DISRUPT: Mapping the future of Melbourne through stories

DISRUPT: Mapping the future of Melbourne through stories

A collective storytelling project held as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week (20-26 May) is inviting participants to take over a 20-metre wall to disrupt the streets with their dreams of the city.

DISRUPT investigates the connection between stories, belonging and space through creative writing, with participants prompted to think about what the city looks and feels like today and into the future.

The living and growing artwork emerged throughout the week from scheduled creative writing workshops, participant contributions and ‘story litter,’ an archive of discarded receipts and lists found on the streets of Melbourne by STREAT collectors.

DISRUPT artwork wall Participants are invited to contribute to DISRUPT throughout the week.

The RMIT Writing and Publishing team, student-led publishing house Bowen St Press, non/fictionLab researchers, social enterprise STREAT and creative mapmaker Alex Hotchin collaborated on the project, alongside the City of Melbourne and METRO Melbourne Tunnel.

Associate Dean of Writing and Publishing Francesca Rendle Short said it was ‘story litter’ that first inspired DISRUPT.

“We’ve transposed these beautiful artefacts or found objects into a map of Melbourne, created by Alex Hotchin, and invited our community to join in making this living artwork.  

“The artwork creates a sense of place and belonging to help build a city of the future, one of hope and transformation.”

STREAT CEO Rebecca Scott said she spent the last decade working with young people living on the streets of Melbourne, while collecting artefacts off the streets and trying to imagine the people and stories that belong with them.

“My collection includes hundreds of pieces of writing found on the streets, ranging from love letters, shopping lists, work notes and journal entries. All of them provide a tiny insight into the movements and activities of people on our streets, giving us an opportunity to listen and respond,” she said.

“So many of this city's street stories are being whispered or are almost hidden, and we need to tread quietly and hone our senses to discover them.”

An exhibition will be held at RMIT’s Urban Square on Sunday 26 May, and the raw materials produced by DISRUPT will be used by Bowen St Press to produce a post-workshop publication.

The project is part of seven days of workshops, performances and celebrations dedicated to discovering and shaping the future of the city. 

DISRUPT artwork wall The collaborative artwork will be exchibited at RMIT's Urban Square.

Fill your brain with more RMIT Melbourne Knowledge Week events:

Future Stories: Chorus of Voices (23 May). Meat Market, 10am-11am. Free

The Future Stories project paired RMIT students with academics on the non/fictionLab to produce creative responses to themes explored within the festival. Each pair of storytellers worked together to exchange ideas and create a piece of writing with ideas about shaping the future of our city.

What is the public purpose of innovation districts? (21 May). Meat Market, 10:30am-11:30am. Free

The Melbourne Innovation District is part of a global wave of urban best practice to demonstrate leadership in the knowledge economy. This discussion will examine how we can make the most of our innovation districts.

Social Innovation Panel (21 May). Meat Market, 11:30am-12:30pm. Free

Panellists from City North’s Social Innovation Precinct discuss the future of justice, education and policy.

KeepCup: Can we buy our way to a better future? (24 May). Meat Market, 7:30am-9am. Free

Hosted by KeepCup, this panel will feature brands focused on changing consumer habits and the ethical supply chain. Featuring RMIT Senior Lecturer Industrial Design Dr Simon Lockrey, LUSH, Today, David Jones and the Country Road Group.

View the full Melbourne Design Week program here.


Story: Alison Barker and Jasmijn van Houten


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.