West End local Rachel Monique Walker hosts creative workshops that open up conversations, encourage storytelling and enhance connection to self and community – all while drinking tea or bubbles and flicking through magazines.
A self-taught collage artist and creative industries graduate, Walker sees incredible power in getting people ‘in the room’ together, to self-reflect, make some collage and talk about what is happening in their lives. “We live in such an atomised world, if we can find ways to spend time together having conversations and empathising with each other, while indulging in some leisure, then I think we’re on a good track.”
Her vision board workshops, currently running a sold out program at the Museum of Brisbane, offer participants the opportunity to get creative by cutting up magazines and old books and then fashioning them into collages that represent their lives and goals for the future. Workshops include time for show and tell, as well as listening to others’ stories.
Walker has been making collages since she was a child, but has taken until her early thirties to bring her collage skills into the public arena. “Collage is deceptively simple, anyone can do it and for a long time I thought creativity needed to be more complex, but now I see that the accessibility and universality of collage is significant, because it draws people in rather than locking them out.”
Drawing people in has always been a priority for Walker, who has spent over a decade in West End, getting to know the community and working for social inclusion. “I started with the West End Twilight Markets back in 2011 with a big community collage stall with pre-cut pieces and conversation on tap. Then I got involved with Brother Juniper House and Turnstyle, two share houses that each in different ways opened their doors for the public to come and spend time, share a meal and learn to live more sustainably. These days I see my role as making regenerative spaces where people can relax, create and be human, together. ”
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