Published: 21 September 2018

SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS Tuesday 18 September, 2018

Ms FORREST  (Murchison) - Mr President, the mission of Big hART as stated on its website is -

'It's harder to hurt someone if you know their story.'  Our work sheds light on invisible stories, bringing hidden injustice into the mainstream.  These stories make it harder to hurt someone - on an individual, community and policy level.  Our work demands best practice, and we strive for generational change.

The work of Big hART has been far-reaching.  I wish to use this brief contribution to highlight a small snapshot of that work and the impact of Big hART and seek members' support for some upcoming events.

Big hART was set up 25 years ago on the north-west coast by 2018 Tasmanian Australian of the Year, Scott Rankin.  It was established as an innovative experiment to find new ways of dealing with disadvantage and was motivated by the closure of the Burnie pulp and paper mill.  

Big hART began working with the local community, creating high-quality art to transmit and share people's stories.  This effective model began the journey that has seen the Big hART model taken to over 50 communities nationwide.

Big hART delivers a range of projects; however, all are focused on Tasmanian-based activities.  Project O, as I have spoken about before, was successfully piloted into a federally designated family violence hotspot on the north-west coast of Tasmania, predominantly Wynyard, my home town.  It was subsequently rolled out to Cooma, New South Wales, and then to Roebourne, Western Australia, and Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

The financial support provided by the Tasmanian Government for Project O in Wynyard is acknowledged and appreciated.  This project backs young rural women to help prevent family violence and drive generational change using a primary prevention approach.  It engages young women, increases their sense of agency and provides them with the skills to deliver events in their own communities and change attitudes and denormalise violence.

Success has been immediate, is evidence-based and has led to awards, such as the Human Rights Comments Organisation Award 2016.  The 20+20 program has been developed as a legacy program to Project O and backs young rural people to succeed in transitioning employment in the employment marketplace.  The 20+20 program is a preventative unemployment program, primarily delivered within the school curriculum, ensuring that young people stay at school while developing practical, technical and personal skills that encourage a passion for careers, not just jobs.  In this way, 20+20 is a unique approach to driving generational change in communities where high unemployment is an issue. 

This is so important in the area of high youth unemployment where I live and the very real challenge we need to address of intergenerational unemployment. 

The Acoustic Life of Sheds is a science-specific musical work set in the sweeping landscape of north-west Tasmania.  The project combines sound artists, communities and farming families in celebrating the culture and acoustics of their working sheds

It premiered at the Ten Days on the Island Festival in 2015 and was so well received the festival commissioned another five sheds for the 2017 festival.  Big hART is currently negotiating collaborative sheds projects internationally.  In 2017, the Acoustic Life of Sheds partnered with the Big hART 20+20 project.  Working alongside community businesses, participants from 20+20 worked with artists staffing each location, managing audiences and collaborating on production, publicity and promotion of events.

All members who live in rural and regional areas know and appreciate sheds on farms are beautiful and take on lives of their own.  The Acoustic Life of Sheds seeks to engage leading composers and musicians to repurpose these sheds as instruments or soundshells celebrating these spaces by bring together musicians to reimagine them for the audiences in the landscape.

Farmers are adaptors, inventors and innovators who respond to the challenges of nature, globalisation, markets, new technology and climate change, and these sheds are part of this.  Big hART seeks to locate four distinctly different sheds in a 40-kilometre rural area and work with farming families, composers, musicians and sound artists to explore the sheds, creating science-specific works based on the acoustics, history and current use.  In doing so, they capture the spirit of past and present owners and symphonies of secrets for audiences to enjoy in the sheds.

Big hART has plans to expand the Acoustic Life of Sheds across the state in 2019, sharing the stories of 12 farming families in virtuosic music and art.  This is very exciting news.  The Acoustic Life of Sheds recently won the national 2018 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award for the best regional event.  Not only does this recognise a great event in Tasmania, it is being recognised on the national stage.

Big hART is asking businesses working in these rural communities to help Big hART and Ten Days on the Island expand this beautiful project by sponsoring a shed.  This involves receiving exposure for their businesses in the lead-up to and during the Ten Days of the Island Festival in March 2019.  I am happy to provide any members with further information about how they can engage with and support their local communities and businesses to see the success of the Acoustic Life of Sheds shared around the state.


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