A connection and collaboration project within WA’s regional arts sector to nurture resilience, sustainability and vibrancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by Mycelium in nature - the network of fungal threads essential to soil fertility and flourishing - the Mycelium project in WA’s regional arts eco-system, is a strategic, state-wide, initiative co-designed to respond to the challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 to grow networks of exchange and support between regional arts groups, regional arts practitioners and the communities within which they operate.
A connected, collaborative, sustainable and flourishing WA regional arts sector with greater resilience to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (and other challenges) through the exchange of ideas, expertise, resources and support that grow shared vision, opportunities and benefits, including increased wellbeing for individual participants and social and cultural vibrancy for participating regional WA communities.
“The challenges presented by COVID-19 have deepened the sense of social, cultural and artistic alienation felt out here in the Goldfields. Now, more than ever, there is a need to connect and collaborate with like-minded organisations to grow a more resilient regional arts sector.”
John Scott, Secretary, Kambalda Arts & Cultural Centre (One on One Learning Conversation, September 2020)
“John Curtin Gallery (JCG) commenced a productive working relationship with Southern Forest Arts (SFA) in 2018 through the co-coordination of The Alternative Archive regional exhibition series within Regional Arts WA’s Regional Arts Partnership Program (RAPP). As co-curator of the survey exhibition intended to showcase contemporary visual arts practice from Western Australia’s vast and diverse regions, I traveled to twelve different communities across the state and met with representatives from over 15 arts organisations and hundreds of practicing artists. The experience was extraordinarily rewarding. It highlighted the need to give visibility to the depth of creative talent within WA’s region and inspired a determination for JCG to maintain connection with the sector moving forward.”
Chris Malcolm, Director, John Curtin Gallery (Letter of support for Mycelium, 2020)
“We would like to host a Mycelium gathering in Broome – to help connect individual arts practitioners to our organisation as well as an event to better connect the many arts organisations in our town that co-exist, yet rarely co-operate.”
Naomie Hatherley - Kimberley Arts Network, Broome
[Extract from letter of Support 2020]
Just to make it clear:
Mycelium is a guiding metaphor for the project.
Mycelium isn’t a project that focuses upon fungus. We won’t be growing mycelium or mushrooms (unless you really want to)
We are using an existing network in nature as the inspiration framework for connection and collaboration within our sector.
If you’re still confused, send us an email.
For more info
Click on the links below for further project information:
Why Mycelium is the perfect metaphor
It was suggested by a respondent in Survey #1 during the Scoping stage for this project that we reinforce the relevance of the title 'Mycelium' by regularly exploring its connectivity.
So, throughout the project we’ll refer to images, scientific ponderings, vague creative ramblings, mind maps etc that build resonance between the activities undertaken in the project and the mycelium networks commonly understood by mycologists, botanists, biologists and gardeners etc.
Let me start by telling you how I came up with the name...
My husband (Peter Hill) has been obsessed with Mycelium for a while now. He's deep into his 'mushroom phase' (that's a pic of his hand below, holding a little fungal gem from our bush).
An artist, avid gardener and citizen scientist he's been researching Mycelium in earnest, filling our fridge with spores, transplanting them into timber logs and building a network of mushroom clusters across our Northcliffe property. He draws mycelium networks, enthusiastically shows me bits of twig covered in finely interlaced hyphal threads and is forever watching You Tubes videos about this wondrous world beneath the surface of things.
The more he talked about the value of this network to our natural ecosystem, the more I could see the synergy between the vitality of soil in our bush and garden and the vitality of 'soil' in our regional arts sector.
The threads that connect us can also nourish us; leading us into creativity and sustainability.
Fiona Sinclair (Project Coordinator - October 2020)
[Photo credit for all fungi images on the Mycelium pages: Peter Hill]