Fairfax In-Community workshops: Round 2

fairfaxfestival workshop round 2 - kalianna storyboard
The storyboard for the Kalianna audio composition. My whiteboard skills have vastly improved over these workshops.

Greetings from Shepparton (north east of Victoria) on my rest day during the second round of the Fairfax In-Community artist workshops.  I’ve come off from two days with the students at Kalianna Special School in Bendigo where we finished off an audio composition documenting a journey into one of the historic Bendigo gold mines – cue: worksongs, elevators, lots of pickaxes, deadly gas explosions and cave-ins.  This particular round of workshops was great fun.  It’s a wonderful school with great staff and the students were absolutely wonderful to work with.

* * *
It’s a lovely day here in Shepp, marginally warmer than when I was here almost exactly a month ago, but there’s definitely Spring in the air this time around.  It’s good for my spirits, and really does make Shepp appear that little more hospitable.  It’s a town with a litany of problems – industrial decline, crumbling infrastructure, unemployment, crime – and in many ways resembles a rough city suburb transposed to a remote area in country Australia. 

It’s not the socio-economic basketcase that many make it out to be, but life is pretty bad for a majority of the students I was working with last month.  BUT I was really heartened on my last visit to discover personalities who were creative, imaginative, motivated and enthusiastic about art practice – especially a new and weird medium like sound art!   Furthermore, I was blown away by just how perceptive and intelligent they were when it came to discussing concepts, creative development and various techniques.  We’ve got a lot to get through over the next two days; developing an audio composition/performance drawing on themes of routine, boredom, fear and the tension between the natural and industrial environments in and around Shepparton.

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