Designed as a space to create, engage in open conversation and critical thinking, where kids can run around chasing butterflies among rescued trees and plants, Testing Grounds is a new open-air art space concept on the outskirts of Southbank.

Recognising a need to redevelop a vacant, underutilised civic space, Millie Cattlin and Joseph Norster of design practice The Projects, in collaboration with Arts Victoria, developed the urban block that is now home to three shipping containers available as an artist-in-residence studio and workshop, a performance stage, and a bar.

Cattlin and Norster envision the space to become a common ground for cross-generations to connect. Expect to see musicians performing and rehearsing regularly, pop-up exhibitions and galleries, sculpture workshops, bee keeping, graphic novel enthusiast meetings, or perhaps even knitting circles. Whatever the creative concept may be, the Grounds aims to bring groups out of community halls and bring people together to teach, test, discover, contribute and have a voice. Plus, the bar will be stocked with locally crafted beer, wine, cider, and filtered coffee.

The first artist in residence is set to take over part of the grounds in November with Theory of Rainbows, an installation by Saskia Schut and Scott Mitchell. Together the artists develop encounters with light and air, using multiple mirrors to take slivers of the sun and form circles that orbit across the ground, painting the grounds with light.

Make sure to scratch up on your frisbee technique, as the Grounds’ playful kelpie, Sunday, loves playing catch. The Grounds are open every day to the public with a projected short film screened at dusk every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Testing Grounds
1-23 City Road, Southbank

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