The Art Gallery of Ballarat presented a special event on International Women’s Day with Kim McConville, Executive Director of Beyond Empathy who presented the work on positive social change in our First Nations rural communities in New South Wales.
Beyond Empathy uses the arts to influence change and enrich the lives of individuals and communities experiencing recurring hardship. The organisation began its Community Arts and Cultural Development work in remote New South Wales and today works in urban and suburban, regional and remote communities across Australia. Beyond Empathy works where multiple disadvantage is found: social and economic, individual and community.
Kim worked with the award-winning group Big hART before establishing Beyond Empathy in 2004 with long-time colleague and creative partner Phillip Crawford. Together they have worked in some of the most challenging places in Australia. Kim is skilled at working with communities marked by intergenerational disadvantage and long-standing conflict. Through the process of creating art and working towards a common goal, Kim has found that people, long-divided, can often find new ways of working together.
“We like to think that we work with communities under pressure, because certainly none of the people that we work with chose to be in the circumstances that they are in,” Ms McConville said.
“For most of them it is inherited, generation after generation.”