How MakeShift made a difference to the community connections and recovery of people impacted by fires, floods and a pandemic.
"Today, it's the first time I remember laughing in so long. It's like drawing breath"
- Margaret, Mangrove Mountain Resident
Many areas of regional New South Wales and Victoria experienced intense challenges throughout 2020-2022. Bushfires tore through many communities in 2020 and again in 2021, and then came floods. In amongst this time was the pandemic, which cut people off from each other at a time when they needed each other more than ever.
MakeShift was engaged in two parts of regional NSW - Eurobodalla Shire, the far south coast of New South Wales, and Central Coast, a coastal and also mountainous range of valleys and villages. Our engagement was to design and deliver a series of workshops and experiences for residents to come together in a way that brought connection, but also a sense of healing and empowerment.
Working with ceramist Peach, we put clay - literally ash, and dirt, into the hands of residents for them to create a community hanging sculpture.
We brought artist Julie Paterson along, who led us on a mindful bush walk to each create an ephemeral 'sculpture' on the ground, reflecting thoughts, feelings and connections to the land and place.
We gifted a whole community of residents each a Creative First Aid Kit, along with some tools for how to play, connect with their own creativity, and with each other. We know that a community in crisis survives when there is trust and connection.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners, Custodians and Elders past and present of the Indigenous Nations of New South Wales on whose lands we work. We pay respects to the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal Nation. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded, and we live on stolen land.
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