WELCOME TO TWO NEW BIG SKIES COLLABORATORS
7 April 2018: We’re proud to welcome two new Big Skies Collaborators to our fold: Wiradjuri fibre artist and Master Weaver Bev Coe and writer/publisher/digital artist David Reiter. Bev and the Wiradjuri weavers from Condobolin’s SistaShed are creating an installation inspired by the Seven Sisters, or Mulayndynang, for Condo’s first SkyFest, and David is developing a creative online project to be set within our 700 Kilometre Array.
BIG SKIES COLLABORATION PRESENTATION AT NACAA IN BALLARAT
Big Skies Collaboration Merrill Findlay presented a paper about Big Skies Collaboration projects to the 2018 National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers in Ballarat over the Easter long weekend. The presentation introduced the 700 Km Array (700KA), the Inland Astro-Trail, Trevor Leaman’s Wiradjuri Astronomy Project, Scott Towney’s Wiradjuri Constellation Art, and her own Skywriters Project and Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project. Merrill also invited convention attendees to contribute to the Skywriters Anthology and threw them a challenge: to extend the 700KA south into Victoria and north into Queensland to make it the 1700 Kilometre Array!
EXCITING NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH NEW ENGLAND WRITERS’ CENTRE
7 December, 2017: Big Skies Collaboration’s Merrill Findlay and Chair of the New England Writers’ Centre (NEWC), Sophie Masson, have signed an MOU to formalise an exciting new partnership between their two groups. The goals of this relationship are “To greatly extend both organisation’s range and networks” and “To offer more opportunities for members of both organisations and enable creative and professional collaborations.” This means that all registered Skywriters will have access to NEWC events and opportunities and that all NEWC members will likewise have access to Big Skies Collaboration events and opportunities. It also means that we’ll have to extend the boundaries of our 700 Kilometre Array region to include the regional city of Armidale, in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, where the NEWC is based.
INLAND ASTRO-TRAIL INC. NOW REGISTERED
10 November 2017: Inland Astro-Trail Inc., which emerged from the Big Skies Collaboration’s Skywriters Project, has now been registered as an incorporated association in New South Wales. The founding committee, as listed below, is currently developing the organisation’s business plan and will soon invite Local Government authorities, educational and research institutions, astronomical societies, professional and amateur astronomers and others within our 700 Kilometre Array region to join IAT Inc.
NEW ORGANISATION ESTABLISHED TO DEVELOP INLAND ASTRO-TRAIL INC1701499
29 October 2017: Our Inland Astro Trail concept, as discussed at our Big Gig in Parkes in July 2017, is now closer to reality following the establishment of a new not-for-profit organisation and the election of a founding committee at a Skywriters Project gathering in Molong on Saturday 28 October 2017. The office bearers of the new group are President, journalist Yvette Aubusson-Foley (Dubbo); Vice-President, astronomer Donna Marie Burton (Coonabarabran); Secretary, journalist Margaret Jakovac (Blayney); Treasurer Nathan Ryan (Molong); and Public Officer, writer Merrill Findlay (Forbes). Other founding members are Peter Bishop (Katoomba), Cosette Douglas (Gilgandra), and Gai Lander (Grenfell). The paperwork for the incorporation of our new organisation has been submitted to the appropriate authorities.
FIRST SKYPOEM PUBLISHED ON OUR WEBSITE
27 September 2017: Our first Skystory, a poem by Parkes Skywriter Sarah (Sal) MacKean entitled Sic Itur Ad Astra, is now published online as a ‘preprint’ on this site. (See Skywritings) Sarah’s poem will soon be joined by other skystories as our online publication process unfolds. For the Skywriters Project this first online publication is something like a telescope’s ‘first light’! Proof that our project ‘works’, and evidence of the literary merit of work produced by creative writers in inland NSW.
WIRADJURI SKYWRITERS PILOT PROJECT NOW UNDERWAY
September 2017: Our Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project with the Wiradjuri Study Centre at Condobolin will be hosting a ‘Yarn-up and Picnic’ for elders and relatives at Seven Sisters Ridge near Yarrabandai on 10 October 2017. This will be an opportunity for elders to pass on their stories about the Wiradjuri Murriyang, or Skyworld, to their younger relatives. This project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund through a grant received in April 2017 and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation.
INLAND ASTRO-TRAIL MEETING @ SIDING SPRING, 30 SEPT 2017
Skywriters and others interested in supporting our Inland Astro-Trail concept are meeting at the Siding Spring StarFest, Coonabarabran, at 1pm on Saturday 30 September near The Orange Information Tent!
We’d love to see you there.
SKYWRITERS CATCH-UP IN DUBBO @ WESTWORDSFEST 15-17 September
Organisers of one of Inland NSW’s major literary events, WestWordsFest hosted by Dubbo’s Outback Writers Centre, 15-17 September 2017, invites all Skywriters to meet up and to read their skystories in Dubbo over the Festival weekend. Download the program here >>
WORK-SHOPPING OUR 2019 ASTRO-THEATRE PRODUCTION
September 2017: a motley cast of creatives led by Big Skies Collaborator David Clarkson spent a week at Bundanon artists retreat, on the Shoalhaven River near Nowra, NSW, to workshop ideas for our 2019 immersive theatre production. A lot more R&D to do … but we’re already very excited about what we can produce by 2019. Our next workshops will be held within our 700 Kilometre Array region at Bathurst, Parkes and Condobolin later in 2017.
SKYWRITERS PROJECT ‘BIG GIG’ PROGRAM
This event brings together Skywriters and First Nations descendants from across our 700 Kilometre Array to explore common interests, and to experience the night sky with regionally based astronomers Trevor Leaman (Orange), Donna Burton (Coonabarabran), Les Dalrymple (Billimari) and Peter Starr (Dubbo). See the full program here >>
WIRADJURI MURRIYANG: EXHIBITION OF WIRADJURI CONSTELLATION ART
July 2017: Scott Towney’s Wiradjuri Constellation Art, as commissioned for the Wiradjuri Astronomy Project, will be exhibited at the Skywriters’ Big Gig in the Conventry Room, Parkes Shire Council, on the weekend of 8-9 July 2017. More >>
Exhibition catalogue and constellation guide [pdf 282KB]: Wiradjuri Murruyang,Scott Towney’s Constellation Art, SkywritersProject2017
COPYRIGHT AGENCY PART-FUNDS OUR WIRADJURI SKYWRITERS PILOT PROJECT
July 2017: We’re thrilled to announce that our Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project, a collaboration with our partner organisation, the Wiradjuri Study Centre, Condobolin, has received $14,000 from the Copyright Agency‘s Cultural Fund. This project will be undertaken with Condo’s Wiradjuri descendants and other partner organisations, including Arts Outwest and Red Room Poetry, in late 2017 and 2018. More soon!
FIRST ‘BIG GIG’ FOR SKYWRITERS TO BE HELD IN PARKES
31 May 2017: We can at last announce that our first Skywriters ‘Big Gig’ will be held in Parkes, in the central reaches of our 700 Kilometre Array, on the weekend of 8/9 July, 2017. It will be co-hosted by Parkes Shire Council, Arts OutWest, and the Big Skies Collaboration, with in-kind supporters. All registered Skywriters and friends are invited. The two venues for this event are the Coventry Room in the Parkes Council building, and The Dish Cafe, at the Parkes Observatory.
Please let us know you’ll be attending on our FB Event.
A program and more information available soon.
SKYWRITERS PROJECT @ BATHURST WRITERS & READERS FESTIVAL
24 May 2017: Writer Merrill Findlay will be speaking about the Skywriters Project at the Bathurst Writers and Readers Festival, at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) on Saturday, 27 May, at 2 pm.
Please join her if you can.
SKYWRITERS PROJECT UPDATE
18 April, 2017: Our Skywriters Project has now established 12 Skywriters Hubs in public libraries within Southeastern Australia’s 700 Kilometre Array (700KA) region, and registered 106 creative writers and aspiring writers ranging in age from late teens ot 90 years. Our Skywriters live in or near three regional cities (Bathust, Orange and Dubbo), at least a dozen country towns (Cowra, Canowindra, Forbes, Grenfell, Condobolin, Parkes, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Warren, Narrabri, Blayney, and Millthorpe), and some 13 townlets, villages and rural localities, including Neville, Quandialla, Bimbi, Lue, Robin Hill, Ravenswood, Nevertire, Bugaldie, Eumunggerie, Tooraweenah, Emu Swamp, Warroo and Gooloogong. This diverse community also includes a few Skywriters who live beyond our 700KA, including Indonesian novelist Fathia Rahmi Syahroni, who will participate in the Project on-line. Our partner organisation, Arts OutWest, published a Skywriters update in their newsletter today.
WIRADJURI MURRIYAN: WIRADJURI SKY WORLD
6-9 April 2017: Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney‘s constellation graphics, as created for Big Skies Collaborator Trevor Leaman’s Wiradjuri Astronomy Project, were exhibited at Cementa17 Contemporary Art Festival, at Kandos, NSW. Scott’s images were projected onto an inflatable dome as part of The Dome Project, an installation by Collaborator Christine McMillan, with the support of our partner organisation Arts OutWest; the University of Western Sydney’s Dr Ain De Horta and Andrew Leahy from the School of Computing Engineering and Maths, and another of our Collaborators, producer Kate Richards, from the Experiential and Immersive Research Lab, Digital Humanities Research Group; Local Lands Services and the Big Skies Collaboration. Trevor Leaman assisted with compositing and astronomical knowledge.
This work was funded by Local Land Services and The Regional Arts Fund, an Australian Government initiative that supports sustainable cultural development in regional, remote and very remote Australia.
SKYWRITERS PHOTO BECOMES ATNF ASTRONOMY PHOTO OF THE DAY
3 March 2017: A snap of astronomer Stuart Ryder, Head of International Telescopes Support, Australian Astronomical Observatory, and John Sarkissian, Operations Scientist at CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory, posing with a Skywriters Project poster at The Dish became CSIRO’s ATNF Daily Astronomy Picture today! Our thanks to whoever was responsible for this unexpected honour!
SKYWRITERS HUBS: NEW ARTICLE FROM ARTS OUTWEST
21 February 2017: Our partner organisation, Arts OutWest, has published a new on-line article about our Skywriters hubs, a dozen of which will be launched in March and April. Read it here >>
RELEASE OF SKYWRITERS POSTER
17 February 2017: A poster by Jo Dicksen, graphic designer with our partner organisation Arts OutWest, is about to be distributed to a dozen Skywriters libraries within our 700 Kilometre Array region. You’ll find a complete list of libraries and launch details here >>
We gratefully acknowledge the in-kind support of ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo, Canberra, where the posters are being printed. Thank you ANU.
CREATURE, STALKER THEATRE’S 2016 PRODUCTION, AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
February 2017: Creature: an adaptation of Dot and the Kangaroo, by Stalker Theatre, the company founded and directed by Big Skies Collaborator David Clarkson, will be performed at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre’s Q Theatre, in Penrith, 12-13 April, and at the Sydney Opera House, 19-23 April. Creature will also tour China later in the year. David is now developing a high-tech performance for the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first step on Earth’s moon with the Creativity & Cognition Studios, University of Technology – Sydney (UTS), as part of our Collaboration.
FIRST ARTICLE ABOUT BIG SKIES COLLABORATION (BSC)
30 January 2017: Our partner organisation, Arts OutWest, just published an online article about BSC. This is the first article about our Collaboration! The first of many, we hope.
WIRADJURI ASTRONOMY PROJECT
23 January 2017: Wiradjuri artist Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney’s constellation graphics have now been installed on Stellarium, the free digital planetarium program which lets you see the night sky from any location on Earth, and at any time in history. Cultural Astronomer Trevor Leaman has developed a Wiradjuri skylore package using Stellarium’s open source software. He advises, however, that the Wiradjuri app is not yet a default setting in Stellarium so must be installed manually. You’ll find instructions for doing this here >>.
Scott Towney’s constellation graphics will be exhibited at the Cementa Festival of Contemporary Art in Kandos, in April 2017. You’ll find a preview of Scott’s constellation art here >> And more on Trevor’s recent research here, or on our BSC Facebook page.
22 January 2017: Our Skywriters Project now involves at least a dozen libraries within the 700 Kilometre Array region in southeastern Australia. Library managers will each host a Skywriters launch in March to give local Skywriters an opportunity to discuss ideas for their own literary projects with Big Skies Collaborator Merrill Findlay. Arts OutWest will run the media campaign to promote these events in consultation with other regional arts organisations; and ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics will print the posters and leaflets as part of their in-kind support for our Collaboration. A series of workshops and special events will follow. Check out the Skywriters Facebook page for more details about these events.
FIRST SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATION
December 2016: Two Big Skies Collaboration initiatives, Trevor Leaman’s Wiradjuri Astronomy Project and Merrill Findlay’s Skywriters Project, have received a total of $24,500 over two years from Regional Arts NSW through our collaborating partner, Arts OutWest. We continue to seek cash and in-kind support to extend our projects.
Page created 30 January 2017. Last updated 7 December, 2017.