Meet Kevin Bathman – AAFFN 2015 Event Panelist

An interview with Kevin Bathman, AAFFN 2015 Event panelist by Indigo Willing.

Kevin Bathman. Photo by Dusk Devi.

Kevin Bathman. Photo by Dusk Devi.

WHO:

Kevin Bathman is a visual designer, storyteller, curator, writer and social change advocate based in Sydney. He is interested in using creativity to address environmental, cultural and social justice issues, and believes that the arts is an untapped avenue for catalysing change. As the founder of social enterprise, Coalition of Mischief, Kevin has worked on numerous social justice projects with not-for-profit and arts organisations to help them communicate their message better. In 2013, he co-founded Carnival of the Bold, a movement of arts for social change. Since 2012, Kevin has been researching the history, connections and cross-cultural stories between the Chinese and Indian culture for his project, The Chindian Diaries.

IW:

Why did you get into promoting more diversity in your projects?
KB:
We are fed an abundance of Hollywood films in Australia – but to me, what that industry clear lacks are a diversity of actors, stories and writers. To be honest, I was tired of seeing the Australian arts and creative sector be dominated overwhelmingly by white, male-driven heteronormative narratives. Why was this sector not reflecting what Australia really looks like? When it came time to curate Carnival of the Bold, I made it a point to include diverse voices – voices that we rarely hear or see, voices that more often gets rejected or sidelined due to its “non-mainstream” narrative.
IW:
Describe one of your favourite moments as a festival programmer?
KB:
During Carnival of the Bold, I had received good feedback from audience members that they were excited to hear from culturally diverse artists and social change. A volunteer said this to me, “I gained  a family or ‘tribe’ and a community. To see so many people from different backgrounds coming together and rallying for the same cause gave me joy, hope and a sense of belonging.” That made me feel the work that we did all felt worthwhile.
IW:
What do Australians gain when they see diversity on the screen? What’s the feedback like?
KB:
A new perspective, a new way of living, a new way of thinking. People generally don’t know what they don’t know. In the arts sector, it takes a brave festival and film curator to expose new narratives to audiences. In many respects, they are bound by the marketability of the film/artist and the need to pander to what their audiences are already familiar with. It then takes tremendous effort to convince funders, board members and committee to go down a new path. Once they succeed, you run the risk of audiences not turning up or keeping away due to its “foreign” content.
My hats off to curators out there who really push the boundaries – its never an easy ride.
IW:
What are you working on now? And what are you working on or would love to be doing next?
KB:
I am working on developing partnerships and collaboration for Carnival of the Bold, as well as developing my Chindian project further with organisations/media in India and China. On the work front, I am looking at incorporating a stronger arts element in health initiatives.   Next up I would love to keep studying socially engaged art further, as well as be an advocate for arts and diversity in any projects I am involved in. I would love to keep working with culturally diverse communities and build their capacity to better represent themselves.
For more info about the AAFFN 2015 Event held in Melbourne this year visit:

Dates:

27-28 November 2015

Venue:

Kaleide Theatre, RMIT University, Melbourne

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Posted on 08/11/2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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