In Conversation with Rosie McKeand and Leigh Tesch

This episode of Creative Responders features artists, Rosie McKeand and Leigh Tesch, who share their experience working with three to six-year-olds on ‘Afloat’, a creative recovery project created in response to the May 2018 flood event in Hobart, Tasmania.

Many early learning centres were seriously impacted by the flood and the community’s experience of the Hobart Rivulet was forever changed, prompting the local government to focus on young people and their families in their recovery strategy.

Rosie and Leigh collaborated with the City of Hobart on a program that utilised creativity and play as a means to help children deal with change, adversity and the associated feelings. Their combination of drawing and storytelling created a collaborative, child-led environment that provided a joyful space for reflection and learning.

In this conversation Scotia, Rosie and Leigh discuss:

  • The process of using drawing, storytelling and creative modalities to work with young children to open opportunities for them to process their experience comfortably
  • How to support children in times of change, and strategies to help them feel confident and safe in an environment that can change rapidly
  • How the arts can provide reflection and learning around challenging experiences, particularly in early childhood when younger children may not have the language or vocabulary to express their experience
  • The process of working in collaboration with educators, care-givers and parents and how the arts can open a different mode of communication for children as well as the adults in their lives
  • The crucial role of local government in the recovery process and the positive impact of the City of Hobart’s activation of flood recovery projects incorporating arts-based initiatives and support for experienced artists to execute these projects
  • Rosie and Leigh’s different creative modalities and how they work together in partnership to provide multiple entry points for workshop participants

The Afloat project was instigated by The City of Hobart as part of a range of recovery projects in the wake of the floods under the banner “Resilient Hobart”.

Funding for these programs was obtained through the Community Recovery and Resilience Grants Program, jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

The Resilient Hobart program was awarded a 2020 Resilient Australia National Local Government Award for excellence in their response to the flood event.

Related links

Resilient Hobart, 2018 Flood Resilience Projects

Afloat Project

Afloat Resource Booklet

For more resources and case studies about creative recovery projects for young people, visit our resource library:

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