What's On

Talking In the Time of Refuge

Presented in Season 1 2022

Presented by Arts House

Sat 19 March, 2022


This event will commence with a Welcome to Country.

This event will be audio recorded with the recording to be made available via this page after the event. 


This is a seated event.

If you would like this event Auslan Interpreted please contact ArtsHouse.Ticketing@melbourne.vic.gov.au by Wed 16 Mar. 

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

Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here

Wheelchair Accessible
Auslan Interpreting
Quiet Space Available
Assistance Animal

We came prepared: after six years of Refuge, join us for a free afternoon of conversations, and readings that will reflect on the important discoveries this long-term project has unearthed.

Join us for a free afternoon of conversation, readings and other treats, held one year after the final Refuge program came to a close. You’ll hear from Elders, artists, emergency services and researchers as they think through the insights gathered over the last six years’ work.

Refuge has been one of Arts House’s most significant undertakings – a multi-year project that brought together a range of people to explore how collaboration and preparedness can offer ways of working together through crises.

From hypothetical floods and heatwaves to the lived effects of a climate in chaos, from rehearsed pandemics to the real deal, Refuge taught us that going it alone isn’t an option. We know that disasters are profoundly discriminatory. As we navigate the next stage of COVID-19 recovery, how do we keep community preparedness, and the role of creativity, at the forefront?

In the Time of Refuge is the culmination of more than half a decade of conversation and exchange, gathering a collection of essays and reflections by those who took part in this ambitious project. It is an invitation to view community preparedness for disaster through a philosophical, artistic, cultural and social lens.

Over six years, Refuge came to be driven by five principles: honouring First Nations knowledge, listening to the voices of those most impacted, collaboration across sectors, the importance of creative approaches to disaster communication and building community capacity. 

This event will unpack these principals from arts, emergency, First Nations and science perspectives, reflecting on key discoveries, the important questions we need to keep asking, and where we go from here.


Jodie McVernon, Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology
Steve Cameron, Manager – Community and Volunteer Development Emergency Management Victoria
Faye Bendrups, SES Controller
David Pledger, Author/Editor In the Time of Refuge
Dr Jen Rae, Latai Taumoepeau, and Lorna Hannan, Refuge Artists

“Refuge built a sort of a sense of family. You know, might be an organic family, but it gave me food, gave me insights into other people using it as an amazing platform.”
– N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM


Image credit: North Melbourne School of Displacement by Keg de Souza in collaboration with Claire G. Coleman, Refuge 2019: Displacement, Photo by Bryony Jackson 

Image description: Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin speaks to a group people sitting on the floor and cushioned recycled bags inside a large makeshift installation constructed from yellow, blue, orange and pink tents which is illuminated by sunlight.

Related News & Insights:

Imagining Refuge – Nikos Papastergiadis - Isolate and Contain! Mapping the Pandemic by Harry Lee Shang Lun with PlayReactive, Refuge 2018: Pandemic, Photo by Bryony Jackson.

Imagining Refuge

Nikos Papastergiadis
Beyond the bricks and mortar of North Melbourne - Boon Wurrung Senior Elder N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Refuge 2019: Displacement Welcome Ceremony, Photo by Bryony Jackson.

Beyond the bricks and mortar of North Melbourne

N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM
Introduction from an IntermediaryBoon Wurrung Elder N’arweet Carolyn Briggs and Angharad Wynne-Jones during Refuge 2016: Flood welcome, Photo by Bryony Jackson.

Introduction from an Intermediary

Angharad Wynne-Jones
Hope in the Unknown - Nest by Kate Sulan, Refuge 2016: Flood, Photo by Bryony Jackson.

Hope in the Unknown

Kate Sulan