The faces and fibre of our communities

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Invisible threads are the strongest ties.  

                                         Fredrich Nietzsche

It shouldn’t but it still  surprises me when the universe delivers synchronistically interwoven gossamer threads that tie a thought or an idea to another with seamless perfection.

I recently wrote about the joys of being a tourist in your own country.  Last weekend I visited the Museum of Brisbane, the city I call home, to engage with a new and exciting exhibition called 100% Brisbane. The exhibition uniquely draws together the stories of 100 residents and examines what it is about their city that they love. It goes deeper than that, it shapes for the viewer through touch, sound, smell, film and text the heart of the city, the human community with its complexities of origin, sexuality, race, gender, age, defining life experiences and so on.  It delivers an impressive and captivating self-portrait of a city and its people; a provocative self portrait of a community. I felt both a tourist and a sense of belonging and connection.

Looking in on something I take for granted and have neglected to examine closely (in this way) gave me a sense of being a bystander or a visitor learning about this place. It was fascinating to take a helicopter view of my city and examine it differently. 100% Brisbane is provocative on so any levels.  Too many thoughts surfaced, eddied and flowed to share them all, though I’ve walked away with a sense of pride, with a deeper level of understanding and with questions too. Questions about myself and my place here. Questions that will tick over in my mind as I interact with this city and it’s people, looking for answers, insights and elaborations. These questions percolated as a result of a series of questions I answered while there.

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A feature of the exhibition is an interactive survey that gathers information about visitors to the exhibition and provides statistics that inform you of your likeness and difference to those who have previously visited and to those 100 people, who each represent a 1% slice of Brisbane, on whom the exhibition is based.  As I submitted my results I got to see which of the 100 I was most like in each of three sections. I answered a range of questions from basic demographics to my attitudes and beliefs on key social issues and I discovered that I am not as unique as I’d imagined nor am I quite as conventional either.  In part one I was like only 1% of my fellow citizens and in sections 2 and 3 I was like  9% of my fellow Brisbaneites. That’s pretty interesting data to walk away with.  You can see why I might now have a few questions whirling away in my mind.

Have you ever considered the face of your city or  how similar you are to the community you live in? Can you see the elements that link you to those who live around you? Do you recognise those points of difference that make you unique?  This exhibition has made me realise that while we might think of ourselves as ‘just one face in a crowd’ we are each representatives of the place we live. We are each the face of our community; our individual voices, stories and perspectives interlace to create the fabric that swathes us and weaves the shape and spirit of where we live.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The faces and fibre of our communities

  1. Now that is a fascinating concept. I would love to do that here too, the interactive survey. Being in this city where the city centre is an 85% rebuild (suburbs a whole other story)and workers coming in from around the world to help. That would be interesting.! you know, their views in a town they now call home, and of course local born and bred comments.

    • Definitely Vicki. It would be terribly interesting to see that information where you live. Nice idea hey? You never know, suggest it to the right people and there may be an undertaking to make it happen. I think it could be a really good thing for the community of Christchurch.

  2. It’s a fascinating concept Shannyn. We live in an inner city community in Calgary. It is an eclectic mix of original old timers, young professional couples, singles, empty nesters and the list goes on. Perhaps a perfect fit fro us who love being surrounded by diversity.

    • Sue your inner city area sounds like a great place to live. As I read your comment I realised the suburb I live in is quite diverse also, with varied races, religions, family groupings. I guess sometimes when faced with data and a small subsection of a whole, the nature of our community takes on a different slant. It was a really interesting exhibit.

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