Students take part in virtual artist-in-residence program

Published on 12 February 2021


PICTURED: The zine which has been created as part of the project. 

School students from throughout Central Queensland are taking part a virtual artist in residence program, which will see them contribute to a fashion and craft-focused artwork to be unveiled at the opening of Rockhampton Museum of Art in late 2021.

The project involves Brisbane-based design group, The Stitchery Collective. Collective member and expat Central Queenslander Madeline Taylor will lead the project, participating, along with a collaborating team of artists and arts workers, via a zine, virtual workshops and zoom sessions with schools.

The ‘virtual’ artist in residence project came about because of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous schools are still unable to facilitate excursions due to restrictions, and Rockhampton Museum of Art has received a range of requests from schools for online resources and hands-on creative development opportunities.

Primary, secondary, public and private schools from throughout the Central Queensland area are involved.

Rockhampton Regional Council Community Services Spokesperson Cr Drew Wickerson said that the project encourages students of all ages to better understand the power of creativity and imagination.

“Being involved in projects like this has lifelong positive impacts. This will not only be a positive memory for these students school years but it will also build capacity in areas of observational skills and written and oral communication skills through thoughtful discussions lead by arts professionals,” he said.

“Being digitally delivered, this project also provides direct access to arts programs for those that may not be able to take part in face to face activities such as those who may live rurally or be impacted by social isolation,” he said.

Madeline Taylor said that The Stitchery Collective’s collaborative practice functions outside the traditional modes of fashion design, production and display, and focuses strongly on participation, inclusivity and accessibility.

“We share a common feeling that the culture of fashion can be joyous, meaningful and beautiful. We want young people to explore and connect with what they wear, as fashion is deeply personal and uniquely connected to time, place and emotions. The Stitchery Collective invite you to feel and experience fashion, not just look at it and buy it,” she said.

“The Stitchery Collective predominantly work in the medium of fashion and textiles. This not only allows the community contributions to be easily woven together (sometimes literally!), but usually means participants learn tangible new skills and experience the sense of accomplishment that comes from this.

“With the advent of COVID19, the need for these aspects of our creative practice has become vitally apparent. We have created some prompts that encourages young people to capture their impressions of the past 12 months, and think about their future.

“Once all of the student contributions are gathered, they will be collated and shaped into a mammoth collaborative work. Throughout 2021 we will progressively share the creative development via social media, so the dialog with students can continue. Where the work goes is up to the contributors. We can’t wait to see what they come back with!" she said.

Helen Lomas, Head of Arts at North Rockhampton High School, one of the schools taking part in the project, said:

“The Stitchery Collective booklets have been sent out to our visual art students this week. This is an extension for those students interest in contributing to the artist in residence project. The visual art tasks have been received enthusiastically by our senior visual art students, without students in year 11 particularly interest and keen to take part.”

More information:

The Stitchery Collective project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Rockhampton Museum of Art is funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and through the Building Our Regions program; and Rockhampton Regional Council.