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Q: What do you get when you put some of the country’s leading creative minds in a historic storefront with 75 people from our region’s creative and cultural sectors?

 

A: a day full of inspiring discussions at SHIFT.
 

“Stories have a way of changing the world,” said Wesley Enoch in his keynote address. This concept was widely shared amongst all of the day’s presenters. From Angela McCann’s tear-jerking description of the Poppy Project which saw the Coolamon community produce 2000 ceramic flowers for their remembrance ceremony. To Helpmann Award-winning playwright, S .Shakthidharan who play Counting and Cracking celebrates the power of “quiet voices” in migrant communities across the country.

 

Storytelling as a means of advocacy was also a hot topic on the day, with Ros Abercrombie arguing a change in narrative is needed to raise the political profile of arts in regional areas. ” It’s a really important tool for us to abdicate up to parliament members, to political reports and the media,” she said.

 

Similarly, Regional Music Officer, Phoebe Pinnock, committed to improving the visibility of musicians and musical practitioners in our region over the next 12 months as part of the new Music NSW pilot program. She believes ” We need to show that we exist and exist at a professional level similar to artists living in the larger cities”.

 

Community programs were also celebrated during the fast five-sessions as Mckenzie Tooth and Jackie Okot delivered their plans to create a youth-based writing group after realising the stories and experiences of young Riverina residents were not being told or documented.

 

As we sit back and reflect on all that was said, it’s important to acknowledge those who assisted us throughout the day. Eastern Riverina Arts would like to thank Coolamon Shire Council, Jess *Inch*, Laura Munro, Adam Bannister, *Myles Pragnell*, Lachlan Brown, Curly Mills, Coolamon Cheese Factory, Lucid Kombi plus all of our speakers and attendees for joining us on the day.

 

Stay tuned for a special feature digital zine featuring the best of SHIFT in the coming weeks.