On Sunday night, we launched this project with “A Celebration of the Art of Story” at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of VIVID Sydney. The event brought in a full house, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that so many of you wanted to celebrate with us. Thank you.
After I spoke about the main points of this project – the importance of sharing our stories and how this can foster healing and acceptance and break down stigma – the speakers got up and each powerfully proved the message that storytelling can change the world.
Melanie Lee of A Girl in the World got up first and bravely shared her story about what it was like to experience child abuse, and how this impacted her life. If you want to hear more of her or you’re sad you missed it, Melanie is a proud advocate for speaking up and out about abuse, and regularly does so through her very powerful project, which you should all follow along (especially if you like this one).
Next, Cybele Malinowski took us on a journey through her heritage with a presentation of her photographs from Chernobyl and a rather literary speech to match them. We posted the speech on here yesterday, and Cybele is sure to have an exhibition of these works soon.
Sebastian Robertson then spoke about courage and the power of vulnerability, which he embraces through his project Batyr. I asked Sebastian to present because his mission is rather similar to this one – namely, encouraging people to share their stories about mental health. Sebastian is a wonderful representative of his cause.
All the Best radio producer Belinda Lopez then shared her journey towards telling her story and finding her calling with it. It was a beautifully raw reflection of self-discovery – one that we all go on, in some form or another.
Documentary maker and all around badass Jordan Bryon opened her talk with a video of her doing a nudie run at a basketball game, so we all knew where it was going. I’m just so glad that SOMEONE mentioned the word penis on stage. Several times. Jordan’s point was that storytelling helps give depth to people, and shows what’s beneath the surface. We love her.
And finally, spoken word poet Miles Merrill closed the event with a story about the power of story in people’s lives, most notably his own. As with the rest of us, nobody would know him, really, without his story. Story enables us to show the world what we are made of – and that we are more than what we seem.
Each speaker was perfect in the mix of the evening, and I am so incredibly grateful to all of them for getting up on that stage and sharing their stories. Of course, thank you too to everyone who came and supported us – I am honoured that so many of you felt that this event was worthy of your Sunday evening. The feedback has been deeply touching, as I want nothing more than for this project to inspire you all to share your stories. If this event played some small part in that, it achieved its mission.
This event would never have happened if it weren’t for VIVID Sydney and its queen, Jess Scully, whose belief in this project has made ME believe in this project. A special thanks to the lovely Eleanor Bucher, who helped do the stuff my brain didn’t want to, and a MASSIVE hug to our PR Monique Rothstein and her beautiful team at Positive Feedback, who were nice enough to do the comms simply for the love. Thanks too to our interns for the evening, the lovely Kate and Jess, and to Field Notes, who donated their little books to us so that we could give them on to you (and get you writing!).
This project could never have come to life without the support it has received. To everyone who pledged to our project on Pozible last year – I will always think of you when I need faith in humanity. Thanks for believing in this project enough to put your cash behind it. To the team that helped put this together, in ways both big and small – thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times over. I don’t know if I can say that enough. Big love to all our sponsors and of course, to the contributors to our book, who made it as beautiful as it is.
Finally, thank you to you, for taking the time to read, and I hope one day I write to you, thanking you for sharing your story.