THE BOWERBIRD COLLECTIVE
Music and Art in Conversation with Nature
The Bowerbird Collective makes art for nature. Founded by violinist Simone Slattery and cellist Anthony Albrecht in 2017, this Blue Mountains-based not-for-profit strengthens emotional connections to the environment and conservation through live performance, digital engagement and educational outreach.
With a focus on performing in regional areas, the Bowerbird Collective has produced more than 250 events across Australia. Their award-winning productions include ‘Where Song Began’, on songbirds, ‘Life on Land’s Edge’, on migratory shorebirds, and their ARIA-nominated albums of threatened species calls, ‘Songs of Disappearance’. They work closely with major conservation organisations, including BirdLife Australia, the Australian Museum, Australian Geographic and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Associate artists include Katie Yap (viola), Emily Sheppard (violin), Andrew Blanch (guitar) and Yyan Ng (multiinstrumentalist).
Kindlehill School's Buran Nalgarra | Lynn Danniel and Georgia Adamson
Kindlehill School has launched a new education initiative for its Senior High School Program: Buran Nalgarra—Strength and Learning through Togetherness.
As an innovative school of educators, Kindlehill recognises that as our world undergoes fundamental social and ecological change, it is imperative that the way we educate and prepare our young people for this world evolves accordingly.
This vibrant community of education leaders and students are actively working with a wide range of community organisations, such as GBMCAN, community hubs, social enterprises, and businesses to develop collaborative real-world projects to create positive change in the Blue Mountains community.
To launch Buran Nalgarra, they hosted a premiere screening of the documentary, A Murmuration, on Tuesday 28 March at Mt Vic Flicks. Filmed and edited by Michael Joy, it speaks to the impact we can have when creativity, community and education intersect.
To find out more go to: Kindlehill School
FARM IT FORWARD
Socially Engaged Art Meets Food Security and Wellbeing
Farm It Forward has a focus on young people’s capacity to deal with ‘when times get tough’. It is a not-for-profit urban farming social enterprise connecting landowners and local young people who are passionate about growing food and promoting socially engaged art.
The project fosters youth and community mental health and develops skills, training and job opportunities while tackling social isolation and increasing community wellbeing. It is committed to honouring and respecting the rightful traditional custodians of the land we grow on, the Dharug and Gundungurra people.
As well as our own greenhouse tunnel growing and selling locally grown food, our 2023 focus is the Growing Together outreach project using the Transformative Learning framework to develop and run a number of youth outreach projects with Blue Mountains schools and communities. These include Blacktown Youth College, Lawson campus, and Katoomba High School in a future collaboration with NSW TAFE to gain unit credits in horticulture, organic farming, permaculture and conservation and land management. We are working towards an art exhibition featuring the scope of our work.
RETRO REHASH | Willem Hendriksen
Willem Hendriksen has joined the Board of GBMCAN to represent the interests of the live music sector. Seen here talking with Barbara Lepani of GBMCAN and Eliza Logan of Blue Mountains Drama. Willem is the Founder/Director of Retro Rehash, a Blue Mountains based music enterprise that sets up live music events and creates media for artists, like podcasts, videos, band photos, press kits and editorials. Its mission is to enrich the local scene, promote local artists and to grow the night time economy of the City of the Blue Mountains.
Retro Rehash presents music of manifold styles by local artists in the ‘Sounds of our Town’ compilations, developed in partnership with Blue Mountains City Council, and links famous performers like Steve Kilbey (The Church) with a big group of Katoomba musicians or curating several main acts with rather different styles, with punters raving about this approach.
Retro Rehash also offers mentorships for up-and-coming artists. In 2017, Retro Rehash employed Jimmy Barnes’ older brother John ‘Swanee’ Swan to mentor Blue Mountains musicians through running a rehearsal and performance with eight local players. The handpicked group performed hits from Swanee’s 45 years in show business at a sold out event at The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. After this project, our local musicians were inspired to start bands and record their own music.
ARTS & CULTURE ALLIANCE
GBMCAN is part of the Arts & Culture Alliance Blue Mountains (ACABM), which represents over 26 small and medium sized arts and culture organisations and groupings across the Blue Mountains covering different art forms, galleries and venues.
The Alliance was formed in August 2022, following a series of Round Tables organised through the office of Trish Doyle MP NSW Parliament. GBMCAN president, Barbara Lepani, has offered to provide secretariat services for the Alliance, and Brad Diedrich has volunteered his services to create a logo and letterhead for Alliance correspondence.
The Alliance provides a forum for the community arts and culture sector to come together for the purposes of advocacy and identification of priorities and issues impacting the sector. At the invitation of our Federal Member and Special Envoy for the Arts, Susan Templeman MP, the Alliance made a submission to the National Cultural Policy consultation in August 2022, and met with John Graham MLC, the NSW Shadow Minister for the Arts, Music and Night Time Economy, at a meeting held at Gallery One88 Cafe in October.
With NSW facing an election in March 2023, the Alliance was pleased to hear that John Graham expressed strong support for local grassroots activation in the arts and culture sector, and acknowledged the need for joined-up policy linking the arts with health, economic, education and urban planning and transport policies.
Contact: [email protected]
GANG GANG GALLERY
The Lithgow region is home to a growing community of creatives as it transitions to becoming a renewable energy and eco-tourism hub. Under the leadership of Sharon Howard, Vice President of GBMCAN, Gang Gang Gallery is one of Lithgow’s most innovative centres of contemporary art practice. It draws on a variety of contemporary art from the Blue Mountains region, Central Western NSW as well as other parts of Australia.
The gallery has a focus on representational pieces from all traditions, expressionist to abstract and even kitch in a multitude of mediums, including sculpture, textile, paint and ceramic.
LITHGOW ARTS TRAIL
SUPPORTING THE ARTS AND CULTURE OF THE SEVEN VALLEYS REGION
GBMCAN is delighted to announce that this year’s Lithgow Arts Trail, which covers the area of the Seven Valleys, is happening over two weekends in November.
The Current list of participants include Margaret Aalders and sister Jill Sildever, Anne Graham, Sarah Childs & Summer Hill Sewing Emporium, Annie Joseph, Annie Herron, Fullerton Design (Sandy & Tom), Gang Gang Gallery, Gallery H, Linda Hine Foxwhistle Studio, Lisa Rhodes, Colette Jonquieres, Sarah O’Sullivan, Kay Booker, Christina Lewis and Jenny Sewell.
If you are interested in participating or in experiencing the trail you can go to the website by clicking below.
The dates for the Trail are:
November 5 & 6, 2022
November 12 & 13, 2022
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Portland, Lithgow, Hartley & Kanimbla.
These local artists open their studios just once a year.
See them in action and enjoy two days of eclectic creativity.
HOTEL ETICO - EXHIBITION SPACES
11 Montgomery St, Mount Victoria NSW 2786
GBMCAN is delighted to announce a new partnership with the innovative Hotel Etico at Mt Victoria, home to some of GBMCAN’s most active members. Through this partnership we will hold regular exhibitions at Hotel Etico.
For more information on the ongoing relationship and the upcoming exhibitions, please keep checking back here on our website.
Also check the Hotel Etico website events page for details of upcoming live music events listed.
Thursday evenings 6-7pm TalkingArtz takes over from ARTHouse to showcase Blue Mountains creatives talking about the arts with local luminaries on Radio Blue Mountains 89.1FM Tune into your local community radio station and discover insights into the Blue Mountains arts scene—visual arts, theatre, writing, film… TalkingArtz lives on as podcasts put up the following Friday on the TalkingArtz website. To visit now click the button below.
THE REGENESIS COLLECTIVE
We are the home of The Network’s Creatives for Regenesis Initiative. We run a blog featuring thought leadership and poetry and we work with The Networks cultural ecology of partners to undertake a variety of multi-arts events to harness the power of the creative arts to speak to the great challanges of our future in the face of the impacts of climate change, environmenal degradation, rising mental health concerns and societal unease, along with Australia’s response to the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.
We are inspired by the way in which the songlines of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures have kept their profoundly eco-spiritual knowledge systems alive through the arts—through storytelling, song, dance, performance and painting—across millennia for more than 65,000 years. We seek to create ways to use the arts to tell the new story of REGENESIS – living in tune with a completely animated world—Mother Earth and all her creatures, as we all learn how to Care for Country in all its multiple meanings and thus leave behind the destructive extractivist forces of the Anthropocene, for the relationist world of the Symbiocene.
GBMCAN has formed a partnership with RoseyRavelston Books & Publishing Services. A social enterprise located at Nauti Studios in Hazelbook, it donates 50% of its profits to support for refugees and asylum seekers through Amiculus, the Humble Friend Project. Its Publishing services include editing, proof-reading, typesetting, cover design & artwork, printing, publishing and distribution, marketing and author events.
BMCAN members will receive a 10% discount on all book purchases, either through the online bookstore or for a special treat, visit their shop Friday – Sunday 10am to 4pm and meet up with the hardworking and enterprising owners, Zac and Cath.
Literary events in their funky workshop space include the Mid Mountain Book Club, Poetry Nights and Author Talks.
Poets are invited to publish their poems in the Wild Mountain Collective blog.
Nauti Studios provides professional, private and lockable studio spaces in the Blue Mountains with a co-working space and social events creating a vibrant community of fellow creatives.
IAN BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY & PUBLISHING
Ian is a member of GBMCAN and fine art nature photographer. As a lifelong bushwalker, naturalist, climber and conservationist, he immerses himself in the wild places of the Blue Mountains and beyond. Ian’s images arise out of that intimacy and joy, and a desire to convey the richness and meaning of the natural world. He tries to capture beauty with clarity and integrity.
Ian’s latest book, ‘The Blue Mountains: exploring landscapes shaped by the underlying rocks, uplift and erosion’ is a collaboration with geophysicist, Peter Hatherly. A major part of the book is a ‘guided tour’ of the regions of the mountains, elucidating what you see from the lookouts, walking tracks and beyond. The book is aimed at any walker, tourist, resident or visitor who wants to know more about this magnificent region. Ian also publishes a ‘Wild Blue Mountains Calendar’ every year.
Australian Earth Laws Alliance
As part of our REGENESIS project, GBMCAN works collaboratively with the AELA, a national not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to increase the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred governance in Australia, with a focus on law, economics, education, ethics and the arts.
AELA projects work on five themes: changing culture; reconnecting with what matters; building community with a focus on civil society; creating alternatives; and transforming law and governance.
Programs include: AELA Education, Australian Earth Laws Centre, Australian Network for Community Eco-Governance, Australian Peoples Tribunal for Community and Nature’s Rights, Earth Arts, Earth Centred Economies, Earth Ethics, Exploring Ecospirituality, Future Dreaming, and GreenPrints – a whole of community transformation process.
Led by Michelle Maloney, AELA’s work is inspired by the theory and practice of Earth jurisprudence, which is a governance philosophy and growing social movement. Earth jurisprudence proposes that we rethink our legal, political, economic and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth.
To learn more visit
Kalani Gacon Filmmaker and Mountain of Youth
Kalani Gacon is an award winning filmmaker, born and raised in Katoomba, who has worked across 4 continents in search of stories that touch the heart. He recently returned home to found the Mountains of Youth Project, supported by GBMCAN. Mountain of Youth is a youth mentoring project in film making. Working with local teenagers and professional mentors, their first film, ‘Soles’, premiered at The Edge Cinema, Katoomba on 8 November 2022. The flow-on impact on teenagers involved was documented by film and speaks volumes for the benefits of such projects.
REGENESIS & THE PLANETARY HEALTH INITIATIVE
Supporting BMCC’s Planetary Health Initiative
Working through GBMCAN’s Regenesis Project we seek to support the work of the Planetary Health Initiative and its growing range of partner organisations. The Blue Mountains and Lithgow Bioregional Collaboration for Planetary Health was awarded $1.135 million dollars in grant funding for a range of projects that will help make our communities more resilient to natural disasters. The program is being administered by Blue Mountains City Council with partners. One of the ways in which the program is reducing disaster risk, and pioneering systemic change, is through the establishment of neighbourhood websites to share local stories and solutions. This grows collaboration and helps us to link agencies and communities, so we can pool our knowledge and learning.
Regenesis is the call to human beings for a new relationship with the Earth and all its lifeforms. Regenesis requires both an inner spiritual transformation of how we see ourselves, and an outer transformation in how we act. Regenesis takes us from an extractivist approach to wealth creation to a set of regenerative practices that are based on the nature of all life on Earth as one of an interwoven ecology of complex systems. It takes us from the microcosm of the molecular to the macrocosm of societies, economies and geo-climatic systems that govern life on Earth.
As part of our commitment to regenesis, BMCAN has offered to work closely with the Planetary Health Project Lead, Lis Bastian, to amplify the message of planetary health to create a Regenerative Blue Mountains.
Like a Songline, which spirals deep into the past and far into the future, the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative has a strong vision to grow Planetary Health for the whole City, for all life, and for future generations. It aims to provide a framework for us to reassess and adapt human practices to better support a healthy planet for current and future generations. It also includes learning from sustainable resource management practices that have been used by traditional peoples from around the world for millennia.
Recognising that #WeAreNature, and that all life is interconnected, helps us see the way we treat ourselves and each other and all other species, ultimately also impacts the wider health of our planet. health.
As the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative grows they will be involving community groups, educators and researchers, organisations, businesses, creatives and collaborations of all kinds and across all disciplines, to help them develop the outcomes Blue Mountains need so that our human and non-human communities can thrive.