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A Beacon

St Johns as a Creative Living P(Ark) is envisioned as providing a beacon for expanding what is possible. The ideas and sensibilities that are developed and practiced there – for example through Kickstart Arts’ initiatives such as the Urban Food Project, Creative Exchange, The Freedom Project (webpage under construction), ReGenerate, The Happiness Project and The Golden Room Program (webpage under construction), can be replicated in other places and ideas can be built on and shared through a statewide network including existing infrastructure such as local governments, neighbourhood houses, arts councils, education and health care settings, but also through establishing other beacons that serve as incubators for creative social initiatives and action research.

There is NO BETTER WAY to connect and socially engage people than through arts and cultural engagement.

Projects that address social regeneration from different angles:

The Golden Room

Activities for mental health and wellbeing offered in partnership with the Hobart Meditation Centre, yoga teachers, philosophy teachers and mental health professionals, where people can nourish their mind, body and spirit, learning practical methods for recovering from trauma, heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block compassion and resilience.

Photo credit: Richard Coburn

Urban Food Project

Being developed in partnership with New Town High and the Hobart partner schools. People will be able to get their hands in the dirt, which of itself has been proven to be good for mental health. Digging in the dirt really does lift your spirits. The digging stirs up microbes in the soil. Inhaling these microbes can stimulate serotonin production, which can make you feel relaxed and happier. Researchers from the University of Colorado identified an anti-inflammatory fat in a soil-dwelling bacterium, called Mycobacterium vaccae, that may have the ability to ward off stress and anxiety.

The theory is that as humans moved away from agricultural or hunter-gatherer life into cities, we lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation. Not being in contact with the soil puts us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders (Lowry, 2017).

Learning to grow food in our own backyards helps to counter the fear of hunger and food insecurity in an uncertain time. It also builds community, neighbours get together to share produce and gardening which is a bonding experience, breaking down loneliness and isolation. And reducing food miles reduces carbon emissions.

These projects support the community to gain skills that help us feel less uncomfortable with uncertainty. They will help us be more empowered to meet basic needs – such as where to get food and how to feel more emotionally secure.

Photo credits: Jami Bladel


Involved young people dreaming up creative and proactive ways to work towards healing the damage done to our planetary ecosystems and finding alternative ways of organising socially in the face of a failing economic system.

Photo credit: Karen Brown

Fear of an uncertain future and loss of connection to land and community, even before COVID-19, has been having a very real and negative effect on young and indigenous people.

In a 2016 population health survey, high and very high levels of psychological or mental distress, associated with anxiety and depression, were found amongst Tasmanians. 13.7 per cent of all Tasmanians reported very high or high levels of psychological distress. High levels of psychological distress had increased across all age groups, with the most high/very high levels of psychological distress being seen in young people 18-24 years (22.4 per cent) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (22.8 per cent).

This kind of result is damming of our system and it simply isn’t ok to carry on with business as usual in the face of such suffering.

Photo credit: Richard bladel

The Freedom Project

Is a unique partnership between two very different organisations; Kickstart Arts and The Department of Justice through Community Corrections and the Court Mandated Diversion system.

The evidence shows that using a trauma informed framework is vitally important for recovery from addiction. Drug abuse is known to be 100% correlated with the experience of trauma, often in childhood, and this may affect brain development. Research from the fields of neuroscience and psychology indicates that non-verbal approaches such as art making are key to helping a trauma survivor fully integrate their experience into a biographical narrative that allows it to be part of the past rather than continually living in their present. The creative work can help people to heal, to create positive social relations, to increase their confidence and to reduce their levels of anxiety and thereby assist them to overcome addictive behaviour


A partnership between Kickstart Arts and Anglicare Centre for Social Research and Women’s Health Tas. The project involves working with a cohort of women with lived experiences of having their children forcibly removed, and eventually returned. Together a team will undertake a prolonged collaborative process to write and eventually produce a new work of live theatre which communicates the stories of a group of women who have had their children taken away - and in some cases returned. Mothered will be a vehicle for raising awareness of what this group of women and children experience, with the aim of achieving greater understanding and compassion. The play will focus on these women’s quest to become the mothers they want to be - and in most cases never had themselves. It will raise awareness of ways in which the system is dehumanising for women who have their children forcibly removed and what makes it incredibly difficult to get their children back. We will ask: “How can this be changed for future generations of mothers and children?”


Transcendence is the act of rising above something to a superior state. Transcendence comes from the Latin prefix trans, meaning "beyond," and the word scandare, meaning "to climb". When you achieve transcendence, you have gone beyond ordinary limitations.

Kickstart Arts will partner with four Hobart government schools - New Town High School (boys), New Town Primary School (co-ed), Ogilvie High School (girls) and Elizabeth College to make a full scale outdoor theatre production that utilises verse (rap), electronic music (beats), live music, projection art, movement and narrative, to explore a story that is both 200 years old and current. Children removed from their family and community. Children hoping and dreaming for a better future.

We will look at the values of a colonial regime in an industrial era, where the church was all powerful, slavery was legal and children as young as seven were taken from the streets of London and sentenced through the penal system to live in exile on Van Diemen’s Land - the other side of the world - far from the 'mother country' and any sense of mother at all.

We will examine the echoes of an era that ripple into contemporary Tasmania and the experiences of children living in or close to New Town today. Where do they get hope from? In a time of climate breakdown, pandemic, riots in the street, bushfires, unemployment, recession - how do they dream of a better future? Transcendence will encourage the young participant artists to find their visions of hope, their inner knowing of the world they want to live in and give them the chance to write their vision large and share it with audiences.

Good mental health relies on optimism and being able to vision a positive future for oneself and community.

Making this new work will challenge and inspire a group of children and young people between 6 - 20 years, to vision the world they want to live in and speak it, sing it, dance it, paint it, write it and project it large, using an iconic colonial heritage building site as the setting - the Kings/Queens Orphanage built in 1831 by Governor Arthur.

The show will take the form of a Hip H-Opera - the first of its kind in Australia.

Creative Exchange

Communities of learners and facilitators share cultural skills and knowledge in an ever changing smorgasboard of workshops and lifelong learning experiences.

Photo:credit: Christian Florence

Community Venues

The Kickstart Arts Creative Living Park in New Town is home to a number of fantastic venues that are open for hire to individuals and groups at competitive and subsidised rates.

Photo credit: Richard Coburn

Our venues support a wide range of activities; from meetings and conferences to rehearsals, workshops, parties and much more. We offer technical support and equipment, and help facilitate cultural events for community groups. To make the venues as inclusive as possible we provide substantial discounts and sponsorship to people according to their capacity to pay. This is part of our long term strategy to support diverse communities towards greater self-determination.

The pakana Studio

Three pakana elders are providing cultural leadership, establishing a pakana run studio focussed on art for change, healing and cultural knowledge and practice.

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