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Media release - Community art program sparks important conversations of gender equity and respect in Knox

A series of art installations and a program of innovative workshops will use art as a medium to engage in conversations about gender equity and respect in the community, throughout November in Boronia Mall.

An empty shop inside the Mall has been transformed into a large-scale art installation by The Hotham Street Ladies – who create installations featuring edible materials including icing and fondant work and have appeared in the National Gallery of Victoria.

‘The Shop of Opportunity’ will become a temporary arts space, where locals can participate in arts, installation, performances and collective events to explore themes of social change, community, public space and gender equality.

The Hotham Street Ladies installation forms part of the Framed by Gender community arts program, which is coordinated by Knox City Council and funded by VicHealth as part of a state-wide Gender Equality through the Arts Program in partnership with Councils across Victoria.

Knox City Council Mayor, Cr Nicole Seymour said that Council was proud to partner with these artists to help the community think differently about how to build a more equal and fair society where everyone can take part, regardless of their gender.

“Having open and productive conversations around gender roles, gender equity, respect and positive relationships is crucial to building a safe, secure and happy community.

“Art is a fantastic way to facilitate conversations and to prompt people to stop and think about their attitudes, their biases and their behaviours,” she said.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said gender equality is everyone’s responsibility.

“Gender equality improves the health and wellbeing of all Victorians – men, women and children. It also creates stronger communities and plays a vital role in the prevention of violence against women.

“Art has the power to cut through language barriers, class and culture and can address complex issues and spark important conversations about social issues,” he said.

With gender equity, respect and positive relationships playing such an important role in building a safe and happy community, Framed by Gender aims to facilitate productive discussions in an impactful yet inclusive way, through interactive, collaborative and immersive artworks on display from late October.

Guided by local social change agencies, nationally-acclaimed artists invite visitors to explore gender stereotypes and roles, gendered spaces, and concepts of privilege and respect. The program also includes a variety of interactive workshops with key groups in the Knox community.

Renowned visual artist Anna Farago has been facilitating workshops with students at Boronia K-12 College as a part of the ‘Words for Change’ art activation, in which young people brainstorm, develop and creatively express responses to a focus on gender issues and respectful relationships. Some of the outcomes of these workshops will be incorporated into screen-printed artworks to be displayed at Boronia Mall.

Framed by Gender is one of several programs across Victoria to receive support from VicHealth, as part of more than $630,000 in funding from VicHealth’s ‘Gender Equality through the Arts’ grants. Other participating Councils include Yarra Ranges Council, Bayside City Council and the City of Port Phillip, among others.

Additional workshops and events will take place throughout November to further activate the installations, allowing all members of the community to come and participate, learn and engage in meaningful discussions. All activities are free, and suitable for all ages and genders.

More information on the Framed by Gender program can be found at www.knox.vic.gov.au/framed, as well as details on Council’s other programs and services supporting gender equity, family violence awareness and prevention, and respectful relationships.

Anyone requiring assistance with any of the issues raised may contact the following services:

  • If in immediate danger call 000
  • 1800 RESPECT
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Download the Knox Women’s Safety Information Card.

Issued: Friday 1 November 2019
Knox Community and Council Plan 2017-2021

Knox Community and Council Plan 2017-2021 Reference:

Goal 4. We are safe and secure

Strategy 4.1 - Encourage and support the community to take responsibility for their own safety, and the safety of others.

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