EventBronze Stories: Geelong Unearthed
PublisherCity of Greater Geelong
Place of publicationGeelong, Vic.
NotesBronze Stories: Geelong Unearthed is a permanent installation featuring bronze plaques embedded in footpaths in Central Geelong and an associated app downloadable from Geelong Arts and Cultural Trails.
Research statementPOETRY AND CONTEMPORARY PUBLICS
While spoken-word poetry has had something of a renaissance, text-based poetry occupies a more marginal position. To be commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong to produce poetry for public art was thus a bold decision on their behalf, but it also generated a significant question for me. How can written poetry best engage contemporary publics?
Contributing to knowledge generated in the Field of Research 190402 Creative Writing, Bronze Stories: Geelong Unearthed is a major work, two years in train. It comprises a permanent installation of 10 bronze plaques embedded in footpaths in Central Geelong. These plaques are engraved with lyrical poetic text that engages audiences with place-based micro-histories. The micro-histories themselves, presented in the form of prose poems, and accompanied by historical photographs I curated, are available on an associated app that offers audiences a guided walk. My contribution to this project involved researching the micro-histories (originally 40) but also their representation to maximise audience engagement. Contemporary lyric poetry might be “non-visual, and mostly motionless and solitary” (Moffitt 2005: 60), but the poems I produced employ physical and digital platforms to invite visual, mobile and communal engagement.
The project is a unique public-art project not only in Australia but also globally. The value of my contribution is attested to by: the $5000 commission I received from the City of Greater Geelong; the expenditure of significant resources to support the project (such as fabrication and installation of the bronze plaques and creation of the app); and the launch of the project by Martin Paten (Manager of the Arts and Culture at the City of Greater Geelong) at the Word for Word Festival in 2019. The bronze plaques are in high-profile places in the Geelong CBD, making their audience-reach considerable.
Publication classificationJ2 Minor original creative works