Contemporary Art + Social History
The Memory Project brings together artists, academics, historians and former occupants to activate the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Institutions Precinct as Australia's first site of conscience so that the history, heritage and legacy of institutional care is never forgotten.
This institutional precinct is a place where thousands of vulnerable women and children were confined to the care of the state. In Australia, the history of institutionalisation and the institutional experience is so little known, so poorly documented and so frequently challenged. This is what the Memory Project seeks to change through the memories and experiences of those once confined.
"Parramatta Female Factory Institutions Precinct is something that should be treasured because it is part of Australia's history, and I am part of that history."
"All my life I have struggled with feelings of worthlessness, with mental health problems and bad health. I have been abused and have abused myself, all of which I believe is due to the lack of care I experienced as a young person in the care of the state... I have been encouraged and supported throughout my involvement with the memory project as a Parragirl and as an artists, poet and author. I know my contribution is valued; my stories are heard and ideas listened to. For the first time I feel that all I went through wasn't just for nothing."
Restoring the child within
"I need to ponder and let go of all that pain and fear inside, so I can become who I really am: a strong and free being."
PROJECTS & WORKSHOPS
Reimagining a Place
"We walked out the gate 50 years ago and never thought anything more of it. You try to put it behind you and then all of a sudden you have to start to remember things and that Pandora's box is opened."
EVENTS & EXHIBITIONS
"Of all the things which occupied my mind about helping people, the most insistent was the issue of the 'stolen children'. I was one myself, and I would never lose sight of this. It was always there, and will always be there until my final hours."
Righting the Record
"At the stroke of a pen, my life changed forever...as children, what happened affected our lives in profound ways. Back then we never got the chance to read what was recorded, to correct or dispute it, or to add our own voice. We never knew what was said but we knew those words existed and they have haunted us all our lives...now a lifetime later, we revisit those marks, we read what was written about us and we are responding in our own ways to set the record straight."
"I met a lot of nice people but I still felt that I couldn't talk about all that other stuff because they would think I was a terrible and degrading person. So there were all those years of hidden identity...who am I?"
Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Inc is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
PFFP Memory Project co founder Dr Lily Hibberd is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Scheme.