Beyond Empathy (BE) collaborates with communities across Australia to shift perceptions and generate positive social change through the process of creating and sharing art.
Over the past 15 years BE has developed a unique way of working, influenced by the First Nations communities we have partnered with.
We are a team of artists, mentors, community workers, local practitioners and leaders who form creative relationships with communities and individuals in need. Our projects take place over a long period of time and are driven by the needs and aspirations of those who participate. Everyone is welcome to contribute and each person involved is treated as an equal.
During our programs participants gain new skills and build confidence. As they make artwork together, they create a common language which enables deeper connections with their community and peers.
Through shared and collective processes we create outstanding, cutting-edge contemporary film, theatre, music, dance, and visual art that appeals to audiences and creates a genuine and lasting connection between people and places.
These artworks spark an emotional response which leads to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beauty, talent, and unique perspectives of these communities. This creates empathy, calling people into action, and transforming our society for the better.
Through the deep connections, trust and agency that come from our long-term artistic exchanges with communities, BE and our programs build a bridge of trust for other services and people. In communities of need, traditional service models providing healthcare, education, and employment, can often find it difficult to connect. BE’s programs create a safe space in which community members feel comfortable to access essential services and communicate their needs. As a result we see our partner communities build strength, resilience and wellbeing.
Everything that we are able to achieve, artistically and socially, is thanks to and for the direct benefit of the communities that we work with.
Beyond Empathy (BE) is an arts organisation with the philosophical belief that through the process of creating and sharing art, individuals and communities can be beneficially transformed. Kindness, generosity, and our strong connection to First Nations communities are fundamental to our practice. Our methodology is accessible, adaptable, and acknowledges the diversity and distinctiveness of each community we work within.
Our approaches to both the processes and outcomes of art making are about striving for excellence. We understand, from our work in First Nations communities, that art is fundamental to everyday life. Song, dance, visual art, and storytelling are vital tools for the transmission of cultural knowledge, values and skills. The arts bring people together for activities that nourish and reward everyone through the process of creation and collective invention.
We work alongside communities to bring colour, music, movement, self-discovery, and beauty to everyday life. We harness the skills and experience of our artists and participants, encourage them to take creative risks, enabling them to make vibrant and nationally significant work.
We believe in allowing the creative process to unfold and not insisting on predetermined outcomes. We encourage genuine artistic autonomy, allowing creative expression to truly flourish, resulting in works that are bold, fearless and unique.
By undertaking a shared, creative process and journey together, artists and communities activate a new space; this is referred to as the third space.
In the third space two-way learning occurs, in which each party shares knowledge and learns from the other. No one presumes superiority. Teacher and student, mentor and mentee, artist and emerging artist oscillate between these roles, creating a rich and fluid environment for creating and learning. Our job is to activate this space time and time again.
Artists and participants are joined in this space through the creative process. The art creates a new and shared language, where people understand their own worth and the worth of others.
BE employs third space principles of adaptability, cultural proficiency, empathy, curiosity, and a broad perspective in everything that we do.
Our artworks, and the processes used to create them, demonstrate that artist-led activity is an effective vehicle for building life skills. We see the transformation that occurs as seemingly ordinary people make extraordinary contributions.
We measure the success of our work through the tangible and positive impacts it has on the individuals and broader communities involved. We continually evaluate the difference we make in order to ensure that our work is innovative, relevant, process-driven, and at the cutting-edge of what matters most to communities and individuals.
A deep transformation occurs when audiences connect with the art that we make and the people who have made it. Our film, dance, music, theatre, and visual art elicit an emotional response, fostering an understanding of what makes us all alike. This is the first step in truly appreciating the experience of others. This response often drives people to action, moving beyond empathy, to contribute their time, attention, money, encouragement, or participation. This action has the power to transform our realities.