Artists shortlisted for Ballarat’s Continuous Voices memorial

April 2nd, 2024Artists shortlisted for Ballarat’s Continuous Voices memorial

Three artist and designer groups have been shortlisted from a field of 18 applicants to develop designs for the City of Ballarat's long-awaited Continuous Voices public art memorial.
The site of the future memorial to acknowledge survivors of sexual abuse at Victoria Park, Ballarat – Photo: Larry Vila Pouca

Three artist and designer groups have been shortlisted from a field of 18 applicants to develop designs for the City of Ballarat’s long-awaited Continuous Voices public art memorial.  

The shortlisted candidates have begun eight weeks of design development, finishing with their proposed design of the memorial which will then be presented to an expert panel. The panel will make a final recommendation which will be considered by Ballarat City Council.

The competitive submission process has included supplying entrance statements, declarations and drawings. These were reviewed by the expert panel and narrowed to the successful shortlist of three.  

The final three shortlisted candidates will meet and work with the Community Reference Group, made up of survivors of abuse and advocates for change, as well as Traditional Owners to further develop their concepts.  

This will ensure the designers are guided and informed to create their designs, ready for the final stage of competition, presentation and review in May 2024.  

Continuous Voices is a project that connects trauma and creativity to stand for change and resistance against sexual assault and sexual abuse. The project acknowledges the courage of those who have stood for change and provides hope for these continuous voices to be heard.  

The project stems back to 2016, when the City of Ballarat acknowledged community advocacy to develop a permanent site to recognise the impact of sexual assault and sexual abuse in Ballarat. The call for a memorial became more focused after the release of the 2016 Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, part of which was held within Ballarat.

The design competition is the latest stage in the detailed process which has directly involved local artists, community organisations, survivors of sexual abuse and their families and friends over many years.  

Each of the three final shortlisted proposals will receive $5000 to continue deepening their design concepts to develop a comprehensive project plan, before one design concept is finally chosen.

The expert panel is responsible for making the final recommendation on the successful design. The panel has been carefully selected to include people with a profound understanding and sensibility to the issues and intent of the memorial, together with esteemed design professionals.

Local resident and primary school teacher Blake Curran, whose father was abused as a child by multiple priests in Ballarat and in turn passed away at the age of 43, remains a driving force behind the development of a memorial to recognise the trauma inflicted on Ballarat, but also to help the community move forward.

“It is a great achievement to be down to the final three designers, to develop a memorial that will not only be a space to remember victims of abuse that are no longer with us but also a place to recognise the lasting impact this has on the wider community,” he said.  

“I’m very proud of the collaborative and trauma informed approach that the City of Ballarat has had with victim-survivors, advocates, LOUD Fence and so many more to get to this very important stage”

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said this permanent public art piece will become an important part of the city’s extensive collection.  

“Every piece of public art in our collection tells an important story for a specific group of people and is often tied to an identified moment in time,” he said.  

“Continuous Voices memorial takes this so much further. The memorial will be a place for reflection, bravery, hope, grief and even rage – and it will be a place made by the community for the community.”

The location for the public art memorial will be near the lake adjacent to Plane Avenue in Victoria Park, Ballarat. Ballarat City Council voted unanimously to support the site proposed by the community, on 25 May 2022.  

By placing the memorial in a tranquil setting, near water and enveloped in nature, it is hoped the memorial will provide steps toward healing

The Continuous Voices project has been identified by the City of Ballarat as a priority project. To date the City of Ballarat has successfully advocated to secure State Government funding of $500,000 and continues to advocate to the Federal Government on behalf of the community for further investment.  

The City of Ballarat have committed $520,000 to the $1.5 million project.  

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