The Brimbank Writers and Readers Festival is set to kick off this week with a range of events that encourages a love of reading and literature, celebrates creativity and diversity, and promotes lifelong learning in Brimbank. Marcia Ferguson is among those who will be involved in the festival. She talks to Tara Murray.
What is your connection to Brimbank?
I first met the arts and culture team in my role as artistic director of Big West Festival between 2012 and 2016. The festival’s community co-ordinator, Jo Trevathan – who now works with Brimbank council – had many networks in the municipality and we looked to share some programming across councils. My extended family also lived in Sunshine as my great-great-uncle, D B Ferguson was managing director of Sunshine Harvesters, and worked closely with Hugh [H.V] McKay. The families remained close until the death of my grandmother and her generation. The street where DB had his home was named after him. I returned to Brimbank in September 2020 through to March as the co-ordinator of a major arts program called Land MARKS, where for six months, 10 artists worked across Brimbank communities creating murals, performances, community events, connecting communities after the trauma of COVID lockdowns.
What are your favourite things about Brimbank?
I love the vibrancy and warmth of the Brimbank community, exposure to different cultures and the lifestyle and ethos of different cultures. I also loved working closely with the arts and culture team members integral to the Land MARKS program. I was there while things gradually opened up and it was a great time to engage with and appreciate the municipality as a whole.
Tell us about your artwork and your role you play in the art community?
I work as an artist and a creative producer with a particular interest in public art. I love text and strong visual imagery and have made works across all genres – films, plays, radio works, contemporary art installation. I’ve been working as an artist, director, writer and producer for over 40 years. Unbelievable! I’m very proud to have worked at Back to Back Theatre on many shows that toured the world, including Ganesh versus the Third Reich. I’m currently mentor to two artists with the Victorian Independent Produce Initiative, and happily working on six month residency as a multidisciplinary artist at Hamlyn Views School in Geelong. I guess people look to me to offer advice on creating and producing new work – a role I cherish. But making art is even better.
You are part of the Brimbank Writers and Readers Festival. Tell us about your role in the festival and what people can expect from the festival?
I am chairing a panel with three female artists who created new works for Land MARKS. They will share slides of their work and stories about how storytelling was intrinsic to their art projects. There are some really moving and remarkable stories about how communities responded and what it meant to them to ‘have a voice’ through the creative process.
Festival details: www.brimbank.vic.gov.au/events/brimbank-writers-readers-festival-3