Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

Upcoming Calendar

Infrastructure for creative practice supporting experimentation and interdisciplinary practice across art, performance design and education. Programmed through simple application processes, Testing Grounds is a place where people at all stages of practice can test, develop and share their work.

Find out more

By This Lake

We are helping the Rising festival decommission "By This Lake" by Lucy Bleach". Glowing, frozen blocks of lake and civic water slowly melt, leeching out into the city.


Embedded within the blocks, beneath layers of frozen inland lacustrine and tap water, hydrophones capture the sounds of the slowly cracking ice, and large chunks of granite (the very same stone used to build Parliament House) lie latent. As the water slowly leeches out into the street below, chisel scars dating back to the rocks’ removal from a Mount Alexander quarry become visible.

Project History

In 1925 the YMCA opened its headquarters on this site, on the banks of the Yarra River. In 1983, structural damage caused by the construction of the Roy Grounds designed Arts Centre and Concert Hall meant that the building needed to be demolished. The land was acquired by the State of Victoria as Crown Land and is reserved for arts purposes.

Since October 2013, Testing Grounds has provided Melbourne with an alternative arts space within the arts precinct. It has seen hundreds of artists show their work and has provided a space for experimental and emerging ideas to find a voice.
Testing Grounds has provided a backdrop for education and ideas-generation across a range of subjects — ideas around architecture, urban planning and community development have all been tried and tested on this strange triangle of land. It has allowed artists, students, producers and directors, painters and poets a space to take a chance, to extend their ideas and craft and make significant connections with new audiences. It has also provided the local Southbank community an open space to explore and enjoy, to walk a dog or let children play, or to just sit in a patch of sunlight for a minute and witness the beginning of a new art form.

In November 2016, Testing Grounds re-opened with upgraded infrastructure including 4 dedicated indoor spaces, and a large multipurpose outdoor area.

While the site’s long term future is still currently undetermined, Testing Grounds continues to occupy the site for the short term, providing an alternative place for creative activities, alongside more traditional venues in the precinct.

Project Team

Testing Grounds is operated by These Are The Projects We Do Together, a studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture; with support from the Victorian Government, through Creative Victoria.

Arie Rain Glorie

Program Director and Curator

Arie has been involved directly in shaping the programs at Testing Grounds and is responsible for strategic planning, curating and producing projects and working with artists and organisations on creative and professional development programs. Arie is an artist and a curator with a focus on experimental and emerging models of creative practice. He has a background in producing large-scale contemporary art events, festivals and exhibitions.


Oliver Moir

Site Manager

Oliver Moir’s role as Site Manager means he is responsible for organisational, maintenance, project and event duties that keep the Testing Grounds site accessible and operational. Oliver is a multidisciplinary artist and producer that focuses on film, performance, installation and sound. He has produced events and festivals for a number of years, co-founding music collectives, a film festival and a record label across Victoria and Tasmania. Oliver has participated in residency programs and had his art exhibited both nationally and internationally.


Millie Cattlin

Design Director

Millie has been directly involved with setting up Testing Grounds and shaping the intention and direction of the project. Millie and Joe run The Projects, a design studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture. Millie has a background in architecture and design and is a registered architect in Victoria.


Joseph Norster 

General Manager

Joe has been directly involved with setting up Testing Grounds and shaping the intention and direction of the project. Joe and Millie run The Projects, a design studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture. Joe has a background in theatre, lighting and production design and public art.


Location and Access

Testing Grounds is located at 1 City Road, Southbank, just behind the Arts Centre, in Melbourne's arts precinct.

Testing Grounds is nestled between the Arts Centre and Australian Ballet Centre. On foot, the site is most easily accessed via the stairs behind the Arts Centre from St Kilda Road (past Inge King’s ‘Forward Surge’ sculpture). There are many spots to lock a bicycle on site and car parking located very close at the Arts Centre or Australian Ballet Centre.

Testing Grounds from Flinders Street Station via ramp (video link)Testing Grounds from Flinders Street Station via stairs (video link)

Contact and Open Hours

1 City Road, Southbank, VIC 3006 Australia

Testing Grounds is open for creative projects and special events – check the upcoming calendar for details.

You can come and visit the site Wednesdays-Fridays, 10am-5pm.



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