Nexus brought world-class street artists to the social housing precincts in Moree to create high-quality, site-specific artworks to revitalise public spaces. The local residents were included in the design process, and issues relevant to the community were addressed in the six major artworks that resulted. Local and emerging street artists were mentored by visiting artists and the acclaimed street art production company Oi You to create works that encourage a sense of pride and ownership. These vibrant artworks were installed on walls, cyclone fencing, concrete blocks and pathways and have built new audiences for visual arts outside of traditional arts spaces. The introduction of these works in this area of town has shifted perceptions within local families and the broader community and has re-established relationships between the First Nation community and service providers in Moree.
Horse’s Mouth is part protest, part disruption and part ceremony. It uses interdisciplinary and cultural practices to create and share stories through movement. In partnership with Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA), established artists and emerging First Nation artists have collaborated to devise innovative performance work that disrupts the ongoing legacy and chaos caused by colonisation. The purpose of Horse’s Mouth is to reshape and remodel approaches to the making of theatre, dance and performance in a safe space for new artists. Works are devised through a series of intensive creative sessions, led by Kirk Page, Victoria Hunt and Jade Dewi, in which participants develop rigorous physical and conceptual practices. Horse’s Mouth has emerged from The Maven Project, and thus gives primacy to First Nation ways of understanding and expressing identity through creative and cultural practices. Using Maven’s Third Space approach participants have gained skills in devising and movement and confidence in their own practice through two-way learning and artistic autonomy.
The CCC Moree project provides an innovative approach to engage children, young people, teachers, and the community in developing a positive learning environment through its responsiveness to local needs. It translates the objectives of the Connected Communities strategy through arts and culture and changing the way Aboriginal children learn by changing the way learning is delivered.
The CCC Moree program, with the support of local Aboriginal Community Partnerships and the Moree East Public School community, offer a continuum of learning and support through connecting with parents and caregivers in antenatal, supporting transition into early childhood learning and the foundation years through to stage 3 outcomes of primary education. Through the use of arts, a safety net is created ensuring all families are captured.
Challenging social perceptions about what it means for a young woman to be brave, beautiful and strong. Internationally renowned Beyond Empathy artist, Raphaela Rosella worked with girls and young women in Armidale schools and community – sharing a conversation about what it means to be brave, beautiful and strong. The project addressed the pressures that young women feel as a consequence of narrow, socially-constructed definitions of beauty – pressures that can be damaging to confidence and self-esteem. Rosie took a series of portraits of each of the girls. Participants also shared their words about what bravery, strength and beauty means to them. The images and the words were printed and pasted up in Armidale’s central mall, a highly visible ephemeral public artwork installed in time for International Women’s Day 2016.
Private Posts is a multi-layered Community Arts and Cultural Development project created by Project pARTners and managed in partnership with Beyond Empathy.
Private Posts is an interactive community art installation that explores the private regrets and recollections of Armidale people and translates them into a shared community story and bold collaborative art installation.
Through its development and in its final outcome, the artwork builds connection, personal reflection and healing.
No Shame Day encourages us all to step up , be proud of who we are and what we can contribute. It is a day to be shame free! Since 2012,No Shame Day has used public performances including comedy, poetry, dance and song, to help create pride. It is a forum to ‘shine without judgment’ – an opportunity for people to stop judging themselves and celebrate talents that are usually hidden from our community. Through the many programs Beyond Empathy has instituted over the years the concept of shame continues to thwart the positive self-esteem and personal success of many young Aboriginal people. After years of quietly attempting to overcome the concept, Beyond Empathy decided to a ‘out’ shame to the broader community. We hope that No Shame Day will act as a catalyst in enabling the Aboriginal community to step up in pride and give our young people the opportunity to show off their many and diverse talents ‘shame free’.
The community inspired and community led event showcases the amazing talents of local young people and unearths some of the ‘hidden’ Aboriginal artists in our community. The festival supports and encourages collaborations and new relationships between the Aboriginal and broader community and creates a forum for interaction with other groups including the local-based refugee community, international students and mental health groups.
Beyond Empathy created a workshop, event and performance program that built on the spirit and success of 2013’s Rainbow Ridge Songlines and Silver City Songlines in 2012. The creative process places young people at the centre of the story telling process, recognizing they can be the agents for change in their own lives and the life of the broader community.
Released in 2013 Rites of Passage is a raw, uncensored and honest film inspired by the life experiences of the young people who were involved in the making of the feature-length drama as cast and crew under the direction of an internationally renowned filmmaker. The film, based in the Illawarra, involves six interwoven stories which show the teenagers negotiating the dangers and discoveries of their age with the result; a self-portrait of disadvantaged, marginalised children responding to the challenges surrounding them (and from some of the poorest urban postcodes in Australia). Rites of Passage involved an independent evaluation and demonstrated a three-fold social return on investment.
It was the winner of the Special Jury prize at the 2013 Warsaw Film Festival; selected to screen at international film festivals in Sao Paolo, Warsaw, Colorado, Seattle, Cyprus and Canada.
Catharsis is an interactive community art installation that has given us all a chance to shred our negative thoughts and contribute to the creation of a positive community art work. A paper shredding machine was set up in a pop-up shop front window in Armidale and people from the community were invited to engage in the cathartic process of writing and shredding their negative thoughts. The shopfront window gradually filled with the community’s shredded negative thoughts while positive phrases devised by participants and guest artists were revealed and projected. The growing pile of shredded paper was symbolic of the fact that we are all part of the community and we all have things that we could let go. Catharsis won a Community Arts and Health Award at the 7th Annual Arts and Health Conference in 2015 – the Art of Good Health and Wellbeing.
HOMEtruths is an arts-led project engaging Aboriginal women in Moree in creative therapeutic processes to create safe futures and reset healthy boundaries. In Moree in December 2017, Beyond Empathy proudly presented HOMEtruths, an installation about love, longing and belonging created by artists Cathy Craigie, Raphaela Rosella and David Leha in collaboration with Moree women and their families.
International communities together with the Aboriginal and broader communities creating connections around the idea of ‘home’ through music, art and stories.
The project, entitled HOME, brings people together physically as they participate in creative activities and events, but also encourages deeper emotional links as participants reflect on what ‘home’ means to them. Regardless of who we are, or where we have come from, we share feelings about what ‘home’ means and are united in our connection to place. The multi-arts project included the creation of a community choir and drumming group, photographic portraits and storytelling.