This project is based around drawing together older, longer term residents with younger, newer residents in a local area they share.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Gallery Sunshine Everywhere acquired funding from Brimbank Council and implemented the project in Sunshine, a suburb in Melbourne’s west. A report is available in the Projects section of www.gallerysunshine.com.
In 2019, Gallery Sunshine Everywhere joined with the Public Pedagogies Institute in a successful grant application to Moonee Valley Council to run a similar program in Flemington.
With the various lockdowns in Melbourne, demolition of the Flemington Community Hub, the proposed location for the project, relocation of the Hub’s activities to other community settings, continuing preferences for online rather than in person activities along with staffing changes and considerable changes to the original plan, the Intergenerational Maps Project faced several false starts. Finally, in late 2022, it was decided to embed the project in the afterschool program conducted at Debney Meadows Primary School by the Edmund Rice Foundation.
Finally, we conducted three sessions with large numbers of children each afternoon, along with the Edmund Rice Foundation mentors who work each week with the children.
Dr Iffat Khatoon welcomed the children to each session and gave them an overview of the project.
On Tuesday afternoon, local historian, Sheila Byatt led a wonderful session, capturing the attention of the Grade 3-4 children with the horseshoes and eucalyptus leaves she brought with her and lots of stories about local birds and more. Visiting artist Rhiannon Thomas then took over with a lively artwork session with students drawing their favourite local buildings.
On Wednesday afternoon, former Flemington PS principal, Rotary member and local identity, Lesley McCarthy spoke with the Grade 5-6 children, outside in the sunshine (competing with the loud building noise adjacent to the school). Together they looked at photographs of buildings and important past local events Lesley showed and which were displayed along the school walls. These told stories of old buildings, early images of familiar roads and more. Subsequently, Rhiannon Thomas led the students in an art session and they produced work to be added to the work from the other two days to form a collage documenting the Intergenerational Maps Project.
On Thursday afternoon, I shared stories from “The Stopover that stayed” by Grant Aldous with the young children, had them guess what the handmade nails I showed them were, talked about Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill and how those who had visited had travelled there. We compared their travel experience with that of the gold diggers, looked at replica shakedowns from those days created by artist Dr Flossie Peitsch in acknowledgement of the shelter sheds Caroline Chisholm built especially for women and children making their way to the goldfields. After I showed the group a photo of my favourite local building, Flemington Post Office, the children shared theirs and with Rhiannon’s guidance produced their contributions to the collage.
Director, Gallery Sunshine Everywhere