Southern Sky Call out


Call for Expressions of Interest for visual/digital/dance/performing artists

Southern Sky call-out for new digital works.

We are looking to work with artists to create video works that respond to and accompany the Griffyn Ensemble’s Southern Sky.  We have modest artist fees of up to $2,000 for each artist.  We are looking to work with artists from different mediums –  visual/digital/ dance/other, and diverse backgrounds.

Artists are invited to create collaborative digital works that explore what the stars mean from a diversity of perspectives, in collaboration with music from Southern Sky.  Artists will be paid to research the initial project, storyboard ideas and create a 1-5 minute video, animation, live drawing, performance (or other) that interprets the themes explored in Southern Sky and uses 1-5 minutes of the recording as the part to their work. The works will be shared with audiences via digital platforms such as social media, website, YouTube and other digital sharing platforms. The successful applicants will be credited as a co-creator and collaborator and we’d love for them to also share the finished work with their networks too.

We are accepting Expressions of Interest until 31 October 2021, to be sent through to 

What is Southern Sky?

Southern Sky is a captivating suite of 17 short pieces of music that reflect the constellations seen in the southern sky.  Each piece is dramatically different in style and feel.  The pieces were written by Estonian composer Urmas Sisask when he visited astronomical sites and First Nation communities in Australia over 20 years ago.  In 2012 it was arranged for the Griffyn Ensemble by artistic director Michael Sollis, premiered in the burnt-out ruins of Mt Stromlo Observatory, a place where Urmas visited.

The Griffyn Ensemble has worked with Astronomer Fred Watson and performed Southern Sky to over 40,000 people in Australia and Scotland.  Michael Sollis has also continued the development of the project, writing the parallel piece Northern Lights in the arctic, and collaborating with First Nation (Aranda) country music icon Warren Williams to create One Sky, Many Stories in Tennant Creek, recipient of an APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award.

You can read more about the incredible story of how Southern Sky came back to Australia in Michael’s 2012 article.

What will be created?

We will commission selected artists to create a digital work or video recording as a response to Southern Sky.  Each artist will focus on a recording by The Griffyn Ensemble of one of the 17 pieces – each piece responds to a different constellation (performed with flutes/recorder, percussion, clarinets, mandolin/guitars, harp, soprano).  Artists are encouraged to consider the way that Urmas has interpreted the constellations in the music.  We will provide more details to selected artists, including astronomical notes provided by Fred Watson.  You can hear excerpts from Southern Sky below (excerpts from Volans, Apus, Hydrus, Triangulum Australe, Indus, Chameleon, and Carina).  You can also see a video of how Southern Sky has been interpreted in other settings as part of One Sky Many Stories, with the featured constellation Dorado (The Goldfish).

Artists can create anything from a 1-minute animation using an excerpt of a piece, to the accompaniment of a whole piece, which ranges from 2-5 minutes.

We’re asking each artist to produce a high-quality video (1080p minimum, 4K desirable – professional videography is not required). Full recognition will be given to the selected artists, who retain copyright over the works, with rights given to Michael Sollis and The Griffyn Ensemble to publish it in digital and live environments. We are open to any suggestions of what the works could be – from video art, to animation, to recordings of choreography, to recordings of visual art works being created, or anything else you can think of!

What are we looking for?

  • Digital artists/dancers/animators/visual artists/anyone!
  • Artists who want to explore the night sky from both a scientific perspective, a personal perspective, and diverse cultural perspectives.
  • Artists from a diversity of different backgrounds – First Nation artists, different ages, diverse cultural backgrounds, and artists at various stages of their career.
  • Ideas that may challenge and ask people questions: what do the stars mean to you?
  • Ideas that offer interesting perspectives of the stars from a diversity of perspectives.

To apply

To apply, send the following to  We are accepting Expressions of Interest until  31 October 2021.

  • Your CV (1-2 pages)
  • Why this project appeals to you (200 words max)
  • A brief outline on what you may propose to create (500 words max).  We don’t need a detailed proposals, but you may like to include:
     – What is your vision for this project and how it fits with the aims of Southern Sky?
    – What is your artform
    – What is the estimated duration of the work you would create
    – How long it would take to produce?
  •  A basic budget/artist fee required. We recognise that every project is different.  We are able to pay up to $2,000 for each commissioned artist.

How is this being funded?

This project is self-funded by Michael Sollis, Artistic Director of The Griffyn Ensemble. We’re also seeking funding from additional sources to expand the scope of the project and the amount of artists involved. We believe Southern Sky is an incredible work that allows many people to consider what the stars mean to them, lending itself to collaboration with diverse artists. Many artists have been negatively affected by the pandemic and we hope this project can support artists in a collaborative environment. We’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch if you have questions at 

Reach Me

Here’s how to contact me.

Belconnen Arts Centre
118 Emu Bank
ACT 2617, Australia

+61 411 113 769

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