Books and Projects

"Creativity, Religion and Youth Cultures"
by Anne Harris (Routledge, 2016)
Art/Hope/Culture (2012-2014)

(excerpted from the Transience exhibition launch text of Enza Gandolfo)

 

The creative research project Art/Hope/Culture was conducted by Drs Enza Gandolfo and Anne Harris throughout 2012-2013. The project investigates, documents and promotes the art and art making process of ten women artists from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The researchers interviewed and filmed the artists in short documentaries, developed this webpage, and presented works from the artists as the exhibition Transience at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne Australia (March 1-16, 2014). The artists involved in Art/Hope/Culture are:

 

Merlinda Bobis (writing and performance);

Jigzie Campbell (dance and performance);

Lella Carridi (visual arts and writing);

Ok-Hean Chang (visual art);

Sivan Gabrielovitch (playwriting and performance);

Mehwish Iqbal (visual art);

Helen Kassa (film, spoken word, poetry);

Hiromi Tango (visual art);

My Le Thi (visual art); and

Yumi Umiumare (dance).

 

 

Some of the artists have come to Australia as migrants, others as refugees -- from as far afield as the Philippines, Jamaica, Italy, Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Japan. Australian artists from all backgrounds struggle to make a living from their art, but it continues to be the case that women artists face more challenges then men. And it is even more difficult for women of migrant and refugee background. During the interviews we have asked these artists about their motivation and inspiration to make art. We have asked them about the connection between creativity and hope, between art and culture, and between art and politics. Their experiences and views are as diverse as their art practices and backgrounds.

 

The artists talk about fear and fearlessness, about the loss of voice and process of rediscovering it, about the desire to explore stories and experiences that are silenced and marginalized; they talk about the fluidity of identity, about their belief in the power of art to educate, to inspire and to bring joy. These artists are changing the face of the Australian social and cultural landscape; they are contributing to the development of a vibrant and diverse art and literary culture in Australia; they are reflecting on and shaping what it means to be Australian and, providing avenues for sharing experiences and therefore opportunities for greater understanding and empathy.

The Creative Turn: Toward a new aesthetic imaginary

Sense Publishers, 2014

 

This book is the first text that responds to the current global obsession with creativity by using an integrated approach in its analysis, including aesthetics, creative industries, arts education and professional arts practitioners’ perspectives to understand what Walter Benjamin and Marshall McLuhan have identified for previous eras, this generation’s ‘creative turn’.

 

The conundrum of understanding, practising or teaching contemporary creativity is that it wants to be all things to all people. Almost all modern lists of creativity, creative thinking and how-to ‘become creative’ books begin with one premise: the creative individual is not special, but rather each of us is creative in a special way and these skills can – and must - be nurtured. Increasingly, industry and education leaders are agreeing. Can creativity be the core skill to take us into a prosperous future, signalling the democratisation of creativity as industry? Yet centuries of association between aesthetics, mastery and creativity are hard to dismantle.  These days, it is increasingly difficult to discuss creativity without reference to business, industry and innovation. Why do we love to think of creativity in this way and no longer as that rare visitation of the muse or the elite gift of the few? This book looks at the possibility that creativity is taking a turn, what that turn might be, and how it relates to industry, education and, ultimately, may be changing the nature of aesthetics for our new era. In proliferating discourses of the commodification of creativity, there is one thing all the experts agree on: creativity is undefinable, possibly unteachable, largely unassessable, and becoming the most valuable commodity in 21st-century markets.

CREATIVE CAPACITIES
Hampton Park Secondary College + 
Monash University

2013

 

In term 1, 2013 HPSC and Monash University joined forces on an arts project based on student ASPIRATIONS. 

 

The project included 8H, 8A, Mrs. Koehler, Ms. Patti, Mr. T and Monash University Staff.

 

Students raised their aspirational awareness through visits to Monash University, Dandenong Law Courts and Chisholm. 

 

The Creative Capacities project has been connected to the students' learning outcomes in the classroom. A mural has been painted celebrating the project and the diverse and multicultural nature of the school. 

Culture Shack (2012)

Culture Shack was a gathering of young people (ages 16-25) from the western suburbs for arts workshops conducted by local, national and international artists from Melbourne, Alice Springs, New York City and Montreal, with an eye to creating pathways into further education. Culture Shack offered workshops in playbuilding, physical theatre, digital animation and sound composition, video, slam poetry and hip hop.

 

Culture Shack grew as an initiative of Dr Anne Harris, Lecturer, Victoria University. All Culture Shack workshops were free and all workshops were designed to link to a TAFE Certificate III in Creative Industries.  

 

As part of the program a symposium was held on called Artful Practices: A Community Conversation

SAILing Into Uni (2012)
 

SAILing into Uni was a video-based project in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne, Australia that addressed pathways into university for refugee-background young people from Afghanistan and South Sudan. The project worked in two ways: first, in collaboration with 7 young people, short ‘public service’ clips were made to highlight and celebrate the educational achievements of these young people, and a series of ‘film fragments’ made to ‘talk back’ to universities about how they can better support students from refugee backgrounds. Secondly, over 100 young people from those communities were shown the public service clips and were interviewed about whether it made a difference to see young people from their own cultural identities celebrated for their educational achievements.

 

The project was a collaboration between Monash University Faculty of Education, Faculty of Nursing and the community organisation Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning (SAIL) program (2011). This project is ongoing as a partnership between Monash University and SAIL in order to address pathways for Sudanese students in Australia.  For more information on SAIL, go to: http://www.sailprogram.org.au

Teaching Diversities (2011)

Throughout 2011, the TD research team conducted a community consultation on how to better support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning (LGBTIQ) young people from / in multicultural communities.

 

This project was conducted in 2 parts: part one was a community consultation across Victoria, Australia, which resulted in the Teaching Diversities report included here, in which the young people talked about the dual marginalisation they experience due to both racism and homophobia, and the artforms they would choose to address these issues in any public pedagogy project.  During Part 2 of the project, the young people worked with a professional animator to produce the stop-motion animation, CALDPlay. Created for web release, CALDplay addresses some of the major concerns these young people are navigating in their everyday lives.

 

More support and information on being multicultural and queer can be found at  http://www.agmc.org.au