STORYBOX is launching our inaugural pilot project in May 2020 in Parramatta.
Originally designed as a public space activation in Parramatta Square, we're beginning our journey online while social distancing impacts how we use public spaces.
There's something about Parramatta.
This place, named after the original inhabitants the Burramattagal people, is a place of gathering since time began. A place where where the river meets the saltwater. A place where 'eels lie down'; where the Dharug people first traded with Europeans, exchanging fish for salt beef and bread.
A place where traditional methods of fire-based land management by the Barramattagal created a landscape that looked almost European, where recent British arrivals saw fit to establish the seat of colonial rule.
A place where British systems of governance were enforced, often cruelly, where ancient trees continue to grow, where traces of different times continue to be unearthed. A place where experiments in post-war migration were first tested, a place where the growing of navel oranges was first perfected. A place that is a fast growing metropolitan centre - the CBD of Sydney's 'Central City' - in a fast growing region.
As put by Meihua Gong, who was Parramatta's 2015 Citizen of the Year:
"Collectively, we share a firm responsibility to shape the ever-evolving narratives of Parramatta’s unique cultural story."
We know there is not one story about Parramatta. In fact, its the incredible diversity of stories here that led us to approach the City of Parramatta to launch our first STORYBOX project.
A gathering place
We think about Parramatta as a gathering place - not only for diverse peoples, but also of diverse times, past, present and future. And how we gather - whether in public spaces, workplaces, community spaces or in digital spaces - continues to shape how people come to know Parramatta.
The impact of COVID-19 means gathering now mostly happens online, via zoom or other channels, or in parks where exercise can happen, while CBD spaces lie empty.
For now we're launching STORYBOX PARRAMATTA as a digital gathering space. Over the coming weeks we'll be launching content created by our partners and supporters, and inviting the community to get involved.
STORYBOX PARRAMATTA is a unique partnership project led by ESEM Projects, with support from the City of Parramatta. We're supported by the ABC Content Ideas Lab as our anchor content partner, Western Sydney University, and culture partners Sydney Story Factory and Curious Works.
Over the coming months we'll be sharing unique content and insights into Parramatta from our partners.
We also invite contributions from emerging writers, video artists and makers, photographers and film makers. Check out the different options for contributing below.
There's lots of ways to get involved in STORYBOX programming.
Check out the different options below.
“Parramatta is like a field that has been cross-culturally pollinated by decades of different narratives and backgrounds. I didn’t just grow up in Parramatta, I grew up with it and I feel like the produce of that cross-pollination.”