ARTnode culminates from eight years of devising art projects with people with disabilities in Newcastle to provide stimulating community creative activities and to highlight concerns about participation, representation & physical access to spaces & their contents.
ARTnode explores the tensions between inclusive community processes & permanent art in public spaces through involving the community & professional groups in the design & execution of individual works & overall elements; whilst including them as resources, references & audience.
Artists gained commissions & people with disabilities learnt about sculptural practice, made individual sculptures to keep & contributed in design development & execution of group works. People with disabilities also learnt about seedling raising, planting activities & native bush regeneration in the urban setting.
ARTnode focuses on concepts of physical & conceptual access to outdoor art by involving University Occupational Therapy students in research used for exploring access element design. A carved stone slab provides access information for the trail & a CD Audio guide facilitates understanding through the inclusion of musical responses, interviews & information on collaborative processes. TAFE Hunter Institute Visual Impairment Unit provided advice on Braille information for ARTnode's signage.
One occupational therapy student conducted research with ARTnode participants to investigate the relationship between community creative activity & health. Three main themes were identified from the data; ‘being engaged in creating', ‘creating a stronger sense of self' & 'developing connectedness with others'. These themes indicated creative activities provide unique experiences of absorption through creative engagement, choice through creation & the expression of identity. Additionally, they provided opportunity for connectedness with others. These experiences, in turn, enhanced participants' sense of control, self-esteem, identity, enjoyment & motivation as well as capacity to cope with stress, pain & negative emotions.
ARTnode's design incorporates soft land management landscaping elements into the path design to assist with slowing water to increase soakage, the planting of native plants indigenous to the region to reintroduce the understorey to the degraded urban area, & the placement of a gravity water system using a donated water tank to assist ongoing growth.
ARTnode was relocated from the first chosen site as it was found to be an Awabakal burial ground. An unsuccessful three-year relocation negotiation with Newcastle City Council resulted in ARTnode moving to the University where permission to use the land was informally given by the Umillliko Indigenous Research Centre & then later formally by the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council. Also, to celebrate Indigenous culture an Indigenous artist & her mother with a disability were invited to carve a work in a mentorship program at ARTnode.
Living With Hope
Tim Hodge with Waratah / Mayfield Living with Memory Loss Group
Aspiration & Identity
Matthew Harding with Newcastle & Hunter Community Access
Marianne Ireland with Willi Haas. Marianne's work was selected from a call of interest to local artists with disabilities.
Creation of Unity
Georgina Moran with Graham Wilson
Eye of the Beholder
Astronomical charting for International Day for People with a Disability 2001 by Tim Howard.
Audio Guide / Video
Video material by Jenny Brown was used by John Gray with his original music for the access audio guide soundtrack that Haig Stewart used for editing a video production. Yidiki by Steve Lombardo & voice-over by Scott Cameron.