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June 30, 2016

The Mill goes global

The founders of The Mill are taking their brand and mission overseas with a series of international collaborations.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Picture 4: Chris Herzfield

Amber Cronin and Erin Fowler started The Mill as a way of supporting and growing Adelaide’s independent creative subculture.


Pictures 2-4 were taken during ilDance’s residency at The Mill.

Keep an eye on The Mill’s website and Facebook page for more details of performances, installations and exhibitions resulting from the organisations’s international collaborations.

Since opening in 2013 on Angas Street, The Mill has steadily grown into the vision of its founders, achieving their ends through its functions as a gallery and studio home to many artists and businesses. But even as the project was in its initial phases, Amber and Erin were looking for ways to evolve what The Mill could do.

A series of international partnerships – covering countries as diverse as Sweden, Indonesia and Germany – are a large part of the future they’ve envisioned.

The potential of cross-border collaboration first became clear to Amber and Erin when they were mentored by Sydney’s Jeff Khan. That engagement resulted in the development of the The Mill’s Choreographic Futures program – a dance residency, the inaugural version of which brought respected Sydney artist Kate Champion to Adelaide to mentor local dancers and develop new work.

The results of Kate’s time in Adelaide were profound.

“The outcome of the one month residency was a piece called Small Worlds created by local choreographer Alicia Harvey, she worked with a cast of local dancers and creatives,” says Amber.

Small Worlds has gone through other stages of development, and recently been programmed as part of the Brisbane Festival. Planting the seed of something with potential to take on its own life has been a passion for Amber and Erin ever since.

“…we became hooked on bringing national and international artists into the artistic dialogue in Adelaide,” says Amber.

This year, that passion has resulted in three distinct global partnerships for The Mill.

The first is with Sweden’s ilDance, who initially worked with Amber and Erin as part of the second Choreographic Futures residency in 2015. That original interaction has grown into a multi-faceted collaboration that includes Adelaide artists working with the company in Sweden.

“The work that we continue to collaborate on with ilDance includes facilitating two dancers who joined their summer program over this European Summer: Greta Whyatt and Tyson Olsen, as well as many future possibilities as they travel more and more often to Adelaide,” says Amber. “I’ll be visiting them in Sweden while in residence and continuing the dialogue between our two companies.”

Closer to home, The Mill are developing a strong relationship with Indonesian multi-disciplinary space Rumah Sanur.

“This year a new connection with Indonesian creative space Rumah Sanur organically transpired, as one of the directors visited us and I went and visited the amazing space that they have built there earlier in the year,” says Amber.

“Erin and I will be developing a new work with [Rumah Sanur] resident artist Adhika Annissa: Ninus. The work itself will be dance, installation and musical performance.”

The Indonesian work has crossover with the third of The Mill’s international partnerships – this one with German label Average Negative.

Artist and Average Negative director Kyson (Jian Lieu) will contribute to the dance, installation and music performance being developed with Adhika Annissa, before developing further work with The Mill.

“We are working on launching projects with Average Negative in December, in terms of an event or performance… in Adelaide,” says Amber.

The fruits of these particular collaborations are mostly slated to be seen in Adelaide late this year and early next – with Amber and Erin currently working on bringing the Adhika performance to SA in that period and also planning a new residency for ilDance.

But in the longer term, the effect of these partnerships will be deep and broad – ultimately serving to bolster The Mill in achieving its original purpose.

“The space has always been focused on cultivation and development and it still is,” says Amber. “However, the [broader activity] focuses on taking these relationships nationally and internationally as well as bringing ideas and relationships back to impact directly through our programs and projects.”

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