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No sign of Contempora yet

25 Feb 2010

By Alison Kinkade

There is no concrete sign of a return by Docklands’ acclaimed sculptural festival and award, Contempora.

After receiving recognition in 2007 as an important event on the calendar for “Events in Melbourne”, Contempora has not been held since 2008.

Contempora issued a media statement in September 2008 that said the 2009 event would be deferred but promised to return better than ever in 2010.

“ … electing to defer the 2009 event in order to develop a master plan based on the world’s best practices to deliver a vibrant, viable, biennial, festival event. When Contempora is re-launched in 2010 it will be a major arts festival featuring the largest sculpture prize in the southern hemisphere – The Melbourne Contempora Sculpture Award,” the 2008 media statement said.

On February 5 this year, Contempora released another media statement that said the event was on hold, but would return to Docklands in the future.

“The Contempora Sculpture Festival and Award will be in recess until such time that an appropriate sponsor has been found,” the statement said.

The executive director of Contempora, Margaret Harris, said the next Contempora was planned to coincide with the launch of a redeveloped Harbour Esplanade. The first stage is expected to be completed by May 2011 (see our story on Page 6).

“Funding arrangements and the organisational structure are currently being finalised, however previous supporters are expected to continue to have a major role,” Ms Harris said.

Ms Harris said VicUrban and the City of Melbourne continued to support Contempora and The Port of Melbourne Corporation had reconfirmed its support along with another major sponsors.

“There is another major sponsor who will be announced closer to the event,” she said.

Ms Harris also said that the new Contempora would have more of an international focus.

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