About the Workshops

Auburn Cartographies of Diversity was invited to be part of weekly activities in the large community garden at the back of Auburn Centre for Community. Leah Briers, Centre Coordinator, connected Auburn Cartographies with the many human intersections at the Centre, identifying the potential for ongoing creative work within the Centre’s busy life. Wednesdays were always hectic at the Centre, packed with people seeking legal advice and support, as well as attending free community lunches.

The newly built shelter in the Friendship Garden was a great spot to facilitate creative activities, alongside local organisations working with asylum seekers and refugees. The creative activity was open to all community members – including staff, agencies and non-government organisations. In a sense the Auburn Cartographies project facilitated a creative ‘common ground’ in the garden space on Wednesday mornings.

The atmosphere was relaxed and open, social and creative. Storytelling, drawing, textile arts and digital media. New skills were shared and outcomes could be seen within a short time. The core group of community gardeners were used to getting their hands dirty working in the garden with Dominic Vartuli, the Permaculture Garden Coordinator. On Wednesdays the group enjoyed getting to know each other in different ways, having the space to bring out other talents. This experience developed visions of new ways of working together in the Friendship Garden.

Paula Abood, Nicole Barakat, Jerome Pearce, Alissar Chidiac

Auburn Centre for Community, outside in the community garden – the Friendship Garden

Drawing from Memories

Scroll through the visual memories here, made in the sunshine during the first workshop in the Friendship Garden. Participants closed their eyes and listened to a guided reflection, imagining a garden space they have loved, remembering details and feelings. When they opened their eyes, with beautiful thick paper in their hands, they sketched and coloured and shaded, remembering stories and textures.

Relaxing, remembering the senses and recreating detailed moments is a powerful way to open up storytelling and to experience the process of artmaking. Making this space together around the table, in the sunshine of the Friendship Garden, was an important start in a relatively short series of workshops. Everyone shared the stories of their drawings, everyone listened and got to know each other in a different way. Everyone remembered and treasured garden spaces that they have loved.

Speaking about the Garden

Listen to these live wanderings in the Friendship Garden, as each person records their stories, memories and anecdotes…
seeds and herbs, vegetables and fragrant flowers… and golden compost!

“This was the first time I’ve been part of a community arts project and I’ve really enjoyed individual and collaborative learning and
creating opportunities.”



Meet some of the gardeners, as Nawal Abdi captured some moments on video. Artmaking within the garden environment, transforming the familiar with new creative skills … textiles, soil, photography, compost, coloured paper cut-outs, leaves, basic animation, sticks and branches.


“It was great gaining different skills and expressing our feelings about the garden in a different format from working in the Community Garden. I only wish we could have more workshops like this”


A large textile artwork was the creative outcome of drawing personal stories and details of the garden onto colourful textured fabrics. This collaborative artwork now hangs at Auburn Centre for Community.

Click on the four short garden stories – bringing together wheelbarrows of dirt, organic and textile materials, fun photography and stop motion animation.


Workshop FLYER