Collaborative themes link art and work for Deb

For CVGT Australia Learning and Development Officer Deb Wain, collaboration is a theme she enjoys exploring across her art and her work.

Deb is one of the artists on show this week at Bendigo’s Dudley House as part of the annual Co.Lab exhibition.

The project, in its tenth year, brings together visual artists and writers to produce complementary works.
Deb, a writer, has been involved in the exhibition for several years. This year she has contributed to two works – one with artist Kristine Shephard, and the other with her sister Narelle Wain.

It is a partnership she loves to renew.

“We are both our own worst critics and each other’s biggest supporters,” Deb says.

“At the moment she’s a long way away, so she sends me photos of what she’s working on and it blows my mind.”

Working with her sister, Deb says, has motivated her to get back to writing after struggling to find time during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve actually really enjoyed collaborative projects since the advent of COVID-19 because it is a way to make connection with another artist,” Deb says.

“It’s also keeps you on track, keeps you honest – accountability – because you’ve said you’ll do this particular piece of writing for someone or for something.

“Without that I found I didn’t do very much writing in 2020.

“I quite like that visual prompt for creation, and using it as a stepping off point to get some writing started.

“Sometimes the piece might end up being quite divergent from what you started with, but I think it’s a really interesting link.”

Deb joined CVGT in March 2021, looking for stable work after a career in the education sector.

“With COVID I decided I needed something that was new challenge, a bit different, but also a bit of stability for me,” she says.

“I suppose I was really drawn to CVGT because it’s not-for-profit. I was looking for something that was going to feel good, as well as just being stable employment.

“I see this as connecting to community – community matters and it speaks to our (organisational) Culture Code.

“I know it’s outside of our normal remit I suppose, but the arts have really taken a hit in terms of employment so I think that’s linked to what we do as well.”

The exhibition at Dudley House on View Street in Bendigo runs until Sunday 22 August.

Entry is free and the exhibition is open 10am until 4pm each day. QR check-in and COVID mask rules are in place.

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