Arts & culture,
Creative arts & culture
Artist Profile: Daniele Constance
Kate Veling | April 23, 2021
Creativity means many different things to local artist, Daniele Constance, whose practice is so diverse it’s difficult to define. One thing is certain though – wherever she goes she’s deeply invested in engaging with and elevating her arts community.
Having grown up on the Gold Coast, Daniele Constance did what many young, local creatives do once they come of age. She went travelling overseas. A permanent return to her hometown was not on the agenda but due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, that’s exactly what happened. And she’s not mad about it.
“When I was 17, I would never have expected to come back to the GC thinking I could make a career here,” she reflects. “But at the moment it’s feeling really good and there are some amazing things going on. It’s putting the Gold Coast on the map as a place to be making great work.”
Daniele is a participatory artist, art therapist and creative producer with a background in performance, sound and therapeutic arts. She works across the arts, health and community sectors, adapting her projects and art forms to the community she’s working with.
With a strong focus on socially engaged art making practices, she creates works that draw from direct experience and storytelling, using verbatim, documentary, contemporary and embodied performance practices.
Examples of her work include a dance ensemble of artists who experience disadvantage and disability and the nationwide social enterprise, Suitcase Rummage, a recycled fashion market that encourages sustainable, ethical fashion through designing, making, recycling, up-cycling, swapping and bartering.
In 2016, Daniele did a stint in Europe and with funding from arts grants she attended two international conferences that had a major impact on the direction her practice would take; a social arts practice conference in New York called Open Engagement, and Unlimited Festival in London which is focused around disability and inclusive arts practices.
Culture and the arts were always high on Daniele’s priority list any time she visited a new city. “I would always go to museums, art galleries and shows and soak everything up like a sponge,” she says. On her travels she fell in love with Portuguese man and eventually the two of them decided to settle in Australia.
Initially they were planning to move to Melbourne or Tasmania, but while they were waiting for her partner’s visa, they spent the summer on the Gold Coast and Daniele realised her hometown’s cultural scene undergone a significant shift.
“I hadn’t spent time on the coast for a couple of years,” she says. “I’d heard bits and pieces about how strong the arts community was and that the culture had changed.”
She was excited to learn the City is invested in supporting artists and cultural practitioners to create excellent contemporary art that is distinctly Gold Coast. Determined to get on board, she has now participated in several programs offered by the City and each one has helped to accelerate her career.
Daniele started by applying to the Producer Placement Program in 2019. With her particular interest in staging work outside traditional theatres, Daniele welcomed the chance to work with Bleach* – a festival renowned for making the most of our beautiful climate and unique environment by producing work outdoors.
Next she secured a placement with the Queensland Music Festival (QMF) through the Professional Attachment Program, shadowing her mentor, writer and director David Burton. Together, they worked on the creative development and delivery of a large-scale community project in Mount Isa, complete with mass choirs, orchestras, bobcat dancers and BMX riders.
‘It was an amazing opportunity to see how someone is able to piece together all of these different stories and experiences of place, and somehow put them alongside each other and make it work,’ says Daniele.
As well as gaining valuable experience through her placements, Daniele was able to network and make connections with other creatives and industry professionals, which helped her establish a good foundation as a practicing artist on the Gold Coast.
Currently, Daniele is taking part in GENERATE GC, a City program designed to develop new site-specific work by local artists, who are encouraged to push boundaries and take creative risks.
For this project, Daniele is creating new work at Schuster Park in Tallebudgera with a focus on ecology and engaging with local community. It’s currently a work in progress and will be ready to present around mid-April.
She’s also busy with a residency at La Boite theatre company in Brisbane, making a new dance theatre work called Yoke with the AHA ensemble – an accessible, inclusive collective of performers that she initiated in 2015 in partnership with Access Arts.
Daniele’s tenacity and talent combined with creative curiosity and a desire to engage with her community in a meaningful way, has seen her thrive. She is fast forging a successful career in the arts right here, back at home.
‘I am genuinely excited about the contemporary art coming out of the Gold Coast,’ she says. “We’ve got some great people working in the Arts & Culture team at City of Gold Coast. We’ve got Bleach Festival, HOTA and so many talented creators. That combination of events and institutions and support really helps make it viable as an artist to stay here.”
The City’s investment in arts and culture is reaping rewards. We’re becoming a place where artists, performers and arts industry workers are excited to call home and a destination cultural tourists are keen to explore. The Gold Coast is gaining a reputation for being a creative city.
To support the development of creative practitioners and arts workers on the Gold Coast, the City offers motivated individuals the opportunity to undertake a broad range of professional development activity accelerating their career opportunities. Visit our website to find out more.