the SPILL website, offering a different and unique perspective not only on the performance programme but on critical and performance writing as a practice. Check-in regularly on the SPILL Writers page to read new work.

Alongside SPILL Writers, another text based project, SCRIBE, further pushes the idea of writing as a performance and critical practice.

Led by Australian artist and curator Leisa Shelton, (Fragment 31), Artist Scribes will be available throughout the Festival, in public and private spaces, to record, transpose and translate the experiences of SPILL audiences toward the Democratic Archive of the Live Experience.


For millennia, across diverse cultures, scribes have held sacred cultural and social roles – offering written transactions and brokering exchanges. [Leisa Shelton – SCRIBE]


Fragment 31 is an Australian performance collective, focused on interdisciplinary practice and research. It is led by Leisa Shelton with associate artists assembling in varying combinations depending on the requirements of the diverse projects under investigation. Current projects include associate curator with the Venice International Performance Art Week and the Performed Archive of Australian Media Artists with Experimenta Triennial.

Encounter and contribute to SCRIBES, read SPILL Writing, and build a new vocabulary through which to encounter or narrate your own experience of SPILL.