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August 19, 2008 / Amy Bradney-George

Creative Community

The bello bridge...an icon of my hometown

The bello bridge...an icon of my hometown

Brunswick St Mall, Brisbane

Brisbane's Brunswick Street Mall

I was tired, stressed and running late for my Monday morning meeting, walking brusquely through Fortitude Valley’s Brunswick St Mall when the pedestrian light changed to red. Instead of scowling or huffing in frustration, a smile came to my face. I wasn’t running late to a job I didn’t want to be at, or to the impending university lecture where I was to be assessed on a presentation I’d barely planned, I was going to something more important to me.

One of the things I love about drama is being able to tell stories. The other thing I love is being able to give something back to the community in a creative way. It’s fun, and seeing others have fun is part of what keeps me going. The project I’m working on now, the one I was running late for yesterday, will involve me and two others improvising and facilitating drama games for a specific community in the city. I was smiling because I felt as though the meeting I was about to enter would be challenging and fun. It ended up being a lot of work (there’s the challenge), but talking to everyone involved was a lot of fun.

Yesterday afternoon I met with a 17 year old girl who is involved in several volunteer community organisations, studying at university full time, and president of an organisation she founded for like-minded young people who want to help the world. The organisation was created late last year and is already developing a project with the State Library of Queensland to get a mobile book library for the Indonesian city of Depok. I’d never met this girl before but we got along instantly, connected by our similar interest in communities.

One thing I’ve learnt from growing up in a small town, and doing drama work with community groups, is that engaging with people from difference communities is a positive thing to do, but one which can often be overlooked. I used to know the names and phone numbers of my neighbours. Now, living in the city, I only know my neighbours as The Woman Who Talks Really Loudly On the Phone Right Outside My Window and The Family Including Someone Who Plays the Flute Loudly at Night. While I don’t really mind not knowing my neighbours, it’s disappointing that the neighbourhood community seems so disconnected.

The community work I engage in, and the people I meet through it, are all really friendly, creative people and I think that’s what makes the organisation so enjoyable. It could be like any other job – doing assignments, reporting back to people, discussing fees and budgets and resources – but it’s also a social activity. The reason I enjoy my classes at uni so much is because everyone gets along and knows each other well. The reason I volunteer to work at open days, or be a student mentor or any thing else for uni, is because I get on with the people I end up working with. And the reason I do drama projects in my own time, and have a passion for it, is because everyone is so easy to get along with.

When I compare these groups and activities with my current neighbourhood, one question arises: all around us are communities, but how often do we realise it, and actually engage with them?

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One Comment

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  1. Rikki / Aug 19 2008 7:16 pm

    My dear Amy,
    I’m so sorry it’s taken me forever to get around to reading your blog. But I must say, what a great job. You sound so professional, and as u know i’ve always loved reading your entertaining emails. Congrats on achieving the title of editor, that’s amazing!

    As for the communities, you’re right about how much the beautiful bellingen taught us. And i often miss the tight-knit neighbourhood i grew up in. But i think we all just need to make the most of what we’ve got, and continue on living the wonderful lives we’ve created for ourselves. I miss you Amy, can’t wait to hopefully see you soon. Much love, Rikki. xox

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