New website tracing flows with Geography Artist in Residence Museum Incognita

Artists Katie West and Fayen d'Evie share stories and learnings from their residency on Yorta Yorta and Taungurung country.

In 2018, a new artist-in-residence programme was launched by the University of Melbourne Regional Arts Collaboration (RAC) in partnership with the Shepparton Art Museum, that aimed to link artistic practice with university research connected to the themes of nature, environment and place. This is an initiative of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI); the School of Geography Artist in Residence Program; the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Dookie Campus; and the Ian Potter Museum.

The Geography Artist in Residence (AiRG) Program is an innovative initiative of the School of Geography in association with the Ian Potter Museum. The AiRG works with researchers to rethink ways of exploring and expressing the geographical complexities inherent in the social and environmental challenges of the present and the future. Recognising that the arts have long played a major role in interrogating human society and its relationship with the natural world, the program supports practising visual artists in critical engagement with contemporary geographical concerns.

Katie West and Fayen d’Evie were the inaugural RAC artists-in-residence and the second Geography Artist in Residence. Their Museum Incognita project explores what a decolonised museum could be, one that proceeds from custodial ethics, and invites embodied readings of complex histories. For the Regional Arts Collaboration, Katie and Fayen walked water flows, as a method of listening to stories of care and disturbance across Yorta Yorta and Taungurung country.

Their learnings as they untangled complex histories of possession, dispossession, degradation and restoration, and traces of conversations and performative activations that occurred, are shared through an evolving stream of fragmented memories and reflections. The stream will shift its course over time, as the artists iteratively revisit, and begin to map the interconnectedness of flows of water and story across country.

View the collection

In addition to their collected reflections, the artists recommend the following sites to learn more about the people and places traversed in this residency:

The University of Melbourne acknowledges:
This project took place on the land of the Traditional Owners of the Wurundjeri peoples, and in Shepparton, the land of the Yorta Yorta peoples. We acknowledge the hospitality of traditional owners on their land where sovereignty was never ceded and all those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in the Shepparton region. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.  The project was funded by the University of Melbourne through grants from Chancellery Engagement (2018), the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and the School of Geography Artist in Residence Program.

We also acknowledge the invaluable support provided by the Ian Potter Museum of Art and the Faculty of Veterinary and Agriculture Sciences, particularly the staff based at the Dookie campus. This project would not have been possible without the project’s major partner, Shepparton Art Museum, who opened their doors to the Residency.

People standing and talking in rocky bush

A tableau of listening bodies, after walking from the summit of Mount Major to a natural spring. Photograph by Darren Hocking.

tall thin grasses against a blue sky

Seeding weaving grasses, a year after a collective planting event in Violet Town.
Photograph by Serana Hunt-Hughes, on whose land the grasses were planted.

collage of wool of different shades of brown, with distinct white strands A still from a film-in-progress, which is being composed by exploring weaving as an editing methodology, weaving documentary images from a day spent washing, drying, carding, and felting wool, together with community from Dookie and across the Goulburn Valley. 
Film by Katie West and Fayen d’Evie, weaving photographs by Serana Hunt-Hughes.