Ellen Benson as Artist-in-Community Residence at Travellers Aid, is proudly supported by the City of Melbourne through the Community Cultural Development Program.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Crowds, Time and Movement in Space: A Workshop Overview

Thank you to both the City of Melbourne for sponsoring my Travellers Aid Artist-in-Community Residency and to Melbourne Artist Supplies for providing materials at a subsidised cost, we were able to facilitate a workshop teaming with six disadvantaged (primarily young) creative people with RMIT Drawing students, in a mentor capacity, to produce a series of 20 collaborative canvas panels to be housed at Travellers Aids Spencer St location - for the foyer and rest rooms.

Thank you also to the cafe staff who allowed us to dismantle their table arrangement and set up drop-sheets and barriers. A digital projector was used as a rough guide to project images of Spencer St station on to the canvases. It became apparent that some the participants would prefer to create works from their own imaginations, so we comprimised by having a mix of inventive canvases as well as some that stuck to the concept of our brief, which has worked out perfectly - the dreamy imaginative ones can be used as a point of contemplation and solace in the rest rooms, whereas the 'In Transit: Crowds, Time and Movement in Space ' will be housed in the foyer area.

We succeeded in breaking down the barriers between the young disadvantaged people requiring emergency aid as well as the differing socio-cultural groups such as our older cafe patrons and people using our disability services. Everyone was curious as to what was happening and was happy to contribute, whether in the form of feedback, actually working on the panels (including amazing works produced by our cafe staff).

I am delighted that everybody worked together in such an organised, generous, compromising manner. Many thanks to Travellers Aid Staff especially Sian Whalley for their guidance and patients in aiding me to get this extremely successful project off the ground. It is so rewarding to share my artistic knowledge and warm heart in an altruistic fashion to network and build confidence in Travellers Aids creative community.

I have enjoyed engaging with our artists, craftspersons and writers. Suggesting resources that may be of use, taking the time to sit down and offer critique/brainstorm with our artists, performers and writers, including running an observational drawing class (free to all the public) every Tues arvo from 2-5pm at our Swanston St location.

I have also enjoyed engaging with members of the Trading Table staff and have displayed some of the exceptionally tender, homely crafts-works we have had donated for sale on our web log.

If you wish to speak to me about my residency or any upcoming opportunities, please contact me, Ellen Benson at the front desk on 9654 2600. generally in Tues: 1-5pm, Thurs 1-5pm

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