Moving Feast

RMIT's student-led publishing house, Bowen Street Press, is collaborating with STREAT to deliver physical and emotional sustenance to disadvantaged and vulnerable Victorians.

A new partnered project between RMIT’s student-led publishing house Bowen Street Press and social enterprise STREAT, has sprung up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bowen Street Press operates as part of RMIT’s Master of Writing and Publishing, which offers many opportunities for industry engagement and real-world and simulated work practice.

Moving Feast

Tracy O’Shaughnessy, Publisher of the Bowen Street Press (BSP) explains the project: ‘We moved the BSP to a totally virtual environment to partner with STREAT who has pivoted from their climate crisis action to set up Moving Feast. Moving Feast is a collaborative project with many of Victoria’s food social enterprises which is designed to help the most vulnerable of Victorians by growing, cooking and delivering meals and essentials.

Moving Feast brings both physical and emotional sustenance to the door of the disadvantaged and isolated members of our community. Each food box also includes the Moving Feast newsletter which is a collaboration between STREAT and the Bowen Street Press (BSP) interns. The newsletter has informative and varied content for readers of different demographics and interests, covering topics such as keeping fit in isolation, mindfulness, working from home, connecting with nature and arts and crafts for kids and adults and those in between, and a few horoscopes for the more astrologically inclined among us.’

‘The Moving Feasts collaboration has given us the opportunity to contribute to the community’s wellbeing in this unprecedented time. Working with different mediums and types of content in a newsletter format is an exciting and agile format that allows us not only to get creative with our content, but to reach out and connect with others in isolation.’ 

The Moving Feast BSP Team

Writers, editors and researchers from RMIT have been collaborating with STREAT – a social enterprise offering disadvantaged youth a supported pathway from the street to sustainable livelihood – since 2010. Throughout the relationship, participants from STREAT’s training program have worked side by side with writers, artists and designers to share stories that have been lived, and stories of imagined futures.

Associate Dean of Writing and Publishing, Francesca Rendle-Short, celebrated the longevity of the RMIT’s relationship with STREAT and her enthusiasm for this new project with Bowen St Press, amidst the Covid-19 devastation.

‘For more than a decade we have collaborated with STREAT on small and large storytelling projects: from making co-created online Twitter-verse, to creative mapping projects turning street stories into wrapping paper, to creating ‘story litter’ hoardings for Melbourne Knowledge Week,’ Rendle-Short said.

Writers, editors and researchers from RMIT Writers, editors and researchers from RMIT
STREAT defies the odds and just keeps on giving in order to support disadvantaged young people, giving them a second shot at life.

Previous projects conceived under the long-standing partnership include a series of creative writing workshops which resulted in a collection of stories housed on a map of Melbourne’s CBD by artist Alex Hotchin; the words winding through the streets. The design was then printed on wrapping paper and made available in exchange for a gold coin donation at Melbourne Central shopping centre.

In 2019, STREAT and RMIT collaborated on DISRUPT: a collection of found objects from the streets of Melbourne – including shopping lists, love letters and itemised receipts – which were transposed onto a city map and exhibited at the University’s Urban Square.

STREAT CEO Bec Scott reflected on the relationship with RMIT:

'Over ten years ago our first nine young trainees paired up with RMIT writing students to co-create street poetry and these creative collaborations have continued across the whole decade. We're really excited to be working again with Bowen Street Press on well-being material to include with the thousands of meals we're providing to vulnerable Victorians during the pandemic. Here's to the next decade of working together.'

The partnership between RMIT and STREAT also includes a focus on social innovation through RMIT’s Social Innovation Hub; exploring new ways of achieving social, economic and educational innovation and impact. “STREAT is a remarkable organisation and a great partner with us in exploring economic, social and educational innovation in a number of forms. We are working together to find new ways to innovate institutions and policy to achieve social outcomes.” Ciannon Cazaly, Social Innovation Partnerships Manager

 

Story and photo: Ali Barker and Georgie Martin

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