Arts House and Campbelltown Arts Centre acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands we work on, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples and the Dharawal people. We extend our respect to Elders past, present and future, while respecting Custodians of the vast Nations our digital platforms reach. We extend this acknowledgement to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, audiences and communities.
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Assembly for the Future
– Beyond Whiteness – The Rise of New Power

Assembly 1 art work by Elliat Rich swirling black and white interlocking pattern close up


Our First Speaker Claire G. Coleman kicks off this Assembly for the Future by showing us the power of revealing the truth and remembering how we won the battles against colonial injustice. Coleman describes rapid demographic shifts worldwide and the global uprisings in the early 2020s, a world that began to spin on a different axis. As new models of power sharing and wealth distribution upended centuries of colonial injustice and white supremacy, new voices flooded the public domain, transforming society and culture.

Assembly for the Future is a series of participatory, digital gatherings of around 70 citizens who will create new visions for futures that may be credible, idealistic or utterly fanciful. Our aim is to develop the practice of imagination.

A multi-platform exploration of futures to come in the era of climates changed and changing, we transport collaborators, participants and audiences to 2029 when significant impacts on planetary health are a daily reality causing powerful transformations of our cultural, political and energy systems. Using a simple approach involving a keynote provocation, creative responses and facilitated collective creation, we will envisage new pathways for the coming ten years.

Working within an assembly of thinkers, artists and provocateurs, we invite you to become protagonists, to put your imagination at the service of creating other, better, futures.

Premiere status

World Premiere

Presented by

  • Presented by Arts House, City of Melbourne as part of BLEED 2020.

Artistic Credits

  • Keeper of Time and coCurator for the Future: Alex Kelly
  • Dramaturg and coCurator for the Future: David Pledger
  • Producer for the Future: Sophia Marinos
  • First Speaker: Claire G. Coleman
  • Respondents: Anne Manne, Dr Ruth DeSouza
  • Moderators: Genevieve Grieves, Jen Rae, Jennifer Mills, Zena Cumpston, Lawrence Harvey, Debris Facility, Tim Hollo, Eleanor Jackson, Jordan Lacey, El Gibbs
  • Assembly Artists in Residence: Sam Wallman, Amanda Anastasi
  • Usher: Robbie McEwan
  • Future Archive Commission: Gillian Lever, Lisa Bartolomei, Sophie Gleeson
  • Future Archive: Lawrence Harvey & SIAL Studios RMIT
  • Composer: Aaron Cupples
  • Visual Design: Elliat Rich

Supported by

  • Assembly for the Future is a project of The Things We Did Next collaboration. The Things We Did Next is co-created by Alex Kelly & David Pledger and produced by Not Yet It’s Difficult and Something Somewhere Inc.
  • This work is supported by Arts House, City of Melbourne as part of BLEED 2020, The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Bertha Foundation, Monash Climate Change Communications Research Hub and RMIT SIAL Studios.
  • This work was developed with the generous support of Arts House CultureLAB, Arts NT, Australia Council for the Arts, Besen Foundation and Vitalstatistix Adhocracy program.
  • BLEED is conceived, produced and presented by City of Melbourne through Arts House and Campbelltown City Council through Campbelltown Arts Centre. BLEED has been assisted by the Federal Government through Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body.


This event occurred live on Thursday 9 July.

A recording of the First Speaker and Respondents addresses will be available to watch here from 13 July.


This was a free event.


Claire G. Coleman

Claire G. Coleman is a Noongar woman whose family have belonged to the south coast of Western Australia since long before history started being recorded. She writes fiction, essays and poetry while (mostly) traveling around the continent now called Australia in a ragged caravan towed by an ancient troopy (the car has earned “vintage” status). Born in Perth, away from her ancestral country she has lived most of her life in Victoria and most of that in and around Melbourne. During an extended circuit of the continent she wrote a novel, influenced by certain experiences gained on the road. She has since won a Black&Write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship for that novel, Terra Nullius.

Anne Manne

Anne Manne is a writer, social philosopher and essayist who has been a columnist for the Australian and The Age. Her first book, Motherhood, raised the way neoliberalism and the new capitalism was reshaping society, what we value, and our decisions around love, care, paid and unpaid work. It was a finalist in the Walkley award for best Non- Fiction book. Her 2008 Quarterly Essay, Love and Money: The Family and the Free Market, was a finalist in the Victorian Premier’s prize for non-fiction. She has also published a memoir, So This Is Life, and in 2014 she published the bestselling The Life of I; the new culture of narcissism, which was a finalist in the Queensland Literary non-fiction book award. Her longer essays on contemporary issues have been primarily in The Monthly magazine, such as The Great Domestic Hoax: Making women’s unpaid work count, and Rape Among the Lamingtons, Tragic Evidence of child sexual abuse in the Newcastle Anglican church. She is currently writing a new book on institutional child sexual abuse.

Dr Ruth DeSouza

Dr Ruth DeSouza is a highly experienced multidisciplinary educator, researcher and consultant, specialising in cross cultural engagement, cultural safety, and the interface of digital technologies within culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Her background is in nursing where she has extensive experience as a clinician, researcher and academic in New Zealand and Australia. Ruth is a 2020 RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, based in the School of Art and a member of the Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform (ECP). Her fellowship project aims to engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts.

Genevieve Grieves

Genevieve Grieves is a Worimi woman – traditionally from mid north coast New South Wales – who has lived in Narrm (Melbourne) for many years. She is an award-winning Indigenous artist, researcher, educator, curator, film-maker and oral historian who has accumulated twenty years experience across the arts, culture and education sectors. Genevieve has consistently won recognition and awards for the variety of projects she has undertaken throughout her diverse career including online documentaries, film, art and exhibitions.

Dr Jen Rae

Dr Jen Rae is an artist, researcher, facilitator and educator, based in Narrm (Melbourne) and the Director of Fair Share Fare. Her 15-year practice-led research expertise is in the discursive field of contemporary environmental art and environmental communication. It is centred around cultural responses to climate change/everything change – specifically the role of artists and creative inquiry.

Jennifer Mills

Jennifer Mills is the author of the novels The Airways (forthcoming: Picador, 2021), Dyschronia (Picador, 2018), Gone (UQP, 2011) and The Diamond Anchor (UQP, 2009) and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (UQP, 2012). In 2019 Dyschronia was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia’s most prestigious prize for literary fiction, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and the Aurealis Awards for science fiction.

Zena Cumpston

Zena Cumpston is a Barkandji woman currently working as a Research Fellow for the Clean Air Urban Landscapes Hub at the University of Melbourne, undertaking research and projects which explore Aboriginal perspectives of biodiversity in urban areas. Zena was the lead researcher, co-producer and co-designer of ‘The Living Pavilion’, a temporary living laboratory comprised of 40,000 Kulin Nation plants which celebrated and explored Indigenous knowledge, custodianship and belonging. She also works as a freelance writer, researcher and consultant. Most recently Zena’s freelance work has been with Science Gallery Melbourne as a researcher and mentor, working with young Aboriginal people to produce Indigenous Design workshops to be presented in high schools, aimed at encouraging students to consider Indigenous perspectives in tackling modern environmental challenges. In 2019 she collaborated with artist and curator Jonathon Jones, Uncle Bruce Pascoe and Professor Bill Gammage on ‘Bunha-bunhanga; Aboriginal Agriculture in the south-east’ as part of the Tarnanthi Aboriginal Festival at the Art Gallery of South Australia. She has recently been published in People and Nature, The Conversation, The Adelaide Review and the Australian Garden History Journal. Zena is currently curating an exhibition in partnership with the CAUL Hub, Science Gallery, The Old Quad and the Melbourne University Herbarium which revolves around Aboriginal plant use engaging with Aboriginal artists, research and community perspectives to interrogate the lens through which Aboriginal agricultural and plant knowledge has been perceived since Invasion.

Lawrence Harvey

Lawrence Harvey is a composer, sound designer and director of SIAL Sound Studios, School of Design, RMIT University. He has led various ARC and industry funded projects, supervises research candidates and teaches into the Spatial Sound stream of the Master of Design Innovation Technology (MDIT) degree. He is Artistic Advisor to the RMIT Sonic Arts Collection and directs public concerts and exhibitions for the collection on the SIAL Sound Studios speaker orchestra. Harvey has also collaborated in interdisciplinary teaching and research with musicians and artists, interior, digital and industrial designers, and architects. In addition to electroacoustic compositions, he has produced gallery and urban sound installations, spatial sound designs for VR and theatre, and performed around Australia and in Seoul, Huddersfield, The Hague and Vienna.

Debris Facility

Debris Facility Pty Ltd is a queer corporate entity formed in 2015 after 10 years of “solo” artistic activity. Usually inhabiting one embodiment, it works to disrupt boundaries of singular and multiple agencies. The Facility’s mobius input and output redeploy the im/material waste from creative industries. Through utilsing organisations as critical spatial practice, we highlight and morph existing exchange mechanisms. Through pedagogical commitments to Liquid Architecture, Victorian College of the Arts and Monash University, we extend our discursive investments.

Tim Hollo

Tim Hollo is Executive Director of the Green Institute, where he leads thinking around ecological political philosophy and practice, and drives policy discussion around Rights of Nature, Universal Basic Income and participatory democracy. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). Tim was previously Communications Director for Greens Leader Christine Milne, has been both a board member and campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and has worked for 350, Lock the Gate and others. In 2013, he founded Green Music Australia, an organisation which brings together his environmental activism with his experience as a musician, having recorded 8 albums and toured nationally and globally, from the National Folk Festival to New York’s Carnegie Hall with FourPlay String Quartet. Tim’s writing on environmental, social and political issues has been widely published, including at the Griffith Review, Meanjin, the Guardian, ABC, Huffington Post, and Crikey.

Jordan Lacey

Jordan Lacey is a writer, curator, composer and researcher of sounds, ambiances, and artistic methodologies. He is based in the School of Design at RMIT University. Jordan recently curated the Translating Ambiance exhibition, a hybrid sound-art exhibition-ethnography research event. He is author of Sonic Rupture.

Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. Author of A Leaving (Vagabond Press), her live album, One Night Wonders, is produced by Going Down Swinging. A passionate advocate for diverse and inclusive cultures, she is a former Editor in Chief and now Chair of Peril Magazine. She has previously held roles as Vice-Chair of The Stella Prize and Board Member for Queensland Poetry Festival.

El Gibbs

El Gibbs is the Director, Media and Communications for People with Disability Australia. She is also an award-winning writer with a focus on disability and social issues, published widely. Her work is available at El spends far too much time on Twitter at @bluntshovels.

Sam Wallman

Sam Wallman is a comics-journalist, cartoonist and industrial organiser based primarily on unceded Wurundjeri Country. His work has been published in places like the Guardian, The New York Times, the ABC and SBS. He is a member of the Workers Art Collective, and an artist-in-residence at the Victorian Trades Hall.

Amanda Anastasi

Amanda Anastasi is a Melbourne poet whose work has appeared on the walls of Windsor’s Artists Lane to The Massachusetts Review. Following her debut poetry collection ‘2012 and other poems’, Amanda engaged in several multidisciplinary collaborations that included ‘Loop City’, a spoken word/music show about Melbourne commissioned by MSO’s Sarah Curro. Amanda is a two-time winner of the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize, and has appeared at the Emerging Writers Festival, the Williamstown Literary Festival and the Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival. Amanda was a recent recipient of a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship to work on a series of poems set in the year 2042. She is currently Poet in Residence at the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH), where she is writing poetry to raise awareness on ecological issues and the climate crisis.

Sophia Marinos

Sophia Marinos has worked in diverse areas of social justice and the arts, both internationally and locally. Sophia was the creative producer of Big hART’s multi-platform Namatjira project from 2009-2018, leading a successful and historic campaign to restore the copyright in Albert Namatjira’s works to his family. With Big hART she was National Producer, producing numerous theatrical works, community engagement programs and social impact campaigns, on issues as diverse as slavery at sea, Indigenous languages policy, cultural diversity and Indigenous incarceration. She has produced Man With The Iron Neck for Legs On The Wall; worked with Indigenous strategic design and technology company Old Ways, New on how Indigenous Knowledges can inform new and emerging technologies; produced monthly singing events for The Welcome Choir; and has worked with Bob Brown Foundation.

Robbie McEwan

Robbie McEwan is a cross-platform producer, filmmaker and assistant director from Aotearoa New Zealand who has produced with Screen Australia and screened films at MIFF, SFF, MQFF and international festivals. Robbie’s audio productions have been broadcast on RNZ National, ABC RN’s 360documentaries and Earshot. For the audio feature ‘Chasing Meteors’ he received a 2017 Kavli Science Journalism Award for Excellence in Audio Reporting from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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