What's On

Portage: Shelter2Camp

Jen Rae

Presented in Season 1 2021

Commissioned by Arts House for Refuge 2021

Wed 21 April: 10am – 3pm

Duration: 5 hours (lunch provided)

Thu 22 & Fri 23 April: 10am – 3pm

Duration: 5 hours (lunch provided)

Sat 24 April: 10am / 1pm

Duration: 2 hours

North Melbourne Town Hall

Children 5 years + must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

For Blaktix – email Kalyani.Mumtaz


This workshop involves handling plant materials.

No strobe, low sound, no sudden loud noises and occasional hand drilling.


disability access symbol wheelchair black disability access symbol signing black

Wheelchair accessible

This experience is hands-on and involves a range of activities for various abilities.

Auslan interpreters and language translation services available on request – email Samira Farah before Monday 12 April to book.

What could a Melbourne-centric disaster shelter look like?

As part of her multi-year Portage project, Jen Rae and First Nations master weavers Vicki Couzens, Vicki Kinai, Bronwyn Razem and Muhubo Sulieman invite participants to learn the skills of hand-building, knot-tying, binding and grass weaving to come up with imaginative and practical shelter-making solutions in the climate emergency.

Portage is the act of carrying a vessel over land between navigable waters. Each element of Rae’s multi-platform Portage series explores the ways in which communication, community and care are central to the notion of survival.

“Disasters are a terrible time to learn new skills – is the premise of Portage, a multiplatform speculative futures project in four parts, focusing on collaborative co-building, generative knowledge-sharing and social cohesion in the context of climate change related displacement. What are the skills and knowledges at the thresholds of being lost or are often overlooked and undervalued, that we may need in the years ahead? How might we put differences aside to collectively adapt and prepare?” – Jen Rae, 2021.



About Jen Rae

Dr Jen Rae is a Narrm (Melbourne)-based artist-researcher of Canadian Red River Métis-Scottish descent from Treaty 6 Territory. Her 16-year practice-led research expertise is centred around cultural responses to the climate emergency, specifically the role of artists and discourses around food justice, disaster preparedness and speculative futures.

Artistic Credits

PORTAGE Lead artist - Jen Rae; Producer - Naomi Velaphi; Master weavers in collaboration - Vicki Kinai, Vicki Couzens, Bronwyn Razem and Muhubo Sulieman; Production Manager - Dans Maree Sheehan; Co-build technical assistant - Oliver Strano; Shelter2Camp Videographer: - Sam Mcgilp; Portage Videographer- Martin Potter

Supported by – the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and supported by The Venny; North Melbourne Language and Learning; Kensington Neighbourhood House; Museums Victoria; and the City of Melbourne through the Park Rangers – Parks, Property and Waterway. Arts House is a key program of the City of Melbourne, and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Image – by Anu Kumar.