This Is A River

03. 02. 2016

The River Keeps Flowing

Between July 1 and Septmber 30 2015, 3728 people attended a This Is A River public event – these events involved, exhibitions, performances, screenings and public gatherings with a difference. The residencies employed 25 artists with just over 50% of them being based in regional South Australia. The residencies also utilised a number of other places & spaces for arts & culture related activities, from riverbanks with cliff backdrops to old halls and dilapidated parks – it was a treat to see the imagination used by the artists to repurpose these spaces. One of the residencies even won an award for best display at the Riverland Field Days.


So what occurred?

I saw real and genuine understandings between artists and non-artists, lightbulb moments between artists and communities and a concord between artists and artists, all very important building blocks of community resilience in actual process.

In this hurried and harried world it was a privilege to witness and reflect on all of the residencies pace, it was “slow art” in motion with a lot of care and attention to detail. A lot of the work was gentle and as foreshadowed in the magazine’s introduction “slipped in alongside what is already happening, almost trying not to cause disruption or attention and instead working deeply in tandem with people.”

river rites field day one

None of this could have happened without the strong guiding hands of the Cultural Development Officers, Rebecca Farrant, Tess Minett and Di Gordon who in their own manner and way were on the ground ensuring the artists and communities’ connections were resourced and serviced with attention. They contributed above and beyond the call of duty.

Proud Winnie

Some of the ideas brought to the public outcomes have the capacity to be re-presented in new places, or be developed into new modes for the same communities. Now that the artists have introduced themselves to the communities and vice versa it is both of their responsibilities to decide what to do next. Country Arts SA will be waiting and looking forward to seeing what happens next.


Matthew Bennett

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July to September 2015


Artists in Residence with Community Participation



Raukkan, Wellington, Murray Bridge, Mannum to Morgan, Waikerie, Berri, Renmark

Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.