I have spent the past four weeks here in Melbourne as Designer in Residence in the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University. A focus of my time there has been the preparation of the traveling exhibition “MIX06: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward,” the culmination of the “Migrant Immigrant eXchange 2006” cultural exchange project undertaken by my design students Hartford School of Art and students of senior lecturer Russell Kennedy (my host) at Monash University. The aim of MIX06 has been to encourage contemporary discourse between Indigenous and non-Indigenous designers/collaborators in AUS and the USA, in recognition of and respect for both First Nation and Aboriginal culture.
Ev accompanied me to Australia, and enjoyed a spacious studio in the ceramics department at Monash. The school provided us with a fully equipped in-situ visitors’ apartment, for optimal convenience. Though my days were quite full at school, we availed ourselves of Melbourne’s excellent public transport systems to visit numerous galleries and museums. Weekend highlights ‘down under’ included field trips along the Great Ocean Road (springtime surf at Torquay, overnight in Lorne, the spectacular Twelve Apostles), a visit to wineries and marsupials in the Yarra Valley, and attending the Grand Final of the Australian Rules ‘footy’ season (in the MCG stadium packed with 97,000 singing fans).
MIX06 will open in Hartford, Connecticut on 16 February 2007. You can read more about the initiative in the ‘About’ section, and view the individual works in the website gallery at: www.mix06.com.au