A guide to the RealTime Archive

Keith Gallasch, Virginia Baxter

The RealTime Archive is a unique record of critical responses to the works of innovative and experimental artists, companies and festivals in Australia and beyond from 1994-2017

RealTime formally ceased publication at the end of 2017, but has followed on with occasional editions 2018-present, focused for the most part on preserving and promoting the archive.

The RealTime archive has been preserved in a number of formats and locations, determined in part by changes in digital technology and means of preservation across the decades.



The digitised print magazine (1994-2000), online versions of print editions (2001-15) and exclusively online editions (2016-present) can all be found here on the RealTime website.

Digitised editions of all print editions are preserved on the National Library of Australia’s TROVE website [see below].



RealTime was published as a free paper bi-monthly in print 1994-2015 in 130 editions at print runs of 48-56 pages that peaked at 27,000 copies per edition distributed to 1,000 locations nationally.


RealTime editions 1-130 on TROVE

In recognition of the cultural value of the magazine, the 130 RealTime print editions have been digitised for the Australian National Library’s TROVE website. You’ll find them here. Click on BROWSE THIS COLLECTION. Although not searchable, the viewing options are excellent, enabling some ease of searching. This record of the magazine conveys its design sense and the advertising culture of the period. To search RealTime, see below.


RealTime website, RealTime editions 1-40

Digitised print editions 1-40 (1994-2000) are also available on the RealTime website, with limited viewing choices and no search facility choices but with brighter resolution. You’ll find them here.



All print editions 41-130 (2001-2015) were simultaneously published online from 1996 on, in a different format and often with different advertising. Go to Archives. These editions are searchable.

NOTE: When we built a new website in 2017, the transfer of content resulted in loss of detail in some photographs. You can visit the original website, which is also searchable, to see the original reproductions 2001-15.



In 2016-2017 RealTime was published exclusively online, issued weekly at 40 editions per year. Each edition appears in the subscriber mailout format. Occasional editions have been published 2018-present. Go to Archives.



In 2018, we upgraded the search mechanism of the RealTime website, adding filtering for Titles, Author and Content. Given the vast volume of content, the initial absence of tagging and then different systems of tagging over the years, searching won’t always find what you want. Given RealTime’s reach, you can sometimes turn to Google, which will find the artist or the work and then take you to RealTime.



RealTime’s extensive Features section [top right homepage] includes experimental music and video works, including 40 interviews with artists as well as arts travel guides, comprehensive dance and media arts archives, and commissioned arts festival RealTime editions and other publications.

More features can be found on the original RealTime website here. They include reviews from RealTime’s commissioned national and international review-writing workshops in Bristol, Jakarta, Vancouver, Cairns, Darwin and elsewhere, and from writing teams reviewing other festivals, including three iterations of Melbourne’s Dance Massive.



In Response: Dialogues with RealTime

This exhibition, which included four performative events, was held in UNSW Library’s Exhibition Space from 25 February-25 April 2019 to mark the closure of RealTime, celebrating the national magazine’s “crucial role in documenting and providing critical commentary on work in dance, performance, sound, music, film, digital media and visual art that carved out new terrain in those fields” (Introduction, Erin Brannigan, co-curator).

The excellent online record of the exhibition includes filmed performances, audio interviews, a catalogue and other documentation which you can find here. Further material is to be found in the accompanying Audio-visual Collection.


LADA Study Room Guide: Timely Readings, A Study on Live Art in Australia

Commissioned by London’s LADA (Live Art Development Agency) and with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts, Timely Readings is a Study Room Guide created by Australian artists Madeleine Hodge and Sarah Rodigari.

The guide can be downloaded at no cost from the LADA website. It includes an interview with the RealTime Editors in which they detail the Live Art exchange between Australian and UK artists, organisations and festivals.

The accompanying limited edition poster (45x30cm), designed by Ella Sutherland, evokes on one side a vast range of Australian live art and contemporary performance activity and, on the other, provides references to the RealTime coverage of it, specifying reviews, edition numbers and the pages on which they appeared. There are 666 reviews listed in chronological order.

There isn’t a digitised version of the poster with links to its content, so the easiest access to the reviews is via RealTime on TROVE for the digitised print editions 1-130, and thereafter the RealTime website Archives for the online editions 2016-18.

[Please note, Timely Readings lists 146 RealTime editions, for the consistency of its record. There were 130 print editions 1994-2015. The 90 online editions 2016-18 are identified on the RealTime Archive by dates of publication, not by editions, since these were not numbered.]

Top image: Exhibition, In Response: Dialogues with RealTime, UNSW Library, photo Jackson Mann

27 August 2020