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+ PUBLIC OPEN DAY OF FORMER QUEENS ORPHAN SCHOOL FOR BOYS, (1831)

DETAILS OF THE PUBLIC FORUM:

CHAIR: DR. PETE HAY, Research Fellow, Geography Dept. UTAS

SPEAKERS: MS CHERYL MUNDY with MS COLLEEN MUNDY – Aboriginal Artists & great, great grand daughters of Fanny Cochrane Smith
MR PETER GAGGIN – Director, Philp Lighton Architects, Consulting Architect
MR ANDREW COCKER – Committee Member, Friends of the Orphan Schools
PROFESSOR DAVID ADAMS – Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community, Partnerships & Regional Development), UTAS
MS KYM GOODES – CEO, TASCOSS
JAMI BLADEL – Artistic Director/CEO, Kickstart Arts

WHEN: PUBLIC FORUM: SUNDAY JULY 15 -  2 PM
OPEN DAY: FROM 10 AM – 2PM

WHERE: (The building has no street address) TO THE RIGHT OF ST JOHNS CHURCH, ST JOHNS AVENUE, ST JOHNS PARK, NEW TOWN

STORY READS:

Disturbing Echoes: Has Tasmanian society evolved since 1831? 

Hobart based arts company Kickstart Arts are using the repair and re-purposing of an iconic colonial building in New Town as a lens to invite community discussion, art making and debate around issues of social inequality, Aboriginal sovereignty and the social determinants of health.

Kickstart Arts has raised funds to repair the ex Queens Orphan School for Boys, built in 1831, a “building as significant as Port Arthur” according to heritage experts. The ex orphanage building’s new life will be as a community cultural precinct – the St Johns Park Creative Living Centre.

For many years, the building was derelict and falling into disrepair. The refurbishment work begins in late 2018 and will continue during 2019. 

“If you read about the dominant attitudes coming from colonial governments to people living in poverty in Van Diemans Land in 1831 when this building was built, you see so many similarities to what we hear constantly today,” said Forum producer Richard Bladel, “The Destitute” as they were known, were viewed as morally inferior and mainly to blame for their circumstances. This conveniently ignored very major economic, political and social factors that caused the predicament they found themselves in.”

The Forum is part of a significant public conversation about the culture of Hobart, it includes speakers on Aboriginal children who were imprisoned in the building, the construction of the building, orphan stories, social inequality, health economics then and now, with short films and information about the repair plans and Creative Living Centre vision.

The St Johns Park Orphanage buildings have always been about poverty and social inequality being a leading factor in the poor health of a large section of Tasmania’s population. They are all the more important because they house a contemporary precinct that contains multiple health and community services including Department of Health & Human Services Child Safety, Youth Justice, Alcohol & Drug, Disability and Mental Health services. These services are doing a great job within the context in which they operate, but there needs to be a unified approach across government.. How could the community play a greater role in promoting it’s own health and wellbeing?

Part of the conversation will be a community participatory arts project entitled Healing Ground. Seven professional artists will develop site-specific artworks with community members that ask the audience to think and feel about the idea of Healing Ground – a process of understanding, feeling and making peace with the disturbing echoes of our past and responding to a multitude of stories of people who’ve been left out of history. It asks what are the contemporary stories we tell ourselves about what it is to be Tasmanians? Whose voices dominate these narratives? This project encourages lost voices to come to the fore.

“The Creative Living Centre will offer new opportunities for local people to get involved in art making and cultural activity, it will house a growing community developing new ways of taking action to improve Tasmanian’s health, wellbeing, and working together on creative solutions for living with the reality of climate change