Western Sydney is “a frontier society . . . It tells us the way Australia is going . . . in western Sydney they’re working out the multicultural project day by day, in a way most Australians are not called upon to do,” says social researcher Hugh Mackay.[i]
Hello, my name is Katherine Knight. For more than 40 years, I have been immersed in supporting and promoting arts and cultural development in western Sydney — first as an occupational therapist and local community activist in the Parramatta area, then as executive director of Artswest Foundation Ltd and editor of the monthly publication Artswest. Later I graduated master of arts in history, with distinction, from University of Western Sydney and in 2002 began research and writing Passion Purpose Meaning – Arts Activism in Western Sydney, published by Halstead Press in March 2013.
The media love to give us the down side of this frontier story, but I have always known there is an amazing upside. There are three phases from 1788 to the present, discussed in my book. By “activists” I mean passionate individuals who by their vision and commitment create opportunities for many others to develop their artistic endeavours and intercultural understandings. My emphasis is on the period from the early 1970s when all levels of government began to be involved in arts and cultural development.
This blog aims to provide continuing updates on arts activism in the region. Critical to understanding the context is the region’s huge sprawl – Auburn to Katoomba, Wollondilly to Hawkesbury– roughly 80kms east west and 100kms north south. It comprises 14 local government areas, including Blue Mountains, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Penrith and Parramatta, and a population of approximately two million people. Distance and isolation are constants for residents.
I hope you’ll respond by following the blog, or through the Leave a Reply box (below), message me through Facebook Passion Purpose Meaning – Arts Activism in Western Sydney or send comments and information to Katherine Knight, PO Box 144, Oatlands NSW 2117. I welcome invitations to talk with your group about the book and the blog, and about your own work. Many thanks.
[i] “The Other Auburn”, by Kathy Marks, Sydney Morning Herald, 31/7/2013, p.12.