Past Projects Archive

Since 1992 Kickstart Arts has been producing arts projects across all art forms in which professional artists work with community members to explore their connection to each other, their place, history as well as personal and collective story.


Our projects also connect people with deeper issues in contemporary thought, culture, politics and society. For example, inviting explorations of the true nature of happiness in regional Tasmanian communities. These conversations bring a deeper dimension to community creativity - inviting particular and specific storytelling through a topic that has profound universal relevance.


Healing Ground: 2019

Remembering the Future

This project engaged local children from New Town Primary School in a conscious exploration of their history, beginning in 1833 and then through research, artmaking and discussion, visiting potential futures.

The provocation questions that informed this project were:

  • How are we equipping our young people for an uncertain future?

  • What values, skills, understandings and knowledge will best equip them to deal with a world facing climate breakdown and pandemics? 

We kept this conversation focused upon the active opportunities to make a positive difference both personally and collectively. 

85 young people visited the former Boys Orphanage and adjacent City Farm and explored the space with the stories of the orphans from the nineteenth century in mind. They experienced what the space might have been like, even lying down on the dormitory floor in rows and imagining how the boys in the 1830’s managed to sleep there. They then engaged in thought experiments and art making at school, seeing ordinary and repurposed domestic objects as though they were artifacts dug up 200 years in the future over the first two terms of 2019.


Professional artists and New Town Primary School staff and volunteers then worked with 25 grade 5 & 6 students to create sculptural objects from post-consumer materials and short personal video works exploring individual and community thriving in the future through research and personal story telling. 


Young people expressed their concerns about the world they are about to inherit. They are dismayed about pollution, waste, inequality, global climate breakdown and how to attain the skills they will need to suit jobs not even invented yet. 


The making of this art was a time for conversation, mutual learning & teaching, listening, seeing objects and relationships differently, imagining a whole series of shifting contexts for consumer items and for the act of consuming itself. 
This resulted in a public exhibition from September 25 – 28th at the former Queens Orphanage for Boys at the Kickstart Arts and a sculpture slam, video projection art and music event. 


Artists: Andy Vagg, Rebecca Stevens, Richard Bladel, Troy Melville and Cary Littleford

Teachers: Mel McCrum and Veronica Marshall 

Community volunteers: Allen Rooney, Steve Lovegrove and Joel Roberts

Production Support Team: Jami Bladel, Kardia Gillie Terry, Joseph Barrows, Priya Vunaki, Richard Coburn, Stephen McEntee and Adam Potito.

Healing Ground 2018

Disturbing Echoes – Forum & Open Day
This element of the Healing Ground project focused upon updating the community on the refurbishment plans for the former Boys Orphanage, as well as using the repair and re-purposing as a lens to invite community discussion, art making and debate around issues of social inequality, Aboriginal sovereignty and the social determinants of health.

The Open Day

The former boys orphanage was open for the day and Kickstart staff were available to conduct tours of the buildings.  We exhibited some information about the buildings past and future, as well as shared some video and visual art with community members.

The Forum

The Forum was part of a significant public conversation about the culture of Hobart, it included speakers on Aboriginal children who were imprisoned in the building, the construction of the building, orphan stories, social inequality, health economics then and now, with short films and information about the repair plans and Creative Living Centre vision. 

It also included the provocation: How has Tasmanian society evolved since 1831?


  • Dr Pete Hay, Forum Chair, Research Fellow, Geography Dept. UTAS 

  • Ms Cheryl Mundy - Healing Ground Artist – great, great granddaughter of Fanny Cochrane Smith – who was imprisoned in the former girls orphanage (now the Kickstart Arts Centre)

  • Mr Andrew Cocker – Committee Member, Friends of the Orphan Schools. 

  • Mr Peter Gaggin – Director, Philp Lighton Architects, Consulting Architect

  • Ms Kym Goodes - CEO TASCOSS 

  • Professor David Adams – Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community, Partnerships & Regional Development), UTAS

  • Ms Jami Bladel – CEO/Artistic Director, Kickstart Arts 


Healing Ground 2017

Site specific artworks in progress, dinner and facilitated discussion

The Healing Ground artists created new artworks led by their curiosity about the personal stories of the thousands of abandoned and stolen children who were once incarcerated in the orphanage buildings and the poverty, rigid class system, social inequality and authoritarian control that led to such great suffering in these buildings. 

We invited the audience to be part of a facilitated conversation in response to viewing the works in progress and the spaces they were presented within. We believe that conversations inspired by art works and their cultural and social contexts are all too rare, they are useful for the artists and are often as important as the artwork itself.   

It was a lively discussion. 


  • Priya Vunaki - Singh - Fruit Rains - drawings

  • Andy Vagg - A Ghost Among the Ghost Gums - spoken word/poetry/performance

  • FJ Horsley - The Hearth – installation, video, furniture

  • Richard Bladel - Behind the Clock – video art installation

  • Troy Melville - Rock of Ages - video and interactive sound installation

  • Jami Bladel - Turning the Story Around – visual art, music, furniture installation

  • Cary Littleford made an artwork, but did not present it due to illness.


MC: Mr Frank Bansel

Catering: Burtakan Ghibirilsalasi, Caroline Amos & Shelley Cusiter

Production Crew: Kardia Gillie-Terry, Amy Brown, Caroline Amos, Kayla Roberts, Kristen Warner, Rea Roberts, Todd Mills, Max Bladel, Richard Coburn, Sam Schofield, Shelley Cusiter and Tomas Thiele


Nathan Maynard Mentorship

Kickstart Arts conducted a mentorship in creative producing with pakana playwright Nathan Maynard in 2015.

During this time, Nathan explored starting his own theatre company, writing for theatre, community focused arts practice, making videos and he wrote early drafts of his play, A Not So Traditional Story, which Kickstart Arts commissioned with Aboriginal Education. It was produced by Terrapin and toured in 2018 and 2019.


Since early October a group of 33 young people and staff members from New Town Primary School have been creating an installation of mechanical cause and effect generators and video art with a group of professional artists.
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You're invited to Opening Night! 

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Free entry. Snacks & refreshments provided.


When: Wednesday 16th December from 5:30 PM. 

Exhibition runs daily until 3pm on Saturday 19th.

Location: The Hidden Theatre, next door to St Johns Church, St Johns Ave, New Town. 

This is a COVID-Safe event. 

"ReGenerate is exploring how to renew our cultural connections to nature through creating mechanical kinetic sculptures and video art.  This show is so unusual – the art works all move, driven by an artist made bicycle through a hub connected by strings. The art works tell young people’s stories of cycles of decay & renewal in a really fascinating way that’s as much about physics as it is about art."  Creative Producer Richard Bladel

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ReGenerate is a mental health promotion project that offers young people a chance to respond creatively to contemporary challenges that are complex & interconnected, like bushfires, pandemics, climate breakdown and rising anxiety. 


Following 2019’s Remembering the Future - In this second year of our partnership with New Town Primary School - we are continuing to explore how we best find ways to equip ourselves for an uncertain future.


Artists have guided young people to explore the ways that creativity, collaboration, compassion, responsibility, inclusiveness and respect for diversity can be effective in regenerating natural systems, ourselves as individuals and social relations more generally.


It’s been an awesome pleasure to work with this project team: Adam Potito, Denise Tanner  & Melissa McCrum from New Town Primary School; science educator Allen Rooney; artists Bec Stevens, Marcus Tatton, Andy Vagg, Stephen McEntee and Joel Roberts; filmmakers Richard Bladel and Troy Melville 


The Story Trees Project


A huge Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria) that grew for 80 + years on the St John’s Park site became dangerous and sadly had to be felled. It had born silent witness to many stories during it’s life.


The tree was gifted to Kickstart Arts, and we commissioned renowned Tasmanian artist Marcus Tatton to create a new artwork responding to the colonial buildings.  Marcus’ Story Trees sculpture is a non-figurative response to the presence of the orphan children of the nineteenth century and the confinement they experienced.