By the year 2070, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts that number of days over 35 degrees will double from the current average of 8 days a year, to 17. A recent study by the Australian National University also found that Melbourne can expect 50 degree temperatures within the next few decades. These statistics highlight that climate change remains an ever-present risk to our world.

In response to the imminent impacts of climate change, Arts House will transform into an Emergency Relief Centre. Taking place on Saturday the 11th of November 2017, the event will serve as a contemporary art project while also educating audiences on how to respond to extreme climate events. Combining the work of artists, local communities, and emergency and health sectors, Refuge is an integral contribution to climate change conversation and awareness.

The event will take place at the North Melbourne Town Hall, which is home to Arts House and is one of the 18 Emergency Relief Centres in the City of Melbourne. In the case of a climate related event like a flood or heatwave, the venue will be used to provide aid to community members.

Recent global events  – like hurricanes and heatwaves – have showcased more than ever the need for increased knowledge for handling excessive climate conditions.

Arts House will host an imagined heatwave in the form of a contemporary art project. Refuge will bring together artists, community services, scientists and First Nation elders to showcase a creative approach to climate change conditions.

“The City of Melbourne is renowned as a world leader in the policy areas of arts, sustainability, resilience and adaptation. Refuge presents a new way to address the climate challenges our city faces with a unique collaboration of all these policy areas. Talented artists have united with our emergency service providers and the community to develop this Relief Centre, which looks at how we can prepare for such an event and how we can support each other through it,” says Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC.
Artists in the event include Asha Bee Abraham, Lorna Hannan, Emily Johnson, Vicki Couzens, Dave Jones, Jen Rae and Latai Taumoepeau. Each will offer their own unique contribution and interpretation to the exhibit, and will focus on a particular element within the Emergency Relief Centre; sleep, communications, energy, food, wellbeing and community connectedness.

The project will feature immersive artworks, workshops, information sessions, and emergency preparedness activities run by the Red Cross Australia and the Victorian State Emergency Service.

“The Refuge exercise has shown that arts organisations have a lot to contribute when it comes to the planning and creation of an Emergency Relief Centre. It is important that as a city, we are prepared for climate related events such as heatwaves. By working with artists, emergency services and the local community, Refuge puts us in a good position to be prepared and resilient,”  says Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, City of Melbourne.

Refuge is part of a five year initiative that will run until 2020 and focus on different imagined climate disasters. Last year’s Refuge event found that emergency services and government planners who participated in the project were able to learn new modes of managing disaster by working with artists.

Find more details about the event below!

Date Saturday, 11 November 2017
Times 12pm – 10pm
Address Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Tickets FREE