the waiting space

I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times that we have been designing waiting space advent installations for a couple of the temporary accommodation villages in the parts of Victoria that were devastated by bushfires last summer. It’s been a bit of a slow process – waiting until funding comes through, waiting until we can set up meetings, waiting until diaries get empty…

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be delivering postcards to people at Kinglake and Marysville. They have a short introduction to the concept, a reflection, and then space for response – inviting people to finish the sentences ‘Waiting for…’ and ‘Grateful for…’. Their responses will be integrated into the next part of the space. This is different to how we imagined, but a few weeks ago we went to talk with people in the villages about our ideas for creating a waiting space, and they offered the same feedback in the two villages: they told us that a waiting space was important, but they also thought a space for gratefulness was just as important. So we’re integrating the two into the installation, in different ways.

I’ve been a bit anxious [i like to find things to worry about] that the added time for consultation and development has meant that we will miss the advent period… but of course, the waiting doesn’t finish just because christmas is over. In fact, the lack of resolution of the waiting becomes even more poignant after Christmas… living through all the build up to find that nothing much seems to have changed. But much as we sometimes think it does, the christian calendar doesn’t create the world’s reality – just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean the world has hope… but it seems this space fits quite beautifully within a post-christmas world: trying to honour the tension between promise and reality in a world that makes recognising either so desperately impossible.

I don’t know how much of what we do I will put up here. It’s not really my story to tell, and the space doesn’t need advertising [and the people living in the villages don’t need to be the focus of anyone’s attention!]. But we’re incredibly grateful to the Share Appeal for funding it, and to the different artists / designers / chaplains etc who have made it possible…


  1. Kel

    cheryl, in your musings here the nail has been hit upon the head, in naming the tensions of the season

    may the spaces you create for the fire affected be what they need in this time, coming up to a first anniversary . . .

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