Metro Tunnel Creative Program – Parkville precinct
- Cross Yarra Partnership Project Co
A photo essay tribute to health care workers that received international attention, a visual storytelling project that stretches over 250 metres and stunning artwork by emerging VCA alumni have turned the hoardings of the construction site for the new Metro Tunnel Parkville Station into a vibrant giant outdoor gallery.
Celebrating the people and stories of the area’s rich biomedical and education precinct, the Metro Tunnel Creative Program has created world class amenity that provides a visual narrative of the precinct as well creating a welcoming and safe environment for pedestrians – all by innovative use of its construction hoardings.
The Metro Tunnel Creative Program has provided opportunities for creative practitioners to liaise directly with the project’s precinct stakeholders – allowing for the worlds of science and art to join together to produce large scale visual storytelling.
All art projects are deeply stakeholder driven with a high-quality artistic result. Artist briefs required creative thinking about the people who would be experiencing the construction and the hoardings every day.
Artists were encouraged to respond to the site, the people who worked, studied and visited the area and the rich historical and contemporary narrative of the location.
The ‘thank you’ photo wall received international attention, appearing on the front page of the NY Times. The impact for the participating organisations was extraordinary – with many of them stating how thrilled they were to see their medical heroes recognised for their tireless work on Covid 19.
The storytelling illustrations have been enthusiastically received by the precinct’s biomedical organisations who are thrilled to see their people and stories celebrated.
For VCA students, the impact of seeing their works in a space outside of the studio or a gallery, and on a large scale in the public realm, cannot be underestimated.
The artwork projects transform what could be an intimidating construction site into a vibrant and welcoming space – engaging and uplifting passers-by as they safely navigate around the site.
The subjects in the ‘thank you’ essay engage with pedestrians at eye level -providing a simple, yet emotive connection with the public.
For the storytelling project, QR codes are installed on each artwork, providing a direct connection to the audio recording of each story.
The VCA student works provide a colourful and welcoming gateway into the precinct.
Where hoardings could just be left black, or carry advertising, the Metro Tunnel project has delivered an innovative solution that provides job opportunities for Melbourne creatives.
For example, for the Storytelling Project – twenty stories of ‘unsung heroes’ were told by local writer Sonja Dechian. Illustrators Mark Conlan, Alice Lindstrom, Antra Svarcs and Janelle Barone visually bought the stories to life. Posters, colouring sheets and audio stories provided a reach to people beyond the boundaries of the site. In total, including those who designed, documented, installed and photographed the works – this one project provided over 20 jobs for Melbourne’s arts community.
The photos for the ‘thank you’ project were also provided to the participating organisations to be used for conferences, published papers or for media opportunities.
The storytelling artwork was adapted to create postcards and posters which were shared by partner organisations and colouring in sheets provided an engaging activity for children to learn about some of Melbourne’s medical heroes.
While the artworks are temporary during the period of the Metro Tunnel’s construction, they will have a life after. The Metro Tunnel Creative Program works with its artists to reduce landfill by repurposing and upcycling vinvl banners.