Busting Cancer celebrates survivorship and the resilience of women affected by cancer. Unique body cast sculptures were made to represent the experience of cancer and help raise cancer awareness in the community. The project has been featured at the Breast Cancer Institute annual breakfast, Westfield Penrith, Relay for Life in Blue Mountains and Blacktown and the Penrith regional library Art Everyday exhibition. Thanks to project coordinator Nicole Ostini, and arts workers Niki Read, Cassandra Hard-Laurie and Jodie Thomson, and Kerry and Tracy from Bosom Buddies Blue Mountains for their support. Funded originally by Cancer Council NSW Western Sydney regional grants, unfortunately Busting Cancer is currently unfunded; however we have some capacity to provide casts on an individual basis to women pre and post mastectomy.
Hidden – Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Walk
For three years running The GroundSwell Project was a proud partner of Hidden - Rookwood Cemetery's Sculpture Walk, an outdoor exhibition set amongst the graves in one of the oldest, most historical sections of Rookwood Cemetery. We assisted in the facilitation of several public program events such as the Dusk Ceremony, Hidden Stories and Workshops, and sponsored The GroundSwell Projects People's Choice Award to give audiences the opportunity to vote for their favourite sculpture or installation in the exhibition..
With views of the city on the horizon, Hidden offers artists a rare opportunity to showcase their work in an extremely thought provoking context. Audiences on the other hand have the opportunity to witness highly contemplative pieces that respond to the historically and culturally significant Rookwood Cemetery and its related themes, including life, love, death, loss and memory.
Hidden Stories began as an idea to ‘lift the lid’ on the stories of Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney. True to our values here at The GroundSwell Project we invited young people aged 14-18 to make short films over a weekend of storytelling and interaction with people who have intimate family connections to Rookwood. Well done to all the Hidden Stories filmmakers Christina, Jack, Anastasya, Kahli, Ramon, Maddy and Olivia. Thanks to Merv Manning and Trish Keating for spending time with us and sharing your family stories. Thanks again to the awesome Elias from CuriousWorks for facilitating the workshops.
The GroundSwell Project presented a Writing Workshop in association with Rookwood Cemetery as an adjunct to the Hidden@Rookwood 2011 Program. The workshop activities, though largely grief and loss-themed, were playful, exploratory, experiential and broad-ranging in scope. By the end of the day each writer left with half a dozen individual new pieces, as well as potential starting places for further work. They also completed two collaborative pieces as a group. This was a bold group, and by the end of the day, I think it is true to say, the group had become a small, but connected community. Thanks to all the writers, and to Rookwood, for hosting the event in their very agreeable Training Rooms, and to Peta Murray for superb facilitation.
As part of Hidden2011, The GroundSwell Project provided a 2-hour workshop for senior High School Students (Yr10-12) facilitated by professional Artist, Philippa Playford. Students visited the Hidden2011 Sculpture Prize, walk through Rookwood Cemetery and had the opportunity to create their own unique Lantern sculpture. This workshop was designed to encourage students to engage in a critical exploration of the artistic representation of mourning and death. Students were guided through their own reflection and art making process.
Festival of Remembrance
The Festival of Remembrance is a family-friendly community arts event that brings people together to honour their grief and remember loved ones that have died. Local artists provide activities for people to craft personal memorials and community members are invited to contribute to the ceremony through the sharing of music, stories and the lighting of candles. The Festival has been hosted in the Blue Mountains, Alice Springs and Emerton.
Touching Stories was a collaborative arts project between Niki Read, Gillian Hand and the Blue Mountains Libraries exploring the universal experience of loss and bereavement through the making of Art Books, postcards and zines. Works were created by members of the community and exhibited in the libraries. The digital story of this project made by artist Alexis Apfelbaum was selected to be in a video installation at the 2012 Regional Arts Australia Conference in Goolwa, SA. The project was funded by the Blue Mountains Community Cultural Partnerships program.
Two Lives Project
In 2012, under the stewardship of Palliative Care Educator, Rachel, from Calvary Health Care, ACT, and in partnership with The GroundSwell Project, actors Katrina Berg-Howard, Peter Fock, Rachel Hogan and director, Justin Watson, presented a polished moved reading of Peta Murray’s 21-year-old play, This Dying Business at the National Library in Canberra.
This play reading marked the launch of what was tentatively titled: The Two Lives Project. The project was, quite simply a bid to test the waters and see whether this play still “spoke” in any meaningful way about death and dying, about how we die here in Australia, and to ask whether it still illuminated the key issues that surround this subject matter (as it was intended to do, when written back in 1990, for a first Australian Conference on Hospice & Palliative Care.) The play reading was open to all those who have a presence in the sector – be it in aged care, palliative care, the funeral industry, vocational education and training – as well as to any interested Canberrans who were prepared to come along and give their views about its relevance today.