Big Skies Collaboration brings together arts practitioners, astronomers and local communities to creatively explore and celebrate people’s relationships with the cosmos and catalyze new cultural, social, educational and economic opportunities in southeastern Australia’s rural and remote Inland.
Our wish is that the Big Skies Collaboration’s creative interventions will bring lasting benefits to the communities involved, and perhaps even transform people’s lives. Because such is the creative power of the arts and sciences.
NEW Our third CONDO SKYFEST: MIIMA WARRABINYA (Seeking the stars) hosted by Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation, with support from Lachlan Shire Council, Arts OutWest and other partners, will be held at the Wiradjuri Study Centre, in the little Inland town of Condobolin, on the first weekend of September 2022. The program includes a Gala Dinner on Friday 2 September featuring food by Indigenous chef Gerald Power; a Saturday celebration of Wiradjuri heritage, with music, dance, arts and crafts, and stargazing, plus the inaugural Miima-gu Ngaahna Regenerative Futures Expo; and a Touch Football Knockout, Community Fishing Comp., and Cultural Tours on Sunday 4 September. Bookings essential to ensure that this is a Covid Safe event. More >>
April 2022: BSC’s Dr Merrill Findlay presented the final talk at NACAA 2022 hosted online by the Astronomical Society of Victoria in April. She included a progress report on several Big Skies Collaboration projects, including our two recent anthologies, Condo SkyFest Miima Warrabinya, and the Inland Astro-Tour. She also invited Congress participants to be part of these projects. You can see her talk on Youtube.
22 January 2022– INLAND ASTRO TOUR: new draft interactive map of our proposed (and expanded) Inland Astro-Tour routes is now available here >>
Our two anthologies, Dark Sky Dreamings: an Inland Skywriters Anthology and Outer Space Inner Minds, published by Interactive Publications, were re-launched by Dubbo Regional Council’s Mayor, Clr Stephen Lawrence, as part of the Dubbo Fringe Festival in 2021. Press release here >>
Totality along the Inland Astro-Trail: the 2028 Eclipse. Read Stuart Pearson’s article, The Sky’s the Limit With Astro-Tourism (Western Advocate 2 January 2020), on what the 2028 eclipse could mean for inland communities >>
3 April 2019: Read novelist and Big Skies Collaborator Tracy Sorensen‘s long-form essay, Staring At The Sun, about her visits to the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON) observatories at Carnarvon, Western Australia, and Narrabri, New South Wales. Tracy, a non-scientist, reflects on her efforts to ‘get’ the science of solar seismology in a way that will make you smile, perhaps even laugh!
Birmingham, UK, May 2019: “Australian novelist writes about life at University of Birmingham’s solar observatories,” the headline reads.
The article continues: “Two of the University of Birmingham’s most remote solar observatories are featured in a long-form essay, Staring At The Sun, by Australian novelist Tracy Sorensen, published on the Big Skies Collaboration blog.” Says Steven Hale, BiSON Instrumentation Engineer at the University of Birmingham, “Tracy has done an amazing job of capturing the atmosphere at Carnarvon and Narrabri and the beauty of the clear inland skies. I hope her essay inspires a sense of wonder in readers and encourages more people to take an astro-tourism holiday in south-eastern Australia.” Read more here >>
So have you gazed at our big dark unpolluted inland sky in wonder and awe as we have? Have you asked the big questions the stars, planets and other celestial bodies provoke? Do you have compelling stories to recount about your own or other people’s relationships with the cosmos? Do you want to share them? Yes? Then please tell us and become part of our Collaboration too.
Australia’s First Peoples began observing the sky from our region at least 65,000 years ago. Within the last few hundred years people from all over the world have settled the Inland and marveled at our Southern Sky through the lenses of their own cosmologies: ‘Western’, Chinese, Arab, Persian, Indian, Pacific Islander, for example.
Professional astrophysicists and astronomers are now exploring this same sky in new ways, while amateur astronomers are observing celestial phenomena with their own telescopes or their naked eyes from hundreds of backyards, footpaths, farms and park lands throughout the Inland.
Big Skies Collaborators are working with these communities to creatively interpret some of their star stories through music, song, dance, physical theatre, the visual arts, creative writing, and/or new digital media. Expect to be excited, inspired, even provoked by the outcomes.
Site history: created in January 2016 by Big Skies Collaborator Merrill Findlay. Static front page added 28 June 2016. Page last updated 2 May, 2022.