Our New Challenge

Planning for Melbourne: Our Creative Heart

Planning for Melbourne: Our Creative Heart

A grant to help us experiment post-Covid

Creativity Cluster artists have begun our new challenge – to explore Melbourne’s creative heart through a collective work. Normally we each work individually in our own mediums. However, for this project, funded by a City of Melbourne Arts Grant, we plan to collaborate in pairs or small groups. We hope to experiment across mediums, create new ways of working, and incorporate this experimentation into a major collective artwork.

Questions, lots of questions

We started the project during lockdown in late 2021 by asking ourselves a series of questions and sharing them with each other over the Internet. Our expectation was that for some questions, our answers would be in agreement, but that for others, there would be a divergence of views.

Deidre Ogilvie and Mardie Whitla discuss a way to approach the collective work
Pat Duncan looks on as Lindsay Hussey shows works relevant to the theme
Nancy Lane takes white board notes of issues raised by the questions responses
Penny Sharples takes a coffee break while recording points to be further discussed

The questions included, for example:

  • What are the symbols and images that represent Melbourne’s culture and arts community, and how does it nurture our creative hearts?
  • What are the emotions, feelings and/or thoughts you want this work to convey?
  • Should there be a specific colour palette, and if so, what?
  • What shape and size would you like the final piece to be?
  • Would you prefer the final work to be one cohesive image or individual pieces related to the theme?
  • What do you consider is the unique perspective that the Creativity Cluster members, as senior women artists, bring to this work?
  • What do you wish to gain from this experience both artistically and personally?
Luna Cameron-Parrish took meeting notes which she circulated to the group to document the discussions
Nancy Lane jots down even more notes over dessert

We’ve started our planning with lots of intentions

We held our first in-person planning meeting in November 2021, and enjoyed a meal together as well as lots of discussion, writing on white boards and showing photos of ideas we liked. In early January, we took ourselves on an ‘inspiration’ tour of the street art in Melbourne’s laneways. Later that month, we held a second planning meeting, which generated even more ideas.

Pat Duncan displays painted sketches of possible background
Deidre Ogilvie shares her design based on the Melbourne skyline and Yarra River
Mardie Whitla discusses developing a 3-dimensional collective work
Close-up of images by Pat Duncan
Even coffee cups can symbolise Melbourne’s creativity
Lindsay Hussey displays silhouettes that could be used as a unifying link

In addition to both physical and online exhibitions, we are planning to document our collective journey by posting on Instagram, writing website blogs and depositing our development materials with the Women’s Art Register. Additionally, we plan to give artist talks and video interviews, publish some news articles, and give some U3A presentations called ‘Conversations with Artists’.

Our aim is artistic insight and innovation

Our main aim, though, is for artistic insights and innovation to emerge from our collective experimenting with and combining different mediums. We believe a collaborative model will provide a supportive environment where we can challenge ourselves and each other to expand our creative voice, techniques and use of materials. We will reflect on subjective vs objective content, the influence of overt intent vs intuition, and the extent to which we consciously use the principles of design.

An amalgam of visual ideas
An amalgam of ideas for linking mechanisms

This process should be incredibly stimulating as we gain peer-to-peer insights and perspectives, and advance our arts practices. We hope that you will enjoy sharing some of our journey by reading our project posts.