National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Dr Susan Murphy
QE II Research Fellow, Social Ecology, UWS-Hawkesbury

'Out Here': 'The Urban Bush' - Re-imagining Western Sydney

Community artists are great intuitive thinkers about the process of imagining community, helping to dream it up from its sometimes fragile roots in shared experience of place. In one sense, community itself is a collective work of community art. I will take a throw-away phrase found in a 1998 Western Sydney regional arts report by Christine Sammers - 'the urban bush' - as a way to establish the angle of view of my recent and ongoing research into the art of community and the lived experience of place in Western Sydney, focussing especially on Blacktown and Hawkesbury districts. 'The urban bush' may help begin to celebrate a new hybrid kind of urban place, and its highly specific forms of belonging. My research is itself a kind of community artwork - of gathering stories in the act of creating places, and exploring places in the act of creating memory - thatmay help archive memory, for the deep theme of place is time.

Susan Murphy is a writer and filmmaker, author of several books on film including The Screening of Australia (Vols I and II) and The Imaginary Industry. She is presently writing on sense of place as a Queen Elizabeth II (ARC) Fellow in the school of Social Ecology and Life Long Learning, UWS-Hawkesbury. Her films as writer-director include Breathing Under Water (feature film, 1996), Under Rookwood (short film, 1996), and Blind Love Tango (feature film in preparation, 2001

30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops