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Artists in Volatile Landscapes - Symposium

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Event description

Artists in Volatile Landscapes Symposium 

This one-day symposium is all about discussion and debate.  

Join a throng of artists, environmentalists, multi-disciplinary creatives, culture warriors and other thinkers as we broach the question: “What does the future look like ... and what is the place of art and creativity in it?” 

We’re breaking out of the arts echo chamber and taking a deep dive into questions that are uncomfortable, inspirational and future focussed.

Aimed at practitioners interested or working in cross sector discussion and collaboration, you will be immersed in a day of ideas and conversations that will encourage debate and critical thinking.

Bringing together practitioners across the fields of cultural practice, arts, science, economic development, agriculture, sustainability and energy ; each session is curated to offer a diversity of perspectives, approaches and voices.


We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging.


The Symposium will start with a keynote address from leading thinker and writer on the creative life in regional Australia, Lindy Hume. 

From her 2021 PhD thesis A Bigger Picture - towards a landscape-oriented arts practice Lindy will introduce us to the simple yet practical concept of the orientation shift from portrait to landscape as a metaphorical frame through which to view and shape cultural life in Australian communities. 

In short, landscape-orientation offers a more expansive, inclusive perspective. In the context of creative thinking, leadership and practice, this more inclusive orientation frames a dynamic shared space where place, narrative, community, relationships and surroundings may all be in play.

Be prepared to have your view shifted.


Sometimes it’s easier to think and talk while doing, and this is exactly what this session is about. Regional Futures and Gamilaraay artist Tania Hartigan will lead this extended session by sharing her papermaking and weaving.  Within the topic of Culture and Restoration / Artists as Healers you may choose to talk about what this means for First Nation culture and practice, or you may choose to enjoy spending two hours making paper and weaving.  This extended morning session (11am - 12.45pm) will have limited numbers and will give preference to First Nations people.  Registration for individual sessions will be taken on the day of the Symposium.


After a day of discussion, deep thinking and debate, join your new friends, colleagues and collaborators at our event ‘Breaking Bread’. 

Inspired by the ceramic work included in the accompanying Regional Futures exhibition by Somalian born Western Sydney artist Idil Abdullahi, we will invite you to make and break bread.  

On the menu will be Damper and Johnny Cakes, Scones and Somalian Anjelo bread.  Accompanied by handmade jams, honey and condiments gathered from around the state, this is a moment for you to reflect and debrief, to network and connect and to end this day feeling positive for the future. 


Interdisciplinary collaborations / Artists as agents of change

Major shifts in human practices across multiple sectors is required for regions to adapt to and respond to imminent change (climate change, food and energy supply problems, population shifts, economic concerns, loss of bio diversity etc). Can creative practitioners find strength through alliances and coalitions across sectors?

How do artists contribute to the community’s ability to adapt to change & be prepared for the future ?  

Culture and Restoration / Artists as Healers

Past actions/policies/practices have had devastating impacts on our regions. To move forward positively, we need to face the past, acknowledge the ruptures and trauma of First Nations peoples, the exploitation of lands and waterways. While it is not possible to undo what has been done, healing and regeneration can affect how we move forward. 

How do artists facilitate healing of their regions/peoples to better prepare for the future? 

Community Engagement / Artists as Mediators

Art is not just for artists. Providing a platform for many voices, different viewpoints, lived experiences and biases.

Through socially engaged arts practices and consultative community processes, artists value, respect and acknowledge the experiences of their community members.  Artists play an important role in  the well-being of their regions, particularly during uncertain times.   

How do artists support communities and contribute to well-being and enhance belonging so that communities can thrive? 

Listening Better / Artists as Transceivers

Artists can immerse themselves in the places where they live and through their creative practices are able to explore ways of ‘tuning in’ and developing a greater understanding and appreciation of eco-diversity and non human perspectives. 

Paying attention to where we are and who we are with. Using our senses to change how we perceive the world. Learning empathy through the arts.

How do artists enable us (humans) to be more attuned to the environments and the more than human world that we inhabit to ensure a healthy and thriving eco-system? 

Regional – City Divide / Artists as Trail-Blazers

People living in the regions might experience the world differently from their city counterparts. Evidence of global issues - climate change, degradation of the environment and economic disparity may be more impactful at a regional level.  Building solid mutual relationships may be critical for some communities and individuals to survive changing times.

What is the artist's role in recalibrating relationships across boundaries & recognizing interdependencies. Regions taking the brunt? At the forefront? What does 'prosperity' look like in the future?

What insights do regional artists bring to the table about resilience and living sustainably?


We've designed the day to give you options on how you engage with the discussion; 

IN DEPTH EXTENDED SESSION is part workshop, part presentation and definitely gives time for a deep dive.  If you want time to think deeply about the topic and be a part of a collaborative approach to take the discussion where it wants to go, then this is the format for you.

PANEL SESSIONS feature a moderated discussion amongst thinkers and practitioners.  If you prefer to sit and listen, have an opportunity to ask a question but not necessarily join in the conversation then this format is for you.  (All panel sessions will be streamed via Facebook Live - make sure you follow us.

ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS bring together some talkers and thinkers in the room with you.  It’s a facilitated discussion with the opportunity for you to play an active role.  If you want to join in chewing over some ideas, then this format is for you.

Each key topic will be a focus across the different sessions and you can make your session choice on the day. 

Registration for individual sessions will be taken on the day of the Symposium.


Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is a cultural facility of the Liverpool City Council and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Located on Tharawal country, the centre is surrounded by 2 kilometres of wilderness along the banks of the Georges River.


The address is 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula, right next door to Liverpool in NSW, Australia.  Liverpool is a 40 minute drive from Sydney, CBD.


Disembark at Casula Station on the T2 Inner West & South Line or T5 Cumberland - first stop after Liverpool (from Sydney) or Glenfield (from Campbelltown). For timetable information head to www.131500.info

Please note the T2 Airport line is different from the T2 Inner West/South - if coming from City Circle via airport, please change at Glenfield.

The Casula Railway station has lifts on both platforms to allow easy access if needed. There is a short 100 metre walk from the station to the front doors, however the pathway is a little bumpy and some of it is on the road. Please call on 8711 7123 if you would like assistance.


● From Parramatta or Campbelltown way (without tolls)

Take the Hume Highway going towards Liverpool. Follow it all the way into Terminus Street, Liverpool and turn right into Pirie Street. Follow the signs to the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Shepherd Street Entrance.

● From the M5/City (with tolls)

Take the M5 to Liverpool. Exit at Moorebank Avenue and drive towards Liverpool turning left at Newbridge Road. Turn left into Speed Street and follow the signs to Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

Type into your Maps/ Sat Nav - 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula, NSW

Note entry is via Shepherd Street Liverpool,  Please note: the Casula Road crossing is now permanently closed.


Visitors with restricted mobility can enjoy all public areas of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The theatre is fitted with a hearing loop, and has provision for restricted mobility access. Guide and Hearing Dogs are welcome. There is level access into the building and a lift to go up to level 2 or ramp access directly to the theatre. Please call the box office on 8711 7123 if you have any questions.


There is free onsite parking. The standard number of parking spaces is 126 with 5 designated disabled car spaces plus 2 overflow sections for special events.


We're excited to welcome many of you travelling from across the regions.  There are a number of accommodation options for you around Casula and Liverpool.

We have negotiated corporate rates with two accommodation providers listed below.  Bookings need to quote the event name 'Regional Futures' and be made direct with the motel to receive the discounted rate. 

Mercure Sydney Liverpool

Cnr Joadja & Hoxton Park Roads, Prestons NSW

P 02 8777 0600

E reservations@mercureliverpool.com.au


$175 per night for a Standard King Room (1 King Bed).  

Best Western Casula

667 Hume Highway, Casula NSW

P 02 9822 5807


$159 per night for a Deluxe Queen Room (1 Queen Bed).  Valid dates for price - 21 & 22 July 2023

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