What's On

Refuge 2017: Heatwave

Emergency Relief Centre

Presented in Season 2 2017

Presented by Arts House

Refuge Emergency Relief Centre
12 noon–10pm, Sat 11 Nov
FREE. No bookings required. All ages.

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

An audio described tour of Refuge will take place from 3pm – 5pm.  Listen here for more information and contact Will at Description Victoria to make a booking.

Auslan interpreters will be on site.  Please contact Arts House regarding specific access needs.

Warning this is (not) a Drill Refuge Catalogue:
View here

Refuge 2017 Heatwave University of Melbourne Evaluation Report:
View here

Join us and take Refuge as we transform Arts House – a City of Melbourne designated Emergency Relief Centre – into a place of safety in response to a heatwave.

The Bureau of Meteorology predict that by 2070 the number of days over 35 degrees in Melbourne will more than double from an average of eight a year, to 17. How can we build resilience, connect and respond in inclusive, ethical and humane ways?

During Refuge, artists, emergency services and you – our community – will come together to start conversations, dream up ideas and forge possible futures, when we rehearse what an Emergency Centre could look like.  Experience artistic interventions, meet with organisations including Red Cross Australia and the Victorian State Emergency Service (VICSES) and be a part of experimental sessions, performances and collaborations.

Refuge explores the role of artists and cultural institutions in times of climate catastrophe. Each year until 2020, we’re bringing together emergency management, artists, the community and local, regional and international partners, to prepare Arts House as an Emergency Relief Centre, in an imagined climate disaster.

Each of the Refuge artists explores a particular element within the Emergency Relief Centre – sleep, communications, light and warmth, food, well-being or community. Here’s some of what you’ll experience throughout the day and night…


Presented by Arts House

Refuge Emergency Relief Centre
12 noon–10pm, Sat 11 Nov
FREE. No bookings required. All ages.

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Asha Bee Abraham
Many of those most vulnerable to extreme heat haven’t made it to our Refuge. Are they coping?  You are invited to pick up the phone and make contact.  Contact invites you to connect with the homeless, with the elderly, with the recently arrived, with those who often struggle during a heat wave. In this instance, the weather isn’t small talk.

Lorna Hannan
Crow’s Corner
Come and chat about challenges we face and how to make change! Named for North Melbourne activist, humanitarian and environmentalist Ruth Crow AM (1916–99), Crow’s Corner is conversation-as-action, over a cup of specially blended Ruth Crow tea.

Emily Johnson & Vicki Couzens
Redreaming our being through healing, rest and sleep – this is an encouragement to redream ourselves into a future, and from catastrophe into health. Join the overnight component of Refuge with artists Vicki Couzens and Emily Johnson to come together in a space where the anthropocentric experience of climate change is decentred; and where animals, plants, multiplicities of knowledge are heard, shared and viscerally experienced.

Dave Jones
In a tactile exploration of an extreme-heat scenario, a team of young collaborators construct a room-sized model apartment block and subject it to a halogen heatwave. As the space heats up, how will residents respond?

These projects will sit alongside a range of workshops, information sessions and emergency preparedness activities run by Red Cross Australia, Victorian State Emergency Service (VICSES) and other emergency services and community partners. Drop in on Saturday 11 November to take part.


Jen Rae
Future Proof by Fair Share Fare
Food is labour.  Food is knowledge. Food is technology.  Food is energy.  Take what you need, enjoy and share with others. Come back for more, but waste not.  Building on survival skills of food foraging, harvesting, preparing and preserving, Future Proof includes DIY workshops, demonstrations and exercises to boost collective know-how for crisis scenarios.

Latai Taumoepeau
HG57  – Urban Heat Island
In the Tongan language, maāma means light and māfana means warmth. These concepts are the basis for HG57, a participatory performance that generates expanded ideas of inner warmth, drawing from ordinary daily fitness rituals.

Punctum Inc.
Public Cooling Pools
The Public Cooling pools are a small cluster of individual cooling pools which use evaporative cooling to help keep things cool on the hottest of days.  A Cooling Pool Attendant awaits and guides you through the steps to your cooling pool. Shared knowledge on beating the heat gets a cool reward.

Presented by YIRRAMBOI Festival

Elders Always Come First

The Elder’s Lounge is guided by Aboriginal values encouraging the sharing of knowledge, inter-generational exchange and Respect for Elders and Seniors in our daily lives and particularly in times of crisis. As part of Refuge, we ensure the safety and comfort of all Elders and Senior members from all walks of life and from all cultures.

Elders in our community are increasingly being threatened by industrial production and the circumstances of climate change, whether it be a heat wave, flood or a harsh winter. The Elder’s Lounge honours the special role Senior members of our communities play in guiding and guarding our respective cultures and offers all Elders a sacred space for respite, conversation, information and nourishment.


Supported by – Refuge is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; The Victorian Government through Creative Victoria; and the University of Melbourne.

Refuge supporting partners are Emergency Management Victoria, Red Cross Australia, SES Footscray Division, The Huddle at The North Melbourne Football Club, the University of Melbourne’s Research Unit in Public Cultures, Resilient Melbourne, ACTNatimuk, Nati Frinj Biennale, Creative Recovery Network and Horsham Rural City Council.

Participating artists and friends include:  Hannah Donnelley, Lee Shang Lun, Greg Pritchard, Jillian Pearce, Kate Sulan and Dawn Weleski.
Image by – shutterstock.com