I have continued to journal and reflect on the role of art within the concept of 'community engagement'. Thanks to the Woollahra Studio Residency Ive been able to not to make new work but push myself and my practice further into a space that is more open to collaboration and skills sharing. I'd previously taught in the Bachelor of Fine Art Textiles program at UNSW Art & Design and have facilitated various workshops, but I don't think I'd ever consciously considered the links between teaching in academia, my personal practice and skills sharing in the broader community. Maybe it should have been more obvious to me but it wasn't. As a society we are beginning to talk more about community and connection. These concepts have always existed but I think we are only now just beginning to challenge the concept of community and connection for who - who gets access, who gets heard, who gets the support to be heard? How do institutions that are based on colonial and patriarchal systems like schools, universities, councils and health centres evolve in the way they engage with and for communities? Awareness is great but its not enough, its in the doing that change happens. As I've become more vulnerable and more aware of my own position and how I have an impact on those around me I've felt a push to move out of my comfort zone. I feel clumsy and uncomfortable because I'm having to confront the past (things I should have done, ways I should have been) as well as the fact that I'm going to continue to make mistakes. As confronting and uncomfortable as this vulnerable place is right now, a layer of the veil has lifted and I'm moving forward.
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