A ceremonial creative engagement INTO THE LIGHT was a community recovery project in Whittlesea township in 2011. INTO THE LIGHT is a community process and event developed using art as a tool to address ongoing recovery issues in the region, break down isolation and build connections. A ‘recovery through art’ project was funded by VBRAA in response to ongoing community needs following the 2009 Black Saturday Bush fires. Directed by Meme McDonald, this inaugural event was developed in consultation with fire affected residents and local artists, over many months. Staged on a site that formed part of the CFA base in 2009, the exhibition was open to the public for 3 days following this opening event.

Locals asked that the project be repeated in subsequent years, to continue a collective reflection, realising that community recovery is an ongoing and evolving process that takes time to unfold so a collective collaborative generative art-making process has been facilitated by the City of Whittlesea, in the years since, as part of a commitment to ongoing community recovery in fire affected areas.

Guided by a community committee of local people and artists, the theme changes each year to reflect communities’ unfolding issues rather than council boundaries or projected plans. Working across municipal borders the process has seen creative workshops delivered in twelve schools and community houses/ halls throughout the Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Mitchel and Murrindindi shires engaging individuals and groups of all ages and abilities.

Creative Recovery Network

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