Audio + Placemaking: Legends Laneway, Warwick Qld

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Last Saturday, on a windy winter’s day, a group of us from The Story Project drove to Warwick for the launch of the Legends Laneway project: ‘an audio + visual tribute’ to some of the more notable business owners in the town. The project was the brainchild of Julie Keogh from the local chamber of commerce and showcases a suite of audio stories I produced that are born out of oral history recording.

Picture me interviewing wily Jim Samios, former Greek migrant and owner of the Belle Vue Cafe, and the sheer ritual in being part of his morning coffees in the back room of his gift shop: or meeting veteran auctioneer, Jennifer (“Mrs”) Brown at the pig and cattle sales - what must surely be one of the more sonically rich places I’ve been to lately - as she sat there regal as the queen of Warwick, collecting her receipts on that hot and dusty day.

This project is using digital media very effectively to build connections, share local stories and engage a broader audience. The audio stories I produced are now QR activated in one of the town’s busiest laneways. They sit neatly beneath the suite of pictures that were taken by local photographer, Storm Lahiff. Her photos are beautiful black and whites: both head and shoulder shots along with smaller pictures of hands: whether wrinkled and worn or holding something as important as as circuit meter - these hand shots visually demonstrate something of the lives lived and the many years of work.

The arrangement of these images, with text and QR activation codes along on a heritage wall is beautifully done. This project is arresting for visitors visually and sonically and reflects something of the rich history, dry wits and deep connections these people have to both the town and each other. But it is also a very simply and cost effective use of community space using digital media. If regional communities are doing it hard with the drought, then this project is surely pushing back with just the right amount of love, craft and care. A pleasure to be involved!

Hamish Sewell