Rethinking & EcoArts

I recently attended two conferences back to back on the weekend of 24 – 28 May. The first was the Rethinking Urban Forests Conference held at the Addison Road Centre, Marrickville, NSW. This was the inaugural event at Addison Road and it showed there is a great and growing interest, professional and public, in the reforesting of urban Sydney. It was a one day event and crammed a lot of interest inspired by arborists converting a problematic tree in the Addison Road Centre that threatened to drop branches instead of removing the tree it was converted into wildlife habitat. It was only after lunch that there were split sessions. I attended the artists talks including fellow light rail artist Graham Chalcroft. My friend and associate in KSCA Diego Bonetto was a surprise attendee and so we joined for lunch and continued to pass each other heading to different talks throughout the afternoon.

Leanne Thompson giving a mini workshop weaving natural materials into erosion control at the EcoArts Australis Conference.

The second event for the weekend was the EcoArts Australis Conference at University of Wollongong Innovation Campus. That was more of a challenge as I had been accepted to present a 10 minute talk on the Sydney Green Ring, ARTcycle Inc, and KSCA. A lot of ground to cover in 10 scant minutes so the presentation was brief and beautiful. The event was managed in fine style with some astounding presentations and wisecracking performance duo interspersed throughout the proceedings. The first day consisted of afield trip to Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River west of Nowra. We were guided around the site by the education staff and I spied evidence of Diego’s former artist residency – a bark canoe with a plaque crediting Diego’s participation in its manufacture. Another fellow KSCA Leanne Thompson member also presented and held a workshop with her organic, biological, soil stabilisation weaving. The freeform weaving she has devised is part of an ongoing residency on the farm of John Newell.

Also had the happy accident of meeting up with Greg Pritchard, another Cementa Alumni doing great things, and Lea Kannar-Lichtenberger, fellow traveller from SCA who is obsessed with tooth brushes – a story for another day.

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