Community Engaged Projects

Winter Solstice Bonfire at the Collingwood Childrens Farm 2017

I’ve been Artist-In-Residence at the Children’s Farm for six years now, and we’ve just presented the 2017 Bonfire Event.  This year we were working with an ancient Russian (though some say Bulgarian!) folk story about Vasilisa and Baba Yaga.  It was actually Baba Yaga that captured everyone’s attention most, so I made her house:  4 metres high, standing up on chicken legs, strewn with the bones of people the Yaga did not consider to be of pure heart and good integrity.  We made a giant Baba Yaga puppet, beautiful panels of ‘fencing’ around the bonfire, painted by the very talented Alec Gutteridge.  And I repapered the moon I made last year and projected one of the videos that’s showing in Venice onto it.  One of my favourite things of the night was listening to what people thought the subject of my video was.  Oh, and the Yaga herself leapt up in the flames of the bonfire to let us know she was very definitely present and having a great time!

Why Can’t I Talk About This
A Project in Development
By Dr Rosemary Farrell and Annie Edney

Heart Arms on pod 6468Baby Under Double DNA Twist 6451Baby in Heart Mouth 6474

The project is evolving around the forensic research of my friend Rosemary, who was adopted as a tiny baby.  The thoroughness and depth of her research has led her to meet an 11th cousin in Croatia, and has revealed the shocking story of Forced Adoption in Australia.  She has also gathered lots of information on the psychological effects of adoption.

So we are making an installation with projections of an abstracted poetic interpretation of the factual and emotional aspects of the story.


Home Is Where The Art Is 

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I am founder of this project with the long term intention of putting art on the walls of the Social Housing Project at 150 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. It’s an apartment block with a mixed tenure of residents: some artists, students, sole parents; some people have come from public-housing waiting lists and are dealing with multiple, serious problems; some have been homeless, some refugees, some live in the violent spaces at the edge of mental health.

The intention is that the daily experience of viewing perceptively poetic interpretations of personal stories in the shared spaces of the building develops a compassionate humanitarian understanding of difference between residents.

Closing Ceremony Woodford Folk Festival

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I am Lead Visual Artist for the Closing Ceremony (fondly known as The Fire Event because things get burned) of the Woodford Folk Festival.  As the festival draws to a close each year 25,000 people with high expectations come to experience this ritualised outdoor theatre show.   I design iconic images, set detail and props and manage the teams that make them. 2016-17 was my 15th Fire Event.

The Return Of The Sacred Kingfisher

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For seven years during it’s hey day I was part of the amazing creative team that made this phenomenally successful community project.  We rotated the role of Artistic Director, and took ourselves off for a three day creative development each year to dream up the most ambitious things!  My focus was fire drawing, giant puppets, and I worked with Wurundjeri dance group Ngaragee.

Winter Solstice at the Collingwood Children’s Farm

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Each year for the last six I have been artist in residency at the Children’s Farm for their Winter Solstice Bonfire Event.  I make a large scale sculptural image, design smaller lanterns and facilitate workshops …  and two 4 metre high fire drawings.

Lanterns and sculptures I have made for various projects and events

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Here are some of the things I’ve made over the past two decades  as I have developed events and worked as lead artist on too many projects to mention.

I have over twenty years experience making community engaged projects.  It’s a form of community transformation, sometimes on a spectacularly large scale and more frequently on subtle delicate intimate projects.  It’s a place of story; universal and personal.  It’s about creating connections: with ourselves and with community.  It applies poetry and imagination to life and creates glimpses into the intense darkness and the brilliant light of the human experience.  It’s about freedom of expression and being human.