Creative Conversations with Land: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow


Sydney Fringe September 2019: Exhibition, Performances & Forum

Exhibition open:

Saturday 21st September - Sunday 6th October 2019


Thursday 5-9pm

Friday 1-7pm

Saturday & Sunday 10am - 4pm

Artist talks:


Friday 27th September, 6-7pm

Kathryn Dodd Farrawell, Gangari Artist


Saturday 28th September, 4-6pm

(as part of the Meeting Place)

Aunty Mary Nariama Daniel

Exhibition, performances and panel


Friday 20th and Saturday 21st September




Tickets $30/$20

Playback Theatre Show

Saturday 28th September, 7:30pm

$10/$15 at the door


Join in the conversation by reflecting on this year's artworks, your own relationship with land and watch Playback Theatre Sydney play back these reflections and stories to the audience. It's a whole new level of "creative conversation"

In 2019 we are seeking to generate conversations around our relationship with land over time. Artists of different disciplines have been invited to bring their unique perspective and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘LAND: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW’. The conversation will encourage us all to consider what our relationship to land is, as we reflect on the custodianship of land since time immemorial, the view of land as a commodity, and what care for land could look like in future. Artists will be joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres.

The series will consist of a visual art exhibition, performance and forum nights, as well as other opportunities to engage throughout the exhibition time. Visual art will be displayed in an exhibition at Annandale Creative Arts Centre (ACAC) over a 2 week period and short performance works (up to 8 mins) will be presented alongside speakers on the evenings of Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September 2019, also at ACAC.


- Theme Brief -

We all have a relationship to the land on which we walk and live, whether conscious or not. And for those of us living on these lands we now call Australia, that relationship to land has been shaped in a particular way by our history, our present and how we see our future. We all play a role in that story as we consider the custodianship of land since time immemorial, the view of land as a commodity and what care for land could look like in the future. Whether we have been here for millennia or have recently arrived, whether we have a deep connection to land or feel displaced and disconnected from it, whether we have consciously cared or ignorantly caused damaged, we will all play a part in shaping that relationship with land now and into the future.

As we consider the history of custodianship, we cast our hearts to yesterday in these lands now called Australia where Creator drew up the boundaries for over 300 nations of Aboriginal peoples and placed Aboriginal peoples as custodians. They have lived sustainably, according to science over 65,000 years ago, but for Aboriginal peoples, since time immemorial. We have broken hearts for the impacts of colonisation, where that custodianship was stripped away by the lie of Terra Nullius (“empty land”, “land belonging to no one”), the blood spilt on the wattle from massacres of Aboriginal peoples, the soft cultivated earth turned hard with hard hooves of sheep and cattle, the deforestation and so much more.

As we consider the way land has become a commodity, we cast our eyes to today where land has been carved up into pieces to be bought and sold and valued by Western measures of commercial productivity. We see dry, cracked land, tears of the farmers as they count the impact of loss of life from drought and then flooding rains. We see loss of land in the Torres Strait and the Pacific as we see the sea waters rise from climate change. We see holes in the landscape from the impact of mining, destruction of sacred sites, as deep scars are left in the land from land being used as commodity where profit and greed are the choice and winners instead of land care and custodianship.

As we look to the future we sit with the damage done and we ask ourselves, what does care for the land look like from here? Can the land be restored? Can we move beyond commodification and reclaim custodianship? Can we be part of reversing the damage done and find new ways to care for land into the future? Can our relationship to land be reconsidered, restored, renewed?

What is your relationship with the story of these lands? Whether you have traveled from other places or whether you know the ground on which you walk intimately, we all are a part of the narrative that this land tells. We invite you to bring your perspectives on land to this creative conversation.

Creative Conversations seeks to engage different voices in a public dialogue around issues that are facing our world. This is a quick response art project. Artists are invited to create a new work during the residency period in response to a common stimulus, in conversation and collaboration with each other, experts, practitioners and people with lived experience connected to the issue. 


Our inaugural Creative Conversations event Boundless Plains: Creative Conversations with Asylum Seekers, was held in August 2014. Boundless Plains saw over 30 visual and performing artists create new work in response to issues facing asylum seekers and over 250 people attend the exhibition and event and give generously to the work of the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. Creative Conversations has since then continued the conversation in 2015 with Earth Hour: Creative Conversations on Climate Change in March, Creative Conversations with Asylum Seekers: A Temporary Life in July, toured to the Beyond Festival in October and joined in on the Newtown Festival in November. 

In 2016 we continued the conversation in response to the ongoing injustices faced by women globally
. Artists of different disciplines are invited to bring their unique perspective and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘ACCESS DENIED’. In 2017 we reflected on Australia's behaviour as a Global Neighbour, asking the question are we doing our fair share in regards to our contributions to foreign aid and refugee intake and we are contributing more than our fair share to climate change?

They will be joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres.

The series consisted of a visual art exhibition, performance evening with speakers, as well as opportunities to get involved and respond to the issues.

This project is designed to be quick response art, making work in conversation with others and the urgency of the current state of affairs. 


Creative Conversations is a project of Annandale Creative Arts Centre, an initiative of Newtown Mission.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

This event series aims to bring the voice of the artist (through quick response art) into the converation around issues engaging the Australian people. This event includes an exhibition of visual and installation art and a performance and panel evening. 

08 - 22 September 2018

In 2018 we took a step back and decided to look at a different type of question. What is the role of creativity on social transformation? Artists from previous years shared some of their works again and were joined by two panels, a panel of artists and a panel of advocates.

We also ran a few workshops exploring this question in different ways. 

17 September - 1 October 2017

We may be the country of a fair go, but are we willing to do our fair share?

This Creative Conversation brought together artists, performers, activists and thinkers to reflect on our role as neighbours in our global society.


Profits were donated to 350Pacific and the Pacific Climate Warriors

2 - 10 July 2016

In 2016 we gathered again to seek to engage and grapple with the reality that many women around the face: Globally, over 63 million girls are currently out of school. Of all women aged 20 to 24, one in four were child brides. In as many as ten countries, women are still legally bound to obey their husbands. The trafficking of women for sex continues to reap huge profits. Domestic violence continues to be a way of life for many. And women are still denied pay equal to that of their male counterparts in most countries.

Performing to a sold out audience, our speakers and performers helped us laugh and cry and fell empowered to speak out again the injustices we see around us. 

Profits were donated to assist the ongoing work of Hope for Health.

1st - 8th November 2015

Creative Conversations came to Newtown to share alongside the Newtown festival.

Works from the previous projects were shared and conversations continued.

30 June - 7 July 2015

In 2015 we continued the conversation in response to the ongoing situation in our nation for those seeking asylum. Artists of different disciplines brought their unique perspective and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘A Temporary Life’. They were joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres such as policy, lobbying and protest, working on the ground with asylum seekers as well as asylum seekers themselves.

Funds raised and goods collected supported the work of the Asylum Seeker Centre based in Newtown.

14 - 19 March 2015

An evening of unplugged performance and forum discussion on climate change.

9 - 13 August 2014

Over 30 artists, of different disciplines, have joined the Creative Conversation and are creating new works to reflect on current issues facing asylum seekers in Australia. These works will culminate in an exhibition opening and performance evening, with an invitation to explore the issues from different perspectives. Joining the voices of the artists, will be a panel of speakers, bringing to the conversation experience in working with asylum seekers on the ground, as well as on their behalf in policy and activism. 

Please reload

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

Creative Conversations only happens because of the extraordinary energy and passion of volunteers. Let us know if you're interested in being a part of Creative Conversations in any way this year.

We would love to hear from you! Please share your stories, ideas, or contacts with us by sending an email at or a message on facebook at