Kelly Beneforti - Structured Mentorship


Darwin, Katherine and Lajamanu

Throughout 2015

In 2015, Kelly Beneforti received a Structured Mentorship grant from the Australia Council for the Arts that identified her as an emerging arts practitioner with a strong interest in and commitment to community practice. The mentorship placed Kelly under the guidance of Tim and David to support her towards a greater understanding of the Tracks values and philosophies, and provide practical experience through project opportunities. Marita Smith, an experienced arts educator with a long-term relationship to Darwin, was chosen as a secondary mentor. 

The Opportunity

Returning home to Darwin after tertiary study in Melbourne, Kelly identified a meaningful connection to the people and places of the Northern Territory that felt intrinsic to Tracks’ work, as well as a gap in her dance training that hadn’t encouraged learning or development around community and cultural arts practice. The mentorship was an opportunity for Kelly to: 

  • Be supported to initiate and develop relationships with specific cultural and social groups in the NT
  • Gain experience in producing community based dance work
  • Develop skills in facilitating participation in arts based activities, creative experiences for a range of community members and emerging artists, and performance outcomes
  • Be involved in discourse around community and cultural practice
  • Expand awareness of how arts practice fits into the social and cultural values of different groups within the community
  • Better understand the ways in which identity shapes and is shaped by arts practice
  • Develop capacity to use artistic training and tools in flexible and resourceful ways

As well as being supported by her mentors, Kelly was directly involved in numerous projects and programs at Tracks throughout the mentorship that allowed her to learn directly from participants and artists about how creative practice can become a catalyst for personal and collective growth. 

Involvement in Projects and Programs

PopUp Mob - a versatile, energetic dance group that supported young people to create and design their own performances for community settings

The Grey Panthers - long-term dance and performance group for Older Adults that works with the stories, experiences and specific physical abilities of its participants 

Hidden Meaning - a performance project in which Tracks hosted 4 cultural dance groups, helping to create an environment where cultural dances and accompanying elements of costume and sound were presented in context through a weekend of performance and discussion panels for the wider community, rather than in cultural isolation.

K-town Dance Massive - a dance and video art project that brought together Tracks and Katherine-based artists to work collaboratively with the local community to generate creative outcomes that reflected the people of Katherine and their lived experience of the town.

Lajamanu workshops - dance participation program for youth in the remote community of Lajamanu that combines Warlpiri and Western values to develop a sense of belonging and identity.

Career Development

This mentorship came at a point in Kelly’s arts practice and career development where she felt a strong desire to contribute to the creative landscape in Australia through community practice, recognising the significance of such practice to the richness, diversity and vitality of the arts sector and the communities themselves. It enabled her to make an investment in the artistic and wider community of Darwin and the NT and to immerse herself in the generosity, complexity and beauty of this place and the people who live here. These experiences informed much of how she continues to work and exist in this context, and definitively shaped her professional pathway in the arts.


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