From droughts to floods, mass displacements to pandemics and heatwaves, Refuge was never just a hypothetical.

Refuge drops us in the hot zone of different climate-related disasters. Flood, heat, pandemic and displacement: this six-year project offers us new ways to rally as a community and prepare for climate crisis.

Since 2016, Refuge has brought together people who might not normally collaborate in a crisis – local residents, artists, scientists, Elders and experts from the world of emergency services. Their task is to identify what matters when the unthinkable becomes real: what being prepared means in the face of disaster, how the survival of the individual is inextricably bound up with the survival of community, and what role we can each play.

Refuge promotes new ways to ground equity, access, dignity and hope in our response to catastrophe through a creative approach.

In 2016, we imagined a local flood and transformed the North Melbourne Town Hall into a relief centre for 24 hours.

In 2017, we envisaged the increasing possibility of five consecutive days over 40°C.

In 2018, we examined a pandemic event and what happens when the risk of contagion means you would never bring people together.

In 2019, we examined displacement prompted by climate crisis.

In 2021, we ask what happens when these crises meet.

For all Refuge enquiries or to find out how to get involved, email Sarah.Rowbottam@melbourne.vic.gov.au or call (03) 9322 3720

2021 Refuge Artists
this mob, Harry Lee Shang Lun (Play Reactive), Jen Rae & Claire G. Coleman, Neika Lehman,  Latai Taumoepeau, Keg de Souza, Lorna Hannan & Hannah Morphy-Walsh, Corin Ileto & Diimpa, Cass Lynch

Refuge Talk Series presented in Arts House Virtual Season 2020
From practical survival skills to tips from pandemic and medical experts, this three part series broadcasted live every Thursday 21 May – 4 June, midday AEST takes you beyond the headlines and into the worlds (and living rooms) of those who know what counts most in a time of crisis. For more information click here.

2019 Refuge Artists
Keg de Souza & Claire G. Coleman, Jen Rae & Giant Grass, Seini Taumoepeau & guests, Kate Sulan & Red Cross, Moorina Bonini & Edwina Green, Lorna Hannan, Theo McMahon, Cass Lynch, Laniyuk, Monica Karo, Timmah Ball, Rosie Kalina

Download the Refuge 2019: Displacement guide

2018 Refuge Artists
Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey, Lee Shang Lun, Jen Rae, Kate Sulan, Ellen van Neerven, Lorna Hannan, Michele Lee

2017 Refuge Artists
Asha Bee Abraham, Lorna Hannan, Emily Johnson & Vicki Couzens, Dave Jones, Jen Rae, Latai Taumoepeau

View the Refuge: Heatwave publication
Warning this is (not) a Drill Refuge Catalogue

2016 Refuge Artists
Jen Rae & Dawn Weleski, Latai Taumoepeau, Hannah Donnelley, Kate Sulan, Harry Lee Shang Lun, Lorna Hannan

Project Partners
Supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts and funding and advisory body, Emergency Management Victoria, State Emergency Services, Resilient Melbourne, University of Melbourne, Red Cross Australia, St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre, Creative Recovery Network, The Peter Doherty Centre and The City of Melbourne through Arts House. In 2017 and 2018 Refuge was supported with funding provided by the Australian Government in partnership with the States and Territories under the National Partnership Agreement for National Disaster Resilience and the Victorian Government through the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme (NDRGS). In 2017 Refuge was supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Image by – Bryony Jackson

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Refuge Writers in Residence