In Conversation with Megan Sheehy and Volker Kuchelmeister

Hard Place / Good Place is a project developed by the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum following a devastating storm that swept through the region in June 2021. It was thoughtfully designed in collaboration with the fEEL lab at the University of New South Wales as a way to work with young people in the region aged 15 to 25 to give voice to their experience as part of the recovery process.

The work focusses on lived experiences of being in a ‘hard place’ or a ‘good place’ through a collection of personal and community stories, told through Augmented Reality. It was exhibited in the museum in Lilydale from September – November as part of The Big Anxiety – a mental health and arts festival.

On this episode, Scotia is joined by two of the key people behind the project: Megan Sheehy, Director of the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum; and Volker Kuchelmeister, lead immersive designer and Senior Research fellow at the University of New South Wales’ Felt Experience and Empathy Lab.

Megan has 20 years experience in curatorial and senior leadership positions across the arts, heritage, museums, music and health with a particular focus on cultural programming and arts and wellbeing. Volker is an award-winning artist, researcher and digital media specialist who is a leading expert in presence, embodiment and place representation for immersive applications. His work in interactive narrative, spatial mapping and immersive experiences is exhibited in museums, galleries and festivals around the world.

We hear about the process of developing the work and the importance of centering the participants’ experience. We also discuss the broader opportunities for digital storytelling as well as the crucial role that local government and local cultural institutions play in supporting communities through disaster recovery in regional areas.

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