My current creative intervention, Big Skies Collaboration, brings together arts practitioners, astronomers and rural communities to share and interpret stories about people’s relationships with celestial phenomena, as experienced from what I have called the 700 Kilometer Array of astronomial observatories in southeastern Australia. More >>
Other recent cultural interventions include
Homelands, my PhD project completed through the University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. More >>
River Stories, my creative responses to the degradation of the Kalari-Lachlan River and its tributaries in inland NSW. (This section includes what I consider to be my best work.) >>
Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, a very inclusive community celebration of country creativity and resilience based in Forbes, NSW, which emerged from my Kate Kelly Project >>
The Kate Kelly Project, a creative re-interpretation of the life and times of bushranger Ned Kelly’s sister Kate, whose body was found in the Forbes Lagoon in October 1898 >>
Other projects have included
Redreaming the plains, a multimedia project and online database of stories about living on Victoria’s basalt plain and other plains around the world [Redreaming is now archived by the National Library of Australia’s Pandora Archive and became the subject of my Masters research into the power of narrative to effect social change]
Imagine The Future Inc, a small project-based futures organisation I established in Melbourne in the late 1980s, which included what I believe was the world’s first Ecoversity >>
The Paul and Hettie Wenz Project to conserve and extend the literary legacy of French-Australian writer Paul Wenz and his wife Hettie Dunne >>
Hunza Wear Project, a project in the remote Hunza Valley of northeastern Pakistan to provide impoverished women with more sustainable livelihoods >>
The Gascyoyne Project: Merrill’s earliest formal CCD initiative was undertaken way back in 1983 when she was Artist-in-Residence in the Gascoyne region of northwestern Western Australia. This pioneering residency was funded by the Western Australia Arts Council, the WA Department of the Northwest and Carnarvon Shire Council.
Lasting outcomes of The Gascoyne Project included a new dark room for community photographers, an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and a coffee-table book to commemorate the Shire’s 100th anniversary, Carnarvon: Reflections of a Country Town (Shire of Carnarvon, 1984, ISBN 0-9529109-0-3). The book included photographs and oral histories documenting the region’s diverse cultural heritage.
The Fairfax Walkabout Travel Guide recommended Reflections of a Country Town as follows:
Anyone needing more information on the town should read Merrill Findlay’s outstanding book Carnarvon: Reflections of a Country Town. Findlay was Artist-in-Residence in Carnarvon in 1983 and, as a professional photojournalist, she captured the spirit of the town in a way that few local histories do.
In the mid-1880s I conducted workshops for the Community Arts Resource Centre in Melbourne, and authored a working paper on community arts praxis for the Victorian Ministry for the Arts. The resulting monograph, Why Document? Working Paper No. 9, was published in book form in July 1986. In it I investigated the arts practices of arts practitioners William Kelly, Geoff Hogg, Beatrice Sheehan, Thom the Street Poet, Neil Cameron and Les Gilbert, as well as my own praxis.
Page created 8 December, 2010. Last updated 14 January 2017.