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Hidden stories: secret tales discovered through digital storytelling

“Hidden: A Rookwood Sculpture walk” has been an artistic event that has spectacularly progressed over the last four years since its infancy in 2009. Budding young artists gather together every year and showcase their artwork- inspired from the one of the most unexpected places: the cemetery.

Hidden StoriesThe Rookwood cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the southern hemisphere and is the ideal place for reflection, thought and remembrance as it stirs themes such as death, loss, love and memories. Due to its rich multicultural history, this cemetery has served as an inspiration to many artists and every year, the ‘Hidden, A Rookwood Sculpture walk’ unveils their various responses upon visiting the cemetery.  Over the past four years, this event has aimed to change the public’s perception of the cemetery with this new refreshing form of ‘community engagement’.

The Groundswell project is a not-for-profit organisations that exists to develop innovative arts and health based programs that create social change and new knowledge about the experience of illness, death, dying and bereavement in Australia. This year GroundSwell collaborated with CuriousWorks to develop ‘Hidden Stories’ a program aimed at enabling younger people involved in the public programs at “Hidden: A Rookwood Sculpture Walk”. “The Hidden Stories project was for 14-18 year olds, inviting [them] to ‘lift the lid’ on the Stories at Rookwood Cemetery” says Kerrie Noonan from Groundswell Project. “Last year we did a visual arts project; this year filmmaking. We are hoping to continue the work; it was a fabulous experience for everyone involved.” 

Seven young aspiring film makers were given the opportunity to make their own films under the “Hidden Stories” umbrella. Each ‘director’ was given some time with the flip cameras, acquired through the generous donations made by Cisco via Connecting Up’s Donortec Program. The cameras were used to make the short films. Seven stories were made in total and presented at the closing event. 

One of the stories was a documentary of the ex-caretaker at Rookwood, where he recounted true stories from memory about some of the residents of the cemetery; most notably, Beatrice “Bee” Miles.  Have a look:

Another took a more amusing approach, where the writers created their own (rather humorous) versions how some of the residents passed away from “The Widow’s” point of view. Check it out:

The cemetery seems to be very much alive with hidden stories. 

For more hidden information, visit The Groundswell Project