Case studies

Into the Light

City of Whittlesea

A ceremonial creative engagement ‘Into The Light’ is a community process and event in Whittlesea township developed in response to ongoing community needs following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, using art as a tool to address ongoing recovery issues in the region, reduce isolation and build connections.

Directed by Meme McDonald, the inaugural event in 2011 was developed in consultation with fire affected residents and local artists over many months. Staged on a site that formed part of the Country Fire Association 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. This has formed the basis for a collective, generative art-making process facilitated by the City of Whittlesea as part of a commitment to ongoing community recovery in fire affected areas.

Each September from 2011 to 2016, members of bushfire affected communities from across the Kinglake Ranges came together in a parade as a personal, public and collective ritual to welcome spring, reflect on the effect of enforced change in their lives, and look to their future, together.

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.

Video editor: Stefanie Robinson

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