Kristin Rule, Viola Bicycle Mallacoota post fires, 2020 Creative Recovery Small Grants Program - image supplied.

Creative Recovery Program

Last updated on July 10th, 2023 at 03:27 pm

In 2015, Regional Arts Victoria rolled out a Creative Recovery program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services via Creative Victoria.

The program placed Creative Arts Recovery Facilitators in three areas in response to 2014 bushfires. A worker was placed in the Horsham and Northern Grampians region; in East Gippsland; and in the Mitchell, Macedon Ranges and Hume regions.

Their work helped build community resilience through leadership, capacity building and creating partnerships and networks to assist with preparedness and recovery in fire-affected communities in these regions.

Creative Arts Recovery Facilitators 2014-15

East Gippsland: Andrea Lane

Andrea spent much of her time working with Tubbut, Goongerah and Bonang on their Streetscape projects funded by East Gippsland Shire Council. Through planning and facilitating community meetings, Andrea helped the people of the towns dream up and realise their visions. In Goongerah, locals designed, made and drove projects to create a cluster of locally forged braziers, a news hut, and campground signs.  Tubbut and Bonang shared a ceramic studio filled with materials, equipment, and ideas, connecting them to a network of forgotten pottery skills from around the region. Each community incorporated the tales told into their local ceramic artworks, pizza oven and community landmarks.

Goongerah Streetscapes project, photo by Andrea Lane

Mitchell, Macedon Ranges and Hume: Amanda Gibson

One of Amanda’s highlights was Creative Conversations in Wallan, run in partnership with Nexus Primary Health, Mitchell Shire Council, City of Whittlesea and the MCRAG Community Foundation. The two-day gathering saw artists, academics, arts workers and other community members gather to share their stories of creativity in recovery. The conference connected people, but also inspired them to keep creating and keep talking.

A documentary was made in conjunction with the conference showing the powerful effect of creative recovery.

Following the success of Creative Conversations and discussions with council about reclaiming unused or underused spaces, Meanwhile… In Kilmore was conceived, a series of artist-run public events encouraging the community to have discussions about art, culture and the future of the township.

Horsham & Northern Grampians: Carolynne Hamdorf

Carolynne empowered communities to develop and network in a variety of ways, working on governance with some groups, and on strategy with others. This included working with the Northern Grampians Shire on its Arts & Culture Strategy Review, facilitating community consultations and encouraging contributions. Carolynne  also supported the Grampians West Bush Fest committee to deliver its inaugural event. The Fest promoted the attractions of the communities most impacted by the January 2014 fires. Another large part of Carolynne’s focus was the development of the Grampians Wimmera Arts Atlas. Like its counterparts in the South West and in the Central Highlands, this will help to connect artists, allowing them to share what they do and things that are coming up.