Living Pavilion transforms University landscape

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The Living Pavilion will be held at the University of Melbourne between 1 May and 17 May.

The Living Pavilion, a 17-day event that celebrates Indigenous knowledge, ecological science and sustainable design, opens at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, today.

Sixty free public events will be held between 1-17 May including artworks, performances and presentations that celebrate Melbourne’s natural environment.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the Living Pavilion is a major initiative in the University’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

“Since I’ve been Vice-Chancellor here, I’ve come to appreciate the unique importance of this city, this campus and the relationship it has to Indigenous people,” Professor Maskell said.

“I’m very pleased to see the future site for Murrup Barak - the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development - temporarily transformed into a unique event space that gives everyone an opportunity to experience and celebrate many aspects of Indigenous culture.”

The centrepiece of the Living Pavilion will be an installation made up of 40 000 Kulin Nation plants that will surround a stencilled, re-imagined Bouverie Creek by Aboriginal artist Dixon Patten.

Research Fellow at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub and Associate Producer of the Living Pavilion Zena Cumpston said the plants have been cultivated by Aboriginal communities through careful custodianship over thousands of generations.

“The plants are a portal through which Aboriginal knowledge systems, histories and culture may be celebrated and better understood,” Ms Cumpston said.

“I hope the work we have done helps a wide audience to understand that all land in Australia is Aboriginal land, whether urban or remote, and that Aboriginal culture and people are living, strong, dynamic and intrinsically connected to, and embedded in place.”

The Living Pavilion was inspired by a research project led by Dr Tanja Beer, from the University’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

Dr Beer said community-created spaces can help bridge gaps and build social cohesion, as a foundation for solving climate change, social inequity, food scarcity and biodiversity loss.

“Projects like the Living Pavilion highlight humans as an inseparable part of ecosystems,” Dr Beer said. “Our approach to sustainability is place-based, community-orientated and interdisciplinary, bringing art and science together to demonstrate pathways to a thriving future.”

The Living Pavilion’s full program of free public events can be viewed here. To register for a specific event please click here. The Living Pavilion is an official Hub of CLIMARTE’s ART=CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019 festival.