Archive for February, 2017

Science and fun @ Tahlgarrah

Posted: February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

SVM spent the day last Friday at the Thalgarah Environment Education Centre with teachers and students from Armidale High School under the guidance of Thalgarrah principal Matt MacKenzie, who led a Stage 4 Science project on macro-invertebrates in the Gara River.

Matt is keen to use video to showcase some of the great work done out there and SVM documented the day’s activities. The footage goes to the Filmpond service for editing and will be hosted on the EZECNSW Pond. The kids documented their own work, using iPads and with a little bit of tuition from SVM, launched into the video work with great enthusiasm. It’ll be great to see their work when they’re done with their own editing.

SVM  is a keen supporter of Science Communications projects, having worked for a number of years with the North Western Regional Science Hub, to capture some of their National Science Week projects.


Matt MacKenzie & I with our GoPro faces on as we set up the camera for first time use.

Here’s some phone footage Matt shot of us in action!

Back To Brewarrina event launches.

Posted: February 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Part 1 of the Looking Through Windows project launches with distribution of the Back To Brewarrina event posters. A simple, collaborative design for local and in-house printing and distribution. On of the challenges in designing these kind of posters/information flyers for community organisations to reproduce cheaply is to keep production reproduction costs to a minimum and to ensure they are also printable in B&W, mostly in A4 sizes.

The design maintains a thematic link to the posters, flyers and DVD Cover for the 2014 film project My Grandmother’s Country. 

The team that travels out with Dr Lorina Barker for Back To Brewarrina includes SVM, musician/songwriter Simon Mellor, Photographer Beth O’Loughlan, and film makers Brendan Blacklock and Lyndsay Urquart.

Here’s the first poster/flyers – in both formats.


SVM is currently prepping for a trip to Gunnedah, a major regional town west of Tamworth, where the local Shire Council is undertaking a program of community consultation on their Community Strategic Plan. And, as a way of harnessing the community’s opinions and wishes for the future of their town, SVM will record on video feedback on the draft plan from local youth and other community members in series of vox pops and short interviews.gunnedah_koala

Gunnedah Youth Council, supported by Youth Services, will team up with SVM to interview local young people and then screen some of these at the launch of 2017 Youth Week. They will be mentored through the process by SVM, as coproducers with Council and as crew, over a three day shoot and help with the first stages of editing.

SVM is looking forward to working with one-time mentee Sewa Emojong, who these days serves as  Gunnedah’s Youth Development Officer.





Our first team meeting for the Looking Through Windows project convened last night, with cooler weather after the terrible recent heatwave in NSW and other parts of the country. SVM was there with team leader and curator, Dr Lorina Barker and artists Matt Pilkington, Kim Scales, Simon Mellor and Beth O’Loughlan as we made plans for the first community engagement week to run from March 20th. We’re headed to the far western NSW town of Brewarrina to visit the site of the Old Mission with elders and community members. This will be a big week with people coming from as far away as Sydney, to gather and tell their stories of the Mission and the fragmentation of families through the past policies of forced removal of family groups from their homelands and the subsequent policies of removing children.

Other team members, filmmakers Brendan and Lyndsay will travel from Campbelltown, (Western Sydney) to the location with two of the women who recently appeared in the documentary Servant or Slave, both removed from the Mission as children to the Cootamundra Girls’ Home. They will document a very powerful and emotional return for the two Aunts, to the place of their early childhoods.

Planning and design of the November exhibition is under way – artworks in a variety of media will be created by team members and SVM will work on the digital content and undertake project documentation with digital video and photos.


Flyer/poster graphic, to be used for lead-up events, workshops and for the exhibition

And here’s the team at the first gathering, enjoying a feed and a drop in temperature! Loads of ideas bounced around, both creative and logistical.

Looking Through Windows will use video, paintings and sculptural works, live performance, digital media, installations, and photography to try to capture and retell some of the history of those with connections to the Old Mission, dating back to the 1930’s.

2016 saw SVM working again with oral historian, Dr Lorina Barker, continuing our 8 year long collaboration around her research into the family stories and history of people connected to the far western NSW communities of Bourke, Brewarrina and further north into the Corner Country of NSW – Wanaaring and Tibooburra. Much of the work we have done together deals with her field of research – the history and legacy of forced removal and dispossession of Aboriginal families in the far west of NSW, dating back to the 1930’s.

With Lorina and Brendan

On location with Dr Lorina Barker and DOP, Brendan Blacklock near Tibooburra – My Grandmother’s Country shoot, 2014

In late 2016 we started planning  for a major exhibition slated for the New England Regional Art Museum in November of this year – following on from the work we did presenting a small work-in-progress exhibition, curated by Lorina, in the Bourke CWA building during the 2016 Back To Bourke Easter Weekend event.

Titled Film Through 1000 Images, this featured artworks, installations, video and projections representing the work we did on her 2014 film project My Grandmother’s Country.

During the second half of 2016 Lorina began negotiations with NERAM, supported and encouraged by the Museum’s director, Robert Heather, for a much larger work,Looking Through Windows, building on the same concept. This year we work with other communities, family groups and descendants from other language groups and clans. We will include stories from the Armidale area and a first engagement of the coastal communities of the Gumbangyir people. We go this year from desert to the mountains and to the sea, gathering stories.

With the added support of Lorrayne Riggs, Aboriginal Arts Officer from Arts North West, Lorina applied for, and was successful in obtaining major funding over a two year period to curate and mount a much larger exhibition, again employing mixed and multi media to tell the stories of people from over a dozen different language groups. This exhibition, auspiced by community development company 2 Rivers, premieres 2017 at NERAM and is planned for the Campbelltown Arts Centre in Sydney for 2018.
Funding announced


Bourke elder Phil Sullivan launching Looking Through Windows for Back To Bourke exhibition, Easter 2016

This year we also strengthen our connections to culture, language and literacy. Lorina has an association through the University of New England with the Language For Life literacy program which has been a long term supporter of her work in community and for 2017, have enlisted local songwriter, singer and musician, Simon Mellor, who has been working for sometime with music and indigenous language with young people in the communities of Moree. Simon joins the team following the recent launch of a CD of his songs that accompany the children’s book written by well known comedian and television star Anh Do. Here’s a feature on Simon in the New England Focus magazine…

It’s looking like a big year ahead and SVM is looking forward to working with Lorina and her team. Brendan Blacklock returns as DOP, joined by emerging filmmaker Lyndsay Urqart, along with last year’s team of Matt Pilkington (sculptor), Beth O’Loughlan (photographer) and Kim Scales (visual artist).