Illuminated by Fire

Illuminated by Fire

From June 29–July 3 2011, Melbourne’s iconic Fed Square was transformed by some of Victoria’s most gifted regional artists and their communities. As part of Regional Arts Victoria’s statewide project Illuminated by Fire, 10 extraordinary projects were installed and showcased with a series of events, talks and tours.

During our week-long residency, which encompassed four day-time panel discussions, four day-time tours of the work with the artists, three night time performances and five days of general exhibition, we estimate that close to 5,000 Melbournians directly engaged with the work. Many were greatly moved by the stories they heard. The project aimed to use arts processes to engage regional communities in a discussion about fire experience in order to develop greater resilience in dealing with the preparations for the annual fire season and in dealing with the aftermath of fire events.

We also aimed through the Melbourne exhibition to shift attitudes in the broader community from fire as something to be feared to fire as an essential part of our ongoing survival. We have done this and more – astonishing people with the power of beautiful work to truly create an impact.

Speakers over the week included Kevin Tolhurst, Rob Gell, Donna Jackson, Bruce Esplin, John Schauble, Simone Blair, Robyn Archer, Arnold Zable, Danielle Clode, Carmel Wallace, Tracy Bourne and Catherine Larkins.

Illuminated by Fire was presented in 2011 as part of The Light in Winter at Fed Square.

Read more about Illuminated by Fire here, and watch a video of Artistic Director Donna Jackson talking more about the project.


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About Illuminated by Fire

Illuminated by Fire is one the largest statewide arts residencies initiated in Victoria. Produced by Regional Arts Victoria, it has taken place over a period of 18 months and across 11 regions. From Portland to Maldon and Swan Hill to Kinglake, 11 artists and their communities have delved into the role of fire and its impact, creating projects which offer an extraordinary exploration of what it means to live with fire.

These projects were launched in their regional areas in November 2010, and were showcased in Melbourne in June/July 2011 as part of The Light in Winter at Federation Square. 

The 11 projects worked across a diverse range of artistic practices, and fostered a sense of community and creativity while producing work both breathtaking and inspired. 

In Melbourne, the works were complemented with a series of talks presented by Kevin Tolhurst, Rob Gell, Donna Jackson, Bruce Esplin, John Schauble, Simone Blair, Robyn Archer, Arnold Zable, Danielle Clode, Carmel Wallace, Tracy Bourne and Catherine Larkins. These speakers offered the opportunity for audiences to engage more deeply with the theme of fire, art and resilience.

Available here is Rob Gell's Illuminated by Fire presentation, Kevin Tolhurst's Illuminated by Fire presentation and Simone Blair's Illuminated by Fire presentation.

In the video below, Illuminated by Fire Artistic Director Donna Jackson outlines the scope and the ambitions of this state-wide project.

Artistic Director: Donna Jackson

Donna Jackson has an unrivalled record of artistic direction of multi-sited state wide arts projects that are highly participatory and pro-actively inclusive of 'unusual' suspects. She has written and directed for theatre, worked as Artistic Director for numerous regional festivals, and has been Regional Arts Victoria's Artistic Director since 1998.

Donna Jackson

Curator of Stories: Malcolm McKinnon

Malcolm McKinnon is an Australian artist and filmmaker working mainly in rural communities. Over the past 15 years, his work has encompassed oral history, urban planning, public and community art projects, critical writing and exhibitions. His current practice is mainly focused around documentary filmmaking and social history, motivated by an appreciation of living memory and local vernacular.

Watch Malcolm's films here.

Malcolm McKinnon

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