Skyline Design participants in action at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum this week

This week Polyartistry has been holding skyline design workshops in the museum of the Hyde Park Barracks.  It’s all part of our conversation around the restoration of the Hyde Park Barracks Domes.

We talk a bit about favourite Sydney buildings and why they are important, we think about other symbols and signs that we pass by all the time and discuss the meaning that they have for us…and then we spend some time in the lovely silhouette room imagining and making new buildings and spaces for Sydney.     Why would we stop and chat about buildings in this way, or have kids create something from their imagination rather than focus on facts or another more obviously educational outcome?  Because there needs to be some starting point in the journey from the personal meaning that we invest in precious familiar objects to a more outwardly focussed caring about our shared spaces which reflect the heritage and values of a community of people rather than just one person or family.  When we do this, we are building stuff – giving other people an opportunity to build stuff for themselves – not only in terms of making buildings themselves, in this case, but also in terms of contributing to a set of experiences which enable kids to make connections between their inner world and the world around them.

Those of us who are passionate and knowledgeable about art, or music or architecture need to keep in mind that preserving this heritage requires custodians both now and in the future to ensure the ongoing care and maintenance of places that tell collective stories.  One way to do this is by creating a welcoming intellectual space for young people, an entry point into ideas of what we preserve and why, and what we would create if we had the chance.  It’s great to offer kids a beautifully presented and engaging museum space where they can discover many things they didn’t know, but in order to have them leave with a sense of caring or ownership about what might happen to that place in the future requires its own conversation.  A conversation where they can imagine the future of our shared spaces, and how they might be part of it.  That’s really what’s at the heart of the domes restoration: caring about a space that is significant in the story of our society to the point that we want to see it returned to its completed state.

We have one more Skyline Workshop today, Saturday 8 October, at 2pm.  We are also talking to people from midday to 1.30pm. Come and tell us what you think about the domes!