2014 – Onwards
The full “Bidwill needs a bit of a serious makeover, needs some richer people, it needs shops, a swimming pool, needs a resort, or it needs someone to build a massive FUNPARK right in the middle of Bidwill,” Reanne Shephard, 14-year-old local resident + seed idea for the original FUNPARK in 2020.
FUNPARK is a sustained arts engagement project presented in and for the Mt Druitt community. Since its premiere in 2014 Sydney Festival, FUNPARK has developed into a sustained collective impact project – led by a coalition of five acclaimed companies. Now entering its seventh year, FUNPARK 2020 highlights the narratives of Mt Druitt youth and its residents through unique and critical expression of their Australian cultures.
FUNPARK 2020 was a part of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney #NIRIN. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FUNPARK moved its festival online from May 6th – June 24th! Anyone with a phone or computer was able to tune in to FUNPARK’s Facebook page to join the online workshops or watch the 2020 Mt. Druitt Press Conference. The full digital report for FUNPARK 2020, designed by Huy Nguyen, can be found here. All the livestreamed videos can still be viewed here.
On December 5th, Bidwill’s FUNPARK, a mini-documentary directed by Sivani Yaddanapudi, premiered online.
FUNPARK was founded by artist Karen Therese who grew up in Bidwill, Mt Druitt in the 1980’s, returning back to Bidwill as an adult in 2012 she saw the community was in a critical need. The community had been forgotten and left to endure profound poverty, social isolation with thousands of young people without sports or cultural engagement even the local shop had been abandoned and children were buying lollies and milk from the local bottle shop.
Home to large Aboriginal, Pacific Islander and migrant populations, Bidwill is a suburb in Sydney’s outer west with the highest proportion of public housing in NSW. It’s a complex and heavily stigmatised community – often associated with social and economic disadvantage, and crime.
Originally presented as part of the 2014 Sydney Festival, FUNPARK is committed to long term change for young people and their families through a unique cultural exchange and program. Focusing on the suburb of Bidwill, through on-going creative learning programs, FUNPARK culminates into a site responsive, cross art-form community program and event that transforms the abandoned shopping centre and surrounding spaces of Bidwill into a cultural FUNPARK, a public art space, a playground incorporating performance, installation, activism, critical debate and social engagement.
FUNPARK is the only sustained arts engagement project presented in and for the Bidwill community.
Now entering its seventh year, FUNPARK 2020 will highlight the narratives of Mt Druitt youth and its residents through unique and critical expression of their Australian cultures. FUNPARK focuses on alternative education models, creative skills development, vitality, and to develop and embed urgent youth leadership models.
Program Co-ordinator for 2019-2021: Daisy Montalvo
Creative Producer: Sivani Yaddanapudi
Community Liaison Officer: Robyn Hardge-Scott
FUNPARK COALITION: CuriousWorks, PYT Fairfield, Learning Ground, Bidwill Uniting and Blacktown Arts Centre.
FUNPARK is proudly supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.
Daisy’s development as a community leader on this project has been supported by Curious Women, a program funded through the Australia Council of the Arts.