time to reflect

It’s ‘Community Arts Day’
and I’m sitting in my studio reflecting on the last 3 months,

As I dither about, flicking through other web sites I find that on this day
Neil Cameron has published a book “The Cultural Development Handbook. An A to Z guide to designing successful arts events in the community “

Neil was the man who introduced me to the world of fire, lanterns and large outdoor community events. I worked with him for 7 years at the Woodford Folk Festival and in a few other places.

That time was wild, adventurous massive, exhausting, exhilarating  and the foundation of so much of what I have done since.

In fact, I returned to Woodford this year to create the opening ceremony (with Jyllie Jackson and Kate McDonald). The ceremony  was built from tools and philosophies I have learnt from Neil (and others who i meet through Neil and worked with on other projects) I felt that the opportunity I was given this year was a result of the work and time that has been layered into the festival by Neil and all the fabulous artists that worked with him, and those that followed….. over the last 25 years often with limited resources. I thank Neil and everyone else who has been a part of that journey for their time, wisdom, blood, sweat and tears!!

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Also here is the video i have finally finished for last years INTO THE LIGHT event.

INTO THE LIGHT: Between and Sky

This was the 3rd INTO THE LIGHT, a community arts event working with the bush fire affected community in Whittlesea and surrounding areas.

A lantern parade was again the spine to the event. Workshops were run in 12 schools in the area plus a number of community workshops. We created a finale with Ian Hunter, the indigenous elder for the area, based on Bungil the eagle and how he became a star.

The core local  artist group that we worked with to create the event built a beautiful bird puppet, that became Bungilina, a cross between a Phoenix, rising from the ashes, and Bungil the creator spirit.

We stared with an afternoon of games and activities, including a showing of the Blacksmith tree (this is a very special project that grew out of the fires… blacksmiths from all around the world sent leaves to the fire affected communities after the 2009 fires… and now it is a tree

Black Saturday – The Tree Project Facebook Page

the treeproject

Our own lantern tree, revamped from the year before was dressed in leaves holding the hopes, dreams wishes of the community. We ran out of leaves. There was a strong desire/need to connect with this process. Some of the leaves were heartbreaking, and  showed us that there is still a need in the community for this work,that  the burn’s are still hurting, many below the surface, and many people still trying to rebond with themselves, their families, their partners and searching for peaceful place to exist.

This series of projects have been very powerful for me, seeing and feeling the great importance of community art. It does have a place, it is a gentle and inclusive, non threatening process that is more than a nice activity, but actually essential in unlocking trapped memories/pain and creating new pathways, and so  so so important.

One Comment

  1. This reminds me of, and leads right into that article you shared a while ago on the capacity of community art projects to address the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage in people and communities

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