2010 wrap-up

Dear GroundSwell Friends, In April this year we “officially” began The GroundSwell Project Inc.

The idea for GroundSwell had germinated for more than a year after a couple of serious doses of inspiration from the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Calicut, India, and a serendipitous meeting between Kerrie Noonan and Peta Murray in late 2009. Then, earlier this year, and with support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Sydney, things started getting serious…

The GroundSwell Project was born through combining our interests in both the Arts and Health. It grows from our recognition that the arts enable people of all ages to have conversations about death, dying and bereavement and can also promote social inclusion and inter-generational relationships. In short, the arts enable people to flourish, life-long. Through the arts we may not only define and celebrate all aspects of our lives, but gain access to a universal language through which to speak of our values, our beliefs and the very essence of who we are.

The GroundSwell Project mission, then, is to use the Arts to promote resilience and community well-being at the end-of-life, and through bereavement.

Our highlights this year have been many:

Incorporation as a Not-for-Profit, and subsequent endorsement for DGR and TCC status

Our High School Drama Project:  Bringing together people with Motor Neurone Disease and Year 11 students.

Two organisations supported us with encouragement and people power – The Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW and Penrith High School, with their dynamic drama teacher Nic Bonfield.

Modelled on a collaboration between the Brit School and St Christopher’s Hospice in the UK, we had 25 participants engaged in this project. Over 50 family and friends attended the final performance. The project was featured in the local paper with a beautiful photo essay. Then in November the project was recognised by the Arts and Health community with a national award for excellence in the Arts and Health in Palliative Care.

The Festival of Remembrance: Western Sydney and Alice Springs

Bringing together all of the elements of a traditional memorial service, and with the input of local artists, the Festival creates a structure within which people participate in creative arts processes to express grief in the context of community.

This year the Festival collaborated with Holy Family in Emerton and over 70 people of all ages participated.

Niki Read also conducted a small ceremony in Alice Springs. We are looking to continue to expand our work in Alice while Niki is living there.

A Volunteer Grant secured from FaHCSIA

This enabled us to purchase equipment for our planned digital story-telling projects and to enable blogging and participant video-making projects to come.

Our first major investors

We are grateful to Penrith Therapy Centre and to Artist, Jude Simes, whose family and community generously contributed and donated after Jude decided to auction her artwork for charity and chose GroundSwell as her beneficiary.

These contributions will enable GroundSwell to expand our programs in 2011.

Developing our networks and Board

At the same time we finished our business plan, adopted our own logo, and put energy into consolidating and planning for the next 3 years. Thanks to the Board  and those who have supported GroundSwell in starting up: Niki Read, Debbie Horsfall, Tim Oakley, Trudy Hanson, Paula Hanson, Melanie Greblo, Vanessa Liell, John Carrigan and Andy Horsfall.

Developing our artistic networks

With Peta leading as our creative consultant we now have an existing network of artists to call upon, and this will inevitably continue to grow.

We expect 2011 to be a busy year here at GroundSwell, with new projects and partnerships already in train.

For instance, Hidden is a sculpture exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery entering its third year. In 2011 GroundSwell will work in partnership with the Rookwood Anglican Trust to sponsor The GroundSwell Project People’s Choice award. We are also offering two public arts programs around the sculpture exhibition – a writers’ workshop and a school arts’ program.

This is just a taste of what’s to come. We will of course keep blogging, tweeting and the rest so you can engage with GroundSwell and our work. We are also excited to announce that we will be expanding our school projects and festivals, initiating new storytelling projects, and developing our consulting services.

Many people have supported GroundSwell this year. A huge thank you to Stuart Worden from the Brit School in London, Nic Bonfield and the Yr 11 students from Penrith High School, Gina Svolos and Jenny Judd and everyone from MND NSW especially Margaret, Barbara, Wal, Trish and John, Jane Murphy for technical and graphic design support, Benny, Courtney, Amy, Janine, Rosemary and everyone at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Sydney for supporting GroundSwell, Jude Simes, Paul Simes and all the amazing supporters from Jude's community and family, Jessica and Roger from Iris Pictures, Kate Maguire, Kristina Dodds,  Jody Thomson, Peter Hall, Cassandra Hard Lawrie, Fr Edward Dooley and the Holy Family Community, Amanda Lomas, Michael Maxwell, and Margret Meagher.

We look forward to your continuing support and to keeping you informed as we go.

This work is our passion, and we plan on having a great time along the way...

See you in 2011!


Kerrie Noonan and Peta Murray