SPEAKER: Amanda Grant

Amanda Grant

Amanda Grant works with artists, community leaders and local government facilitating creative projects in disaster affected areas. She began this work in 2009 following the Black Saturday Fires and has worked in communities following the 2014 fires in Macedon Ranges, Hume and Mitchell Shires, the 2015 Lancefield fires, and is currently working with the Creative Recovery Network training other artists to facilitate creative recovery projects in Gippsland.

Through this work, Amanda manages large complex creative projects that require a high level of community engagement. She is best known for her work on the Blacksmiths’ Tree, a 10 metre high stainless steel and copper sculpture and native garden in Strathewen, forged by blacksmiths around the world, and constructed by local welders and volunteers. The Blacksmiths' Tree was created in memory of the events of Black Saturday 2009, and as a symbol of resilience, love, compassion and transformation.

She believes that the greatest strength communities have throughout disasters is connectivity; knowing who can help, who needs help, what everyone is doing, how everyone is feeling and what people need. Creative projects are essential to feed this connectivity and provide environments for people to talk, grieve, plan and sometimes celebrate, often attracting people who wouldn’t otherwise meet. Amanda has seen first-hand the role of creative practice in the post disaster environment in fostering magical connections, and opportunities for finding meaning and joy in a new life beyond disaster.