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Review – Imprints: Storytelling the City opening event – September 1

with FedUni PhD student Dave McGinniss

It was once again, a different kind of night at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute. Standing out the front on a cold spring evening with a crowd of friends and strangers (pictured right), we weren’t sure what we were waiting for, but we knew it was something. Then another crowd came trailing down the Sturt St hill. They joined us, all listening to the words of artist Barry Gilson as he explained the significance of this city and place to him. He strode into the Institute, and what could we do but follow?

Stortelling the City opening

Sounds that I have never heard in the Institute’s lending library drew us forward, the beautiful and intense singing and music of Barry’s Wadawurrung people. Eventually the whole group was gathered in the library – who knows how many but standing room only for sure. We crowded around and listened as Barry continued, now talking about his art, and how it reacts and interacts with the Max Harris collection of historical urban photographs displayed inside. But here another door opens – and a rare chance to experience the Heritage Library. We stood together again, lit only by fairy lights. A single piano serenades us from the balcony, Ellen Sorenson’s haunting concerto prompting us to stop, and listen, and just be still. I don’t know how long it went for but it was long enough for me to stop worrying about what’s coming next, and appreciate the moment. Once again, a night that will live long in the ever-building memories of this city.

Storytelling the City opening Back l to r Ellen Sorensen, Ron Sutton, Amy Tsilemanis. Sharon Rose, Lorayne Branch Front Erin Mccuskey, Barry Gilson