Northern Rivers Conservatorium student Svenja Gollasch, Real Art Work's Sunita Bala and Mike Smith, also from Don't DIS my ABILITY, Yarn Day co-organiser Zeb Schulz, conservatorium director Anita Bellman, student Kristian Keogh and musician Mark Bromley.
Northern Rivers Conservatorium student Svenja Gollasch, Real Art Work's Sunita Bala and Mike Smith, also from Don't DIS my ABILITY, Yarn Day co-organiser Zeb Schulz, conservatorium director Anita Bellman, student Kristian Keogh and musician Mark Bromley. Luke Mortimer

Big yarns telling stories of Lismore history

THREE historic Lismore CBD buildings will have their stories told thanks to a new collaboration between Northern Rivers Conservatorium, Lismore Library and RealArtWorks.

Northern Rivers residents have been invited to attend Big Yarn Day, combined with the conservatorium open day, on November 7, to share stories about the buildings at 110 Magellan and 150 Keen Sts.

The buildings currently house the regional library, conservatorium and See Space, formerly known as C-Block, and will be the combined focus of a 2016 project titled The Building Still Lives.

As well as video storytelling booths, Big Yarn Day will include markets, food stalls, a community stage, performances, library activities and the chance to check out what the music school offers.

Anita Bellman, the conservatorium's director, said many locals would likely have a tale or two to tell about the conservatorium and its surrounding buildings.

"When Sunita Bala (from post-disability arts organisation RealArtWorks) told me about their Building Still Lives project, I could see it would fit perfectly with our usual open day," she said.

"We're glad to be part of gathering stories about our building - but the library and C-Block too.

"This site has been in educational use since the late 1800s. It was originally a tent school on the site and then these buildings came about.

"It's been Lismore primary, the high school, part of the TAFE, the university. It's had a long educational history."

RealArtWork's Sunita Bala, manager of See Space, was optimistic Big Yarn Day's historic focus would prove popular.

"We always have the community dropping in saying 'Oh, I used to go to (the former Lismore) high school here' and things like that," she said.

"I think this community project, this grassroots thing, will celebrate the connections people have with these buildings.

"We're all excited to be involved."

RealArtWorks president Zeb Schulz said the Arts NSW-funded The Building Still Lives project would "explore the relationship between buildings and the narratives they hold".

"This is the first stage of the project. There'll be three teams collecting stories and professional media-makers working with emerging media-makers with disability, working with TAFE students and Lismore High School students to form teams collecting these yarns," he said.

"We'll have badges on the day stamped with people's connection to the building, when they attended and that sort of thing. We're hoping that will help create connections with people on the day."

Community video stories, photographs and letters from Big Yarn Day will be collated and contribute to creating light projections in a multimedia performance that will transform the buildings into digital art pieces during a festival in 2016.

Big Yarn Day

  • November 7
  • Corner of Magellan and Keen Sts, Lismore
  • Conservatorium's annual open day combined with The Building Still Lives project
  • Video storytelling booths, Lismore Handmade Markets, Lismore Vintage Markets, food stalls, a community stage, performances, library activities, kids' activities and a chance to check out the conservatorium


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