Submissions for Emerge 2017 are coming to a close

Call outs to get involved in the City of Yarra’s most inclusive celebration of multicultural arts and music, Emerge 2017, are coming to a close this Friday.

Created in 2004, in conjunction with Multicultural Arts Victoria’s (MAV) Visible Music Mentoring Program, Emerge 2017 started out as a humble arts festival and has grown into an all-encompassing series of art and music events taking place across the Yarra for one week at the end of June.

Emerge 2017 welcomes innovative music and art submissions from artists in the Yarra and provides an outstanding opportunity for newly arrived refugees and emerging communities to get involved in telling their stories and connecting with the community.

We spoke to Joel Ma, one of the creative producers, about all that is coming from this year’s event.

“It’s about opening up communities and neighbourhoods to the multicultural personalities and diversity that is around them and we often take for granted… and within that is this rich amount of human story and experience that we can all benefit from and embrace,” he said.

Cookin’ Up Community with South Sudanese spoken word poet Abe Nouk and South Sudanese singer Ajak Kwai (held at the Fitzroy Community Kitchen). Photo: James Henry Photography

“MAV gravitates towards innovative ideas and artistic pursuits,” he says,“The other side of [Emerge 2017] is to create amazing art, for us it’s about finding artists within [the Yarra] who represent all groups… to come together and collaborate and try ideas out and connect with where they live now.”

Emerge 2017 is also pushing the boundaries of the mainstream music scene by challenging expectations of many mainstream musicians who are of the notion that multicultural arts and music can’t be separated from the traditional.

“From the music perspective, I’m very interested in the idea that multiculturalism includes more than just a traditional view of art or view of music. It can sometimes be engaged with traditional instruments, but that could be offset with electronics or contemporary music collaboration… And that is where you’ll find the most popular music of today,” said Joel.

With a philosophy of celebrating the positive contributions of newly arrived refugee groups, and embracing diverse art and music in the Yarra community, Emerge 2017 is definitely something we can get behind.

In its 13th year and thriving with strong connections to community leaders and cultural groups, Emerge 2017 is only expected to continue to cultivate its invaluable contribution to the community.

The submission deadline is 5 pm Friday the 5th of May, with all submissions going to Freja Macfarlane at

A forgotten community now given some dancing shoes

LGBTI is an acronym we hear a lot in the 21st century. And as it becomes more commonly used in everyday language, it is easy to forget that the LGBTI community has fought long and hard for it to be this way.

A new monthly dance event aims to recognise and celebrate the courage of LGBTI elders, who blazed the trail to wider acceptance and understanding among the wider community.

Supported by The City of Yarra and held at the Fitzroy Town Hall, All the Queen’s Men welcomes LGBTI elders and their partners. Although targeted at LGTBI elders 65+, organiser Tristan Meecham emphasises that everyone is welcome.

Photo: Bryony Jackson

When asked about the group, Mr Meecham said, “We are interested in creating frameworks for people to participate and perform in, and through those frameworks they are often seen in a different light.”

Mr Meecham along with business partner Bec Reid, created the event in the lead-up to The Coming Back Out Ball, which will be held in October.

“We found that there were limited social spaces for LGBTI elders to join together and connect, so this is an initiative we hope develops traction over the next year or so,” he said.

The Coming Back Out Ball will debut at Victorian Seniors Festival, and will celebrate and honor LGBTI elders, their stories, and their history.

“There is obviously a level of invisibility that happens as people get old and it’s really important just to make sure that all of the rainbow community is catered for,” Mr Meecham said.

The dance club is being held in the hope that the participants can spring into dancing shape before the big event, while meeting other LGBTI elders in a friendly environment. The club is also a safe place for LGTBI elders to come and share their stories in a judgment-free environment.

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Mr Meecham said attendance varies each week with some weeks drawing in a small group and others a larger crowd of around 40 or 50 people.

No previous dancing experience or skill is needed to join the monthly event; enthusiastic dancers with two left feet are encouraged to attend.

A tempting food and drinks menu is on offer to satisfy an appetite or quench a thirst worked up while hitting the dance floor.

For any further information surrounding the dance club head here  or contact Tristan Meecham on 0421 572 221

Written by Grace Evans 

Urban Campfires exhibition showcasing new art at NJC

The City of Yarra is home to a multitude of emerging and established artists, continually producing powerful and engaging bodies of work. And with the launch of the 2017 Urban Campfires exhibition at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood, many of these artists get the chance to tell their stories alongside each other.

Changing up every six months, the Urban Campfires exhibition calls for artworks produced by artists in Yarra to reflect the exciting diversity of the area, while simultaneously providing a great location for amateur and professional artists to showcase their work.

Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC), Ann Strunks, says that many of the benefits of the exhibition are quite subtle.

“Urban Campfires may seem a crazy way to give people a say in justice,” she said, “but art is a very powerful form of communication, and it’s another way we listen to the heartbeat of Yarra.”

The NJC is a holistic justice centre, according to Strunks, where you will find a multi-jurisdictional court, treatment agencies, community-based crime prevention teams, defence and police prosecution teams.

“Our court goes a step further than the average Magistrates’ Court as we give people on the downward spiral of offending the treatment services and support they need to turn their lives around,” said Strunks.

In addition to the NJC’s commitment to solving the problems associated with criminal behaviour, the NJC openly supports everyone in the community. Urban Campfires is just one other way they are making Yarra a more welcoming and safe space.

“Over the years, newly arrived asylum seekers have shown incredibly moving work [for the Urban Campfires exhibition], exploring the search for home and peace, and people living under the shadow of Alzheimer’s have crafted work that’s explored how the mind works when thoughts are as ephemeral as butterflies,” Strunks said.

“And of course, a lot of artists create art that’s simply exuberant, particularly the children from local schools and playgroups. The NJC is probably the only court to display art made entirely of cotton buds, sparkles, and ice-cream sticks!” she said.

The 2017 exhibition launching in April is produced by BANH Inc., a community support service for the most disadvantaged in the City of Yarra.

Leading the exhibition is Curator Laila Costa, who is aiming to show artwork that really explores social justice issues.

“I am always on the lookout for edgy, kooky and envelope-pushing art,” she said.

Although the exhibition is going strong, with more than a couple of extraordinary past exhibitions, Costa would like to widen the scope to include more community engagement and experimental projects.

“There are so many possibilities to reach out and collaborate to make creative works that inspire, educate and increase well-being,” she said.

The NJC is Australia’s only community justice centre and is showing that this innovative way of tying community interests closely to a justice system is helping community members in a big way.

“I would like there to be many more Neighbourhood Justice Centres rolled out across the country as it deals with justice in a progressive and innovative manner. The data and statistics prove it works better than the traditional justice system and all sectors of community benefit,” Costa said.

To find out more about the Community Justice Model, head here. The NJC provides a ‘Reflections on Practice’ piece, which, the website says, will “explore the flexibility and transferability of community justice.”

To check out the Urban Campfires exhibition, head to the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood. The current exhibition will run for a further 6 months.

Written by Roxanne Fitzgerald.

Who run the world? Girls

That’s right as the queen herself Beyonce said, girls do run the world.

This year Last Minute Productions and Stayfly Sydney are hosting the movie screening of Girl Power, on February 24 at Grumpy’s Green in Fitzroy, the first documentary about the incredible lives of female graffiti and street artists around the world.

The film has been selected from thousands of applicants to be a part of the 19th SEOUL Women’s Film Festival, happening this year.

Following Czech graffiti artist and writer Sany, who decided in 2009 to capture female emancipation in graffiti on film, Girl Power presents stories from across the world encapsulating the successes and challenges of females who have dedicated their lives to graffiti and street art in a male-dominated community.

Last Minute Productions Music Coordinator Jurnan Thorn said, “Girl Power highlights and profiles women in the art formats of painting steel and street art.”

Miss Thorn connected with Sany when she came to Australia to film parts of Girl Power. In an effort to bring the documentary to Melbourne, Last Minute Productions and Stayfly Sydney stepped in to help.

Girl Power is set to open up the discussion surrounding graffiti being perceived as vandalism and the way graffiti has been portrayed as a male dominated art expression.

Street artist and owner of Juddy Roller, a creative street art and graffiti management company in Fitzroy, Shaun Hossack said, “Females are super important to the industry, but hugely underrepresented.”

When asked about Girl Power, Hossack said, “I think anything that presents woman as equal participants in any industry is going to be positive for everyone, and there’s obviously a movement happening and an awakening within people.”

If you’re all for equal representation, exceptional films and live music, Girl Power will not disappoint. The screening will also include live artists and performers such as Wonqi Rose ft Miss Money Toast and LADY LASH.

Head here to book your tickets for Girl Power.

Written by Grace Evans

The Supper Market at the Abbotsford Convent

If you’re craving music, great food, an escape from the frantic city, and good vibes all at the same time, then I have the place for you!

Set in the beautiful Abbotsford Convent, The Supper Market has returned for 2017 and will be running right through until the end of February.

The historic Abbotsford Convent is home to the market every Friday night from 5 pm to 9.30 pm, where you can experience a magical world full of live music, food stalls, hand-made crafts and much more.

An aroma of sweet chocolate donuts and salty sweet potato chips entice you to the food trucks, taking up prime spots at the market – there is something for all taste buds with cuisines ranging from Ratatouille Burgers through to the tastes of the Himalayas.

One of Melbourne’s most popular food trucks, The Little Mushroom Co. has a permanent park for this year’s Supper Market, tempting visitors with their widely sought after burgers.

The Little Mushroom Co. owner Bryan Mooney said the Abbotsford Convent is a beautiful space for the market and a great environment to sell food.

“Our food is quirky and we take a lot of care developing the food and we can take over a year to make a menu item,” he said.

Alongside great food to indulge in there is also great music to entertain you throughout the night with electronic pop, live bands and African dance music.

The Abbotsford Convent. Photo: Theresa Harrison

Event organiser Jane Goodrich said the event sparked from a Sunday market that was previously held at the venue, and they decided the spot was perfect for a relaxing Friday night market.

“The main asset is the really beautiful location and you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city while being surrounded by the beautiful heritage gardens of the convent,” she said.

As you wonder around the markets there is plenty to see and buy, with handcrafted jewellery and vintage threads making an appearance.

The Supper Market is the place to spend a Friday evening after a hectic week of work. With another three markets to go, enjoy the relaxing twilight markets in one of Melbournes most iconic and scenic spaces.

And best of all, it’s puppy friendly.

For more information about The Supper Market or other events at the Abbotsford Convent click here.

Written by Grace Evans


A night of laughs with a serious message set to hit the City of Yarra

Timed to coincide with the controversial Australia Day holiday, a comedy gala is being held to raise awareness of what the date means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The Reconciliation Comedy Gala will be held at the Malthouse Theatre on 26 January, and will feature a number of comedy greats in the line-up.

Expected to run for around three hours, all of the funds from the show will go towards the City of Yarra’s Stolen Generations Marker Project.

According to Yarra City Council, the Marker Project aims to “honour the struggles of the Stolen Generations as well as acknowledge the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities, clans and groups who seek to heal from the past.” 

Aimed to be completed in November, the project will invite 5 artists to contribute design ideas intended to remind people of the impacts inflicted by past racist government actions on the Indigenous Australian people.

Malthouse Theatre Associate Producer Jason Tamiru said that “the Reconciliation Gala will feature a selection of Australia’s most prominent comedians, and promote recognition of Australia’s Stolen Generation.”

The bill will feature Australian comedy and music greats including MCs Uncle Jack Charles and Judith Lucy, along with Wil Anderson, Tom Ballard, Anne Edmonds, Hannah Gadsby, Tom Gleeson, Shiralee Hood, Kevin Kropinyeri, Bunna Lawrie, Perfect Tripod (Eddie Perfect and Tripod), Dane Simpson, Nelly Thomas, and The Koori Youth Will Shake Spears dance group.

In the comedy business for seven years, Australia’s Number One Female Aboriginal Comedian Shiralee Hood says it’s time to deepen the conversation surrounding Australia Day, and invite others to listen to the struggles experienced by the Stolen Generations.

As we begin to see a growing number of Australians recognising the sadness behind Australia Day, Ms Hood agrees that now is the perfect time to educate. Ms Hood said comedy has helped to establish a platform where people can discuss global and political issues light-heartedly.

“Comedy is a great form of observing the world and then expressing what we see in society,” she said.

Ms Hood has hope that we can all come together and acknowledge those families affected by the Stolen Generations.

“I feel privileged to be able to represent the Indigenous community and have a great platform to do so,” she said.

Ms Hood is looking forward to the gala, and invites everyone to get along to the Malthouse Theatre for a laugh and to listen to the show’s message.

The Reconciliation Comedy Gala will be held at the Malthouse Theatre on January 26 from 2:30 pm.

Check out the Malthouse Theatre website for further details on ticket sales and prices.

Written by Grace Evans

Where to celebrate Halloween in the City of Yarra

If you’ve entered any supermarket, $2 store or Savers in the last two weeks then you would be well aware that Halloween is coming up. And this year it happens to be followed by a Victorian public holiday!

It’s a busy week ahead for Melburnians with the Spring Racing Carnival kicking off this weekend and The Melbourne Cup landing on the first day of November. You might want to take advantage of this occasion to dress like a bridezilla, stay out all night and not feel bad about it the next day.

Halloween started as All Hallows Eve in the Christian faith, the day preceding All Hallows Day, which is dedicated to remembering the dead. But like most things, western culture has found a way to turn it into a holiday of sugary sweets, dress ups and an excuse for a party.

So, if party is what you like to do and you’re not hitting the race track Tuesday, then here are some events in the City of Yarra to get you in the spooky spirit over the coming kind-of-long weekend (thanks a lot, Monday!)

Event: Odyssey

Venue: Glamorama – Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Date: Monday 31 October 9PM – 5AM

Cost: Free befoe 9PM, $15 after – tickets at the door

For the electronic music lovers, Odyssey is promoting itself as the late night venue to host your ‘after party’ or ‘after, after party’ as it aims to kick on to the wee hours of the day of the dead. It will be the third instalment of this ‘space dungeon rave’ with disco, techno, house and everything in between playing by big Melbourne names such as Sleep D, Cale Sexton and 6am at the Garage.

Event: Halloween Undead Party

Venue: The National Hotel – Victoria Street, Richmond

Date: Monday 31 October 10PM – 1AM

Cost: Free admission

The National Hotel invites you to celebrate the end of the world and to ‘stock up on moonshine’. With a free drink on arrival for all dressed in costume and Halloween inspired games to be played throughout the night, this venue is suitable for anyone who likes a good time.

game-asset-call-1296507_960_720Event: Grim Fantango Themed Party

Venue: The Fitzroy Beer Garden – Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Date: Sunday 30 October 12PM – 10PM

Cost:  Free entry

TFBG is launching its new Smokey Jazz & Blues Sunday Session in conjunction with the Day of the Dead for a spooky twist. Free face painting for all who come along to enjoy the soft melodies of ‘The Blues Man’ Rene Sotto, backed by Cheylenne & Roy.

Event: Hallo-weekend

Venue: Bimbo Deluxe – Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Date Friday 28 October – Monday 31 October

Cost: Free admission

Bimbo Deluxe have pulled out all the stops for this long weekend with a massive four-day bender, which they say hasn’t happened since 2005 and won’t happen again for another six years. Join them Friday for ‘Eat Your Greens’, Saturday for the ‘House Party’, and then party all day long, with cheap pizzas and Bloody Marys, at ‘Sundae Shake’. Join renowned DJ Spacey Space for Bimbo’s biggest celebration on Monday!

Event: Asylum

Venue: Precinct Hotel – Swan Street, Richmond

Date: 31 October

Cost: Free admission

One of the busiest venues in Richmond isn’t holding back this public holiday eve. Get along to this event in your spookiest get-up to win prizes for best-dressed. The Red Bull lab bar will be mixing up wicked drink specials for the night, and DJ Jono and band Metrik Live will be providing the killer tunes ‘til the a.m.

Event: Spooktober St Kilda Halloween Festival

Venue: Acland Street, Fitzroy Street, Town Hall and the Foreshore – St. Kilda

Date: 28 October – 31 October

Cost: Free – $35

So, it might not be in the City of Yarra, but this is definitely the biggest family-friendly Halloween celebration in the state. Luna Park will be transforming into Luna Dark all weekend with scary rides and attractions galore! An outdoor cinema will play the Adams Family movie on Halloween night and trick or treating will take over Acland Street and Fitzroy Street with live music, face painting and rides along the way. Check out the whole program here.

Whichever way you spend your long weekend or All Hallows Eve, make sure it’s spooktacular!


By Caitlyn Leggett