A letter from Nick Bailey - ANAM General Manager
As we arrive at the conclusion of an eventful online semester I am writing with some important ANAM news.
In the past couple of weeks, due to the need to undertake some building works in the South Melbourne Town Hall, we have found ourselves in a position of needing to find a new temporary home for the eventual return of ANAM’s face-to-face activities. So, after 24 years and ever nimble and responsive to a challenge, ANAM is on the move.
OUR NEW INTERIM HOME
Following significant consideration and after exploring several options, we are pleased to announce that we have signed a partnership agreement which will see us joining the creative community of the Abbotsford Convent – this will be our ‘interim home’ for the time being. We believe that this beautiful precinct – more of a ‘campus’ than a ‘venue’, and home to some beautiful public performance spaces – provides an ideal environment in which to nurture the wellbeing of our musicians and enable them to grow as artists. We will also be leasing a small commercial property five minutes’ walk from the Convent which we will convert into practice studios and teaching spaces.
ANAM plans to join the community of the Abbotsford Convent in September and at this stage we anticipate that we will be based there for up to the next three years. We are extremely grateful to the Convent team for welcoming us so warmly into their lovely home. You can read about the Abbotsford Convent at abbotsfordconvent.com.au.
WHY THE MOVE?
For the past four months we have been in productive discussions with the City of Port Phillip Council in regard to our proposed renovation project of the South Melbourne Town Hall – a project that will see the renewal and upgrade of the Town Hall’s public-facing facilities, provide a secure and state-of-the-art home for ANAM for the next 50 years, and ensure the community can access and celebrate this vibrant and significant building for many years to come.
As part of the due diligence in this process, both ANAM and Council have undertaken a thorough analysis of the Town Hall. These investigations have deepened our understanding of the facility and in the process have revealed some challenges in the building’s structure requiring immediate further investigation. This work will be followed immediately by remediation work, and then – hopefully – by the commencement of our proposed renovation and renewal project. All of this will be more effectively delivered with – and indeed, will most likely demand – ANAM to vacate the building. In order to ensure continuity of ANAM’s operation through this time, we have elected to relocate for the likely duration of these complex projects.
LONG TERM VISION
ANAM is committed to continue working with the Commonwealth Government, Port Phillip Council and some of Melbourne’s leading philanthropists so that, pending the successful conclusion of further community consultation, we are able to realise our vision for the Town Hall. We have been in discussion with the Victorian Government with regard to them joining the partnership that is investing in ANAM’s future, and we very much hope to reach an agreement that will enable us to one day return home to a re-born South Melbourne Town Hall.
The past ten weeks have seen ANAM rise to a significant challenge. I am very proud of the way in which we have been able to look after our 2020 cohort of musicians – including welcoming over 115 of the world’s leading artists and pedagogues to teach as part of our ‘online faculty’ – our staff and our core faculty. We are deeply grateful also for the warm support that you, as members of our warm and generous community, have shown at a time when the planet faces some extraordinary challenges.
The world into which we are emerging – in particular that of the art-form to which our musicians are committing all their energies – is going to be very different to that of just six months ago. It will be one full of challenges but also rich in opportunities, in particular opportunities for those musicians – and academies – that embrace change and challenge with creativity, energy and integrity. We view our interim relocation as being rich in potential, providing a beautiful and nurturing place in which – together with our musicians, our faculty, guests, supporters and audience members – we may recover from these recent disruptions and where we may explore what it means to be an artist in a post-COVID-19 world.
We will very much miss our Emerald Hill friends and the warm community on the Hill of which we are so proud to be a part. I look forward though to welcoming you to our new interim home at the Abbotsford Convent and sharing concerts with you in the not too distant future.