Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

Open Call for Performance Artists.

Job details

Performance Art Week Aotearoa
18 May 2021
Work type
Call for entries, Expressions of interest
Work classification
Performing Arts, Visual Arts


We are now accepting applications for the third edition of Performance Art Week Aotearoa.

PAWA is a five day performance art festival dedicated to showcasing work, developing knowledge and building artistic networks. Happening this November 10th-14th. 

We are excited to be back after a hiatus, due to Covid-19! This year's festival will be grounded by the theme: PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE. This will provide the structure and intent for the festival in 2021. 

We will be selecting works for public performances, intimate performances, opening and closing performances. Additionally, let us know if you are interested in hosting a workshop or discussion, as education and skill sharing is an essential part of our festival programme. PAWA will be using multiple gallery spaces, site-specific locations and the Wellington cityscape for the festival.



Since the world has changed, our sense of self and the way we interact with the world around us and each other has changed too. In many communities, experiences and relationships have been forced to become incredibly private or incredibly public, reshaping our lives in unexpected ways. PAWA aims to explore the juxtaposition between the public and private spheres, and to present a series of works that lean into these realms and situate themselves in this new climate. 

Our private spaces have shifted from spaces of refuge to spaces where technology, obligation, work, alienation, rule-breaking, and secrecy co-exist. As the nature of what we consider private changes, questions of how we re-position ourselves within it surface. What can we only share in intimacy? How do we act when we think we are not being watched? What can be gained? and what becomes fraught? 

Similarly, our public spaces have been subject to new forms of suspicion and surveillance, altering everyday interactions between friends and strangers, and at times, imbuing them with feelings of taboo. As the world re-emerges, new considerations emerge. Who is public space for? How do we as artists and/or audiences change when we are being observed? Amongst all of the new social rules and ambiguities, what is the artist’s role in creating new work? 


The festival

Public: We are looking for works that are designed to be presented and/or interacted with in a public setting. The work should engage with space in Wellington city as either site-specific work, or works that engage with the public, or a combination of both. We hope these works will activate spaces, challenge unknowing and knowing audiences to engage more deeply with performance art practices, and bring curiosity and joy into the streets. 

Private: We are looking for works that are small-scale, intimate, and personal.These will be a series of ticketed works, that are specifically made for small numbers of people (from one-on-one to up to ten people) the goal of these presentations is to offer audiences unique and ‘close-up’ experiences.These works could be over multiple days or take place over the course of one day/evening. These could take place in our gallery space or at a site-specific location.

Opening: Our opening night will celebrate our exhibition alongside our performance programme, we are looking for works that suit engagement with an audience of approx 50-70 that could be durational/roaming or last a maximum of 30minutes. 

Closing: We are looking for an artist/s to lead us in closing the festival. This could look a variety of ways, but we are interested in involving our audiences in an interactive performance or ‘happening’ to celebrate the end of the week. 


What can we offer? 

- PAWA will provide artists with a $100 transport subsidy if you are coming from outside Wellington. 

- PAWA will provide a $200-$400 artist fee for each participating artist.

- PAWA will provide accomodation for any artists coming from outside of Wellington. 

- As a participating artist you will have free access* to all events taking place in the festival and an opportunity to network and learn from other performance artists. *There may be limited access to some of the intimate performances, but we will do our best to accomodate you. 

- PAWA will provide you with high quality photographic documentation of your work. 

- If you are interested in holding a workshop or a discussion, there will also be a fee provided. 

- PAWA will provide Curatorial and production support in the development and presentation of your work. 

How to apply

Part 1) Send us a proposal for your work that includes: the concept, the pragmatics of what you will actually do, any technical or spatial needs you may have, and the location you imagine your work is suited to. Additionally, if you have any photography or video that is relevant to the proposed work, please include it. Lastly, you are welcome to apply with multiple projects that might fit the different categories for the festival.

Part 2) We want to know a bit about you and your practice so please include a CV or an introduction to your work. Feel free to present this information as formally or informally as you like and include any external links you have to your own work, e.g websites/social media.



  • Applications will only be accepted from artists based in New Zealand, Australia and The Pacific, due to ongoing uncertainty around international travel. 

  • We prioritise artists who can attend the whole festival, so please include in your application if that will be possible for you. 

  • If you are wanting to apply as a collective (more than 2 people), get in touch with us before putting in an application. 

  • If you were an artist for PAWA 2018 you cannot apply for this year's edition but you will be welcome back for PAWA 2023.


Please send us this information in ONE PDF document or a video file using your full name as the title. If you have specific access requirements and cannot submit a PDF or video proposal, please contact us. We are committed to accommodating all artists and are willing to accept proposals in different formats. 


We are happy to discuss any queries you may have.

Email us your applications or quieres at or call Sara Cowdell on +61406359602

Due 5pm, 18th May 2021.

Written by

Performance Art Week Aotearoa

3 May 2021

PAWA is radical new platform for performance art in New Zealand running events and a biannual festival. PAWA brings together a wide variety of performance artists from around New Zealand and the world with the intent to stimulate critical discourse, broaden audiences, and streng