Supported by the National Gallery of Victoria, this year’s Melbourne Design Week takes place between 26 March – 5 April, with the dedicated East Gippsland Waterfront program being presented from 30 March – 3 April 2021.
The festival’s overall theme, Design the World You Want, perfectly frames the issues and challenges surrounding Victoria’s waterways, and the Waterfront program asks us, as citizens, workers, commuters and residents, to pause, explore, reflect on and celebrate our relationships with the creeks, rivers, bays and oceans we live with.
Developed and curated by Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne (CAV|OHM) with the School for unTourists – a series of events inspired by the East Gippsland Lakes will introduce previously undiscovered sites around Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers.
Championing creative entrepreneurship of the region, expect a vibrant series of walks, tours, talks, boat trips, kayaking activities and more.
Traditional Owners, local community members, designers, creative practitioners, artists, entrepreneurs, makers, researchers and marine experts will discuss important issues affecting the Lakes. Explore the area’s most fascinating buildings and participate in conversations about how the post-fishing community can continue to build a prosperous community for the future.
“It is very exciting for the Lakes Entrance region to feature in this year’s Waterfront program in what will no doubt be a highlight of the Easter break,” said East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Mendy Urie.
“Most Victorians are familiar with the famous entrance from the Gippsland Lakes to Bass Strait, but Waterfront gives people a real opportunity to experience some of the intriguing, innovative and creative gems which are spawned by our physical waterways. East Gippsland is looking forward to welcoming visitors back for a big Easter.”
Waterfront in East Gippsland highlights include:
Opening Events and Welcome to Country with Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
GLaWAC – Wednesday 31 March: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) represents traditional owners from the Brataualung, Brayakaulung, Brabralung, Krauatungalung and Tatungalung family clans. GLaWAC actively protects culture, lands and waters, bringing strength, knowledge, skills and innovation to the region. The morning will include a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony; guided tour of the GLaWAC Culture Centre, a panel discussion about water rights with Traditional Owners, followed by lunch from the GLaWAC Bush Café. Panel discussion guests include: GLaWAC Policy and Program Manager Lisa Hocking and water law and policy expert Erin O’Donnell. Free admission – bookings required!
Waterfront: FLOATing with School of unTourists
Fisherman’s Landing Jetty and Boat Ramp – Thursday 1 April: 10.00am – 1.00pm
Join School for unTourists for a kayak tour of Lake Tyers to learn more about this extraordinary body of water, the movement for ‘personhood’ to protect its future and the impact the devastating 2020 bushfires has had on its health. Guests will then dock their kayaks at FLOAT – a floating studio and artist residency – for a talk by local artist and curator Josephine Jakobi. Finishing the event is the meditative interactive Kayak Orchestra sound performance. Equipped with sonified kayaks, participants will create gentle drifting layers of tones in a minimal, improvised composition made up of the sounds of other paddlers, bird calls, the splashes of jumping fish and the wind in the reeds. Ticketed event!
Waterfront: Seaweed Appreciation Dinner
Sodafish Restaurant – Thursday 1 April: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
Explore how to prepare, cook and enjoy sustainably sourced marine foods by Sodafish Restaurant Owner and Executive Chef Nick Mahlook (ex-Atlantic) for a very special Seaweed Appreciation Dinner. Curated by Lichen Kelp, Mahlook will prepare a special menu from sustainably sourced local seaweeds and seafood, accompanied by matched drinks. Ticketed event!
Waterfront: Slipway Salon – Talks Program
Slipway Sheds – Saturday 3 April: 10.00am – 4.00pm
A series of design and creative-entrepreneurship discussions and workshops at the historic Slipways Sheds. Speakers will include Mathew Bate, author of children’s seaweed book A Little Kelp from Our Friends, Michael Duncan, General Manager of quarterly newspaper Gippslandia and Chris and Gabrielle Moore the makers behind Sailors Grave Brewing. Free admission – bookings required!
Waterfront: Pop-Up Bathing and Site Tour
Metung Hot Springs – Saturday 3 April: 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Join the team behind Metung Hot Springs on an immersive tour of the future Hot Springs site. Learn about the redevelopment of the 500-metre deep bore, the benefits of the 45-degree geothermal mineral water, the phasing and staging of the development, and most importantly, finish the tour with an opportunity to bathe in the ‘pop up hot springs’ whilst taking in breathtaking views of the Gippsland Lakes. (Don’t forget to pack your bathers and a towel!). Free admission – bookings required!
“Building on the success of earlier Waterfront programs for Melbourne Design Week, CAV|OHM is thrilled to be bringing Waterfront to East Gippsland for the first time,” said CAV|OHM Executive Director and Chief Curator Fleur Watson.
“Working closely with the NGV and local collaborators such as the School for unTourists, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and the East Gippsland Shire Council, Waterfront offers everyone the opportunity to take a deep dive into our collective relationship with water and the role that design and creative practice can play in shaping a positive and more sustainable future for our waterways.”
The 2021 Waterfront program runs 26 March – 5 April, with the dedicated East Gippsland Waterfront program being presented from 30 March – 3 April 2021. For more information and full program, visit: www.openhousemelbourne.org for details.
Image: Waterfront – photo by Keelan O’Hehir