Annual Report Think+DO Tank Foundation exists to increase the level of community self-direction over their everyday circumstances in low-income parts of South Western and Western Sydney.
WHAT WE DO FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Think+DO Tank Foundation has quickly earned a reputation as an ideas factory, and as a creative, connecting force in the communities in which we work. We create collaborative and participatory public art and community development projects, and social enterprises. Think+DO Tank Foundation takes a deep expertise in social policy; an understanding built at “eye-level” with communities; and the power of the arts, to enable the people in the communities where we work to strengthen their connections, and become agents for change in their own lives. We are human connection in action. We are creativity with purpose. Our vision is of proud, creative, connected communities that draw on the skills of their members to achieve shared community goals. Since 2013, we have been creating and leading ambitious arts and community development projects to make South Western and Western Sydney better places in which to live. The Think+DO Tank Foundation has transitioned into a new phase in the last reporting period. From the fledgling outfit powered single-handedly, we are now a collective with full-time employees; a team of talented contractors and volunteers supported by a dedicated Board; and long-standing partners. The community support for our work has been overwhelming and is creating a new and very welcome challenge for our work. One of our projects alone – LOST IN BOOKS – has attracted more than 60 volunteers! The work we do is necessary. In an era in which governments tout “innovation”, we challenge perceptions of what is possible in the delivery of social outcomes in low-income communities. We challenge traditional service models and ways of doing things. We open up collective space so that we can envisage and create together. Ultimately, we work to increase community self-direction over everyday life. I offer the thanks of the Foundation and my own thanks from the heart to each and every one of the generous organisations and individuals who make up the warp and weft of our body of work. We hope that ties between us grow stronger and that we continue to tell our story with you alongside us. 
Jane Stratton Creative Director
Jane Stratton Think+DO Tank Foundation holds copyright in this Annual Report and all artistic works within it. You must not reproduce or adapt the Report or any part of it without express prior permission from Think+DO Tank Foundation. ©Think+DO Tank Foundation 2017 An extraordinary amount of work has been progressed by the Think+DO Tank Foundation. The Motion Room has become an incubator for innovative, community-driven ideas. The program has established solid, long-term foundations in Green Valley, using new and creative techniques for community engagement and co-creation. TDTF’s community research identified food security as a critical issue. The ‘GROW WELL’ strategy is a response to that challenge. Similarly, community reflections on poor, inaccessible, unaffordable, or non-existent public transport has led to the development of ‘THAT’S MY TROLLEY’ and ‘THE PEOPLE MOVERS’. The craving for a safer, more connected, better fed, and supportive community has led to the exciting crowd-funded ‘LOST IN BOOKS’ project; and the partnership with key partner, Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre ,and the Strong & Supportive Aboriginal Women’s Group, to build ‘THE GATHERING PLACE’. There is more where that came from! For instance, Jane Stratton has developed for TDTF ‘DIGITAL FUTURES’, a high-speed, low-cost digital connectivity enterprise for low-income households, that was tested with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and BT Financial Group in 2016. These projects are exciting and tangible illustrations of the TDTF purpose. The energy they are creating in the community is tangible. Their impact will be significant, long lasting and community-owned. TDTF’s work schedule has been ambitious and accompanied by the normal challenges of rapid organisational growth. IT and budgetary systems have been tested. We met that challenge through an overhaul of the TDTF’s financial management and reporting systems and processes. It’s been a busy and productive period, with so much more on the horizon. In this report, TDTF acknowledges its many collaborations, contributors and funding partnerships that have helped bring about positive change for communities. Thanks to Jane Stratton, for her prodigious and sustained efforts throughout this year. Her energy, creativity and positivity are formidable. Thanks also to the members of the TDTF Board, who have assisted in managing TDTF’s growth by providing sage advice and expertise to the Foundation. I know that the Board and Jane are all looking forward to the year ahead and the opportunities it will bring to build upon the exciting work that has been done to date. Siobhán McCann Chair, Think+DO Tank Foundation CHAIR
Siobhan McCann Digital INCLUSION Around one in two low-income Australian households has internet at home. Nationally, close to nine in ten homes are connected to the internet. We know low-income consumers: • have mobiles • are more likely to rely on phone data for communications/internet, and • find data costs unaffordable. The future of the internet is in wireless and mobile data. Mobile technology is at a tipping point. We feel that there is an urgency in finding ways for the poorest in society to come for the ride. Community Safety Whilst reported crime rates are falling, the conventional wisdom around the Green Valley Postcode remains: “don’t go out at night”. The perception of safety remains low. And for some segments of the population, principally women, rates of domestic and family violence are around 18% higher than the NSW average which is itself, climbing. If people feel unsafe, they are less likely to accept shift work; socialise; or feel safe using public transport independently. Food Security Food security refers to someone’s ability to find food for themselves and their family that is right for their wallet, their culture and their body. That is: is it affordable; appropriate; and nutritious? On average in Australia, 6% of the population does not enjoy food security. But in low-income segments of the population, such as in the parts of South Western Sydney in which we work and amongst newly arrived migrants and refugees generally, rates of food insecurity range from 25% to more than 75%. Transport Disadvantage Transport disadvantage is complex. If people experience transport disadvantage, they do not have access to safe or affordable transport solutions. This affects wellbeing, mental health, and a person’s overall capacity to participate in society, the economy, educational opportunities, as well as their freedom of movement, and freedom of choice for shopping, services, recreation and leisure. WHY - to what end? • Quality & Activation of public spaces The quality of the built environment affects what is possible in public and shared spaces. If residents and users of public space feel under surveillance or locked in or out, they are on guard, senses primed to fend off unwanted attention. The obverse is true. If public space is well-designed to create an invitation for social uses and instills through sight-lines, lighting, proximity and curation of uses, a feeling of safety, people will use the space differently. • Community Self-Direction The long-term goal of the Think+DO Tank Foundation’s work is to increase the extent to which local community members exercise greater control, individually and collectively, over their everyday lives and circumstances. For us, this means: • generating home-grown community solutions by helping our community collaborators see that they have the power to transform complaint into solutions • seeing value in working with others including those unlike ourselves • building confidence to make collective decisions and to control resources for the common good. WITH WHOM: • Women Women are key influencers of the tides of community life. We focus on women in our work both for their influence, and for their needs. We work in different ways with women from all parts of the community, including migrant and refugee women, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. • Children and Young People Working with women means we work with their children. We seek to engage children and young people to address identified needs including: • spaces dedicated for young people with rich activities on offer • avenues for training in the arts and creative industries • opportunities for creative self-expression, and • increased opportunity to acquire and practice English. THINK+DO TANK KEY DOMAINS
THE MOTION ROOM [2015 - 2018]
LWRC Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre TAFE SWSi New Horizons Miller Health Promotion, South Western Sydney Local Health District Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF, Inquiry Designer, TDTF Afaf Al-Shammari, TDTF volunteer Olivia Nguy + Team, Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre
The Motion Room is a long-term project in the Green Valley/ 2168 Postcode Area, Liverpool NSW. We use the arts to experiment, alongside local residents and services, with what could be possible if things were otherwise in Green Valley. We inquire into the root causes of the challenges local people experience, and see if we can find a workable solution by thinking like artists – outside the box. We have identified some of 2168’s most pressing concerns, including food production, local transport, personal safety, digital inclusion, and the quality of public space. These issues have a real impact on the daily life, well-being, health and personal freedoms of the people in the 2168 community. The Motion Room is joining with local people to think and do something together, to find positive new ways to engage and link people and resources to meet these needs. From November 2014 – January 2016, TDTF and community partners administered more than 200 responses to two surveys in the Green Valley area, designed by TDTF, to inquire into: • food security, and • transport disadvantage. We used these findings to inform our work.
They reflected on their experiences living there, and their dreams for the future of Green Valley.
LWRC TDTF PYT Fairfield Katie Green, Lead Artist Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Nikki Tighe, Facilitator
SHORTS 2168 put cameras and audio equipment into the hands of diverse women who call the Green Valley community home. They reflected on their experiences living there, and their dreams for the future of Green Valley. We helped them to record their thoughts and brought them into conversation with one another, culminating in a community screening that the women hosted and catered at the Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre. SHORTS 2168 was led by artist, Katie Green with Jane Stratton of TDTF. It was part of THE MOTION ROOM’s early inquiry into how the local community understood itself and its strengths and challenges.
SHORTS 2168 [2015 ] Mapping 2168 [2015 ] Province Studio PYT Fairfield Miller Square Shopping Centre Province Studio (Anne-Louise Dadak and Laura Pike) Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF
Laura Pike and Anne-Louise Dadak are Province Studio. As part of The Motion Room, they set themselves up at the food court of the Miller Shopping Centre in April - May 2015 with some simple questions: How do you move around here? Local residents shared the pattern of their daily movements, along with some hints on how the local area could be improved and what it means to them. More than 45 local people mapped their world for Province, adding comments and feelings to the map and drawing where they went and how they got around. Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands Liverpool District Men’s Shed Health Promotion, SWSLHD Phil Pettit, Community Greening Coordinator, Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Benjamin Issam Chahoula, Health Promotion Officer, South Western Sydney Local Health District
Building on TDTF’s survey into food security, we partnered with the Community Greening team, Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands to deliver a permaculture workshop series, GROW WELL 2168. GROW WELL 2168 builds local residents’ confidence to grow food at home, deal with pests and make compost. With the help of the Liverpool District Men’s Shed, we were also able to sell low-cost garden beds and vertical gardens to participants. Since mid-2017, it has been taken over and run by Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre who secured funding to build a community kitchen and nursery that the GROW WELL workshops support. GROW WELL 2168 [2015 + 2016 ] BUILD THE SOLUTION [2015 ] TAFE SWSi LWRC Liverpool District Men’s Shed Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF John Quine, TAFE SWSi Nikki Tighe, LWRC Joey Ruigrok van der Werven, Production Designer
After an initial period of inquiry and consultation, we wanted to enable local people to take action. We had heard that they were tired of being asked questions without seeing any change. So we offered the community “BUILD THE SOLUTION” with a production designer, Joey Ruigrok van der Werven to see what we could affect. We partnered with the LWRC who had recruited a team of women seeking trades skills. We worked with the women, training them in basic carpentry and the use of powertools. Together, we experimented with cost-effective and safe designs for garden boxes and vertical gardens to promote growing food at home. Their designs were then put into production, pro bono, by the Liverpool District Men’s Shed with materials supplied by TDTF. TDTF sold vertical gardens and garden beds at cost to local residents who wanted to grow food at home, affordably.
Miller Technology High School Joey Ruigrok van der Werven, Production Designer Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Alex Treuer, ex-Miller Technology High School
TDTF responded to our survey findings on the high levels of transport disadvantage due to the low levels of access to cars, by developing collapsible trolleys that could increase the range of local residents, including those who are infirm; or who have children. The trolleys will allow for shopping, and transport of people and materials over distance. Joey Ruigrok van der Werven produced a prototype with the assistance of Year 9 Automotive Team students at Miller Technology High School. Overall, the community response was a unanimous cry, “where can I get one of those?”. We are now working to secure funding to improve functionality, reduce weight, and to ensure an affordable price-point.
Strong & Supportive Aboriginal Women’s Group LWRC Strong & Supportive Aboriginal Women’s Group Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Joey Ruigrok van der Werven, Production Designer David Hawkes, Carpenter Nikki Tighe, Facilitator Rosheen Saunders, Community Development Worker
THE GATHERING PLACE responds to the call from local Aboriginal women in Ashcroft, Liverpool for a place for the Aboriginal community to share their culture, and to feed their community and people in the broader community. It is a mobile community centre and canteen, a cultural and educational hub “on the go”. THE GATHERING PLACE [2015, 2016 + 2017 ]
Woolworths Green Valley Woolworths, Miller Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Luke Cignarella & Afaf Al-Shammari, Community Connector, TDTF Kate Worseley, Dramaturg & Mentor
RED LIGHT SPECIAL [2015 +2016] RED LIGHT SPECIAL was produced and devised by Think+DO Tank Foundation, working with local emerging performers, Monica Kumar and Luke Cignarella, together with dramaturgical support from Kate Worseley. Monica, Luke and Kate were associates of Powerhouse Youth Theatre. We devised an interactive gameshow format to foster local democracy, and to find out to what extent local people in Miller and Green Valley share common dreams and understandings of their community. We staged RED LIGHT SPECIAL in the aisles of Woolworths Miller and Woolworths Green Valley in April - May 2016. Our thanks to the participants and to Woolworths staff! We found strong commonalities in local people’s priorities. They told us that if they were in charge, they would prioritise spending on: • mental health; • education; and • transport. LWRC Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Afaf Al-Shammari, Community Connector, TDTF Nikki Tighe, Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre Rosheen Saunders, Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre
2016, Liverpool City Council issued a proposed Masterplan for Miller. We worked to educate local residents about its existence and significance. We prepared a easy-to-read Citizens Guide to outline some key issues and opportunities including affordable and social housing; more frequent transport; high speed internet; community-controlled spaces; green spaces; and access to relevant and quality services. We published the Citizens Guide in English and Arabic, advocated with Council, and letter dropped the local area. Miller Masterplan Citizen’s Guide [2015 + 2016]
CHETRE, UNSW Mental Wellbeing Team, SWSLHD Western Sydney Community Forum Tracey Willow, WSCF Katie Hirono, Fiona Haigh and Karla Jaques, CHETRE Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Emily Mason & Barry Taylor, SWSLHD
the people movers [2016 + 2017] TDTF made The People Movers proposal in May 2016, asking what benefit there might be for low-income residents in the 2168 Postcode Area in the provision of an array of demand-responsive transport solutions including: • shuttles • ride-share • lift-share • improved transport information and tracking, including safety features for commuters. Demand-responsive transport means that transport is provided to meet the need of a community of users. Contemporary examples of demand-responsive transport include: Uber; GoGet; community transport providers; car-pooling; taxis. TDTF is interested in how these modes of transport could be made available to low-income consumers whose mobility is delimited by their access to a car. TDTF understands transport disadvantage to be part of an analysis of social exclusion and wellbeing. We say that transport is a factor that affects how included, active, connected, and in control of one’s life a person is. Liverpool Plaza Liverpool City Library Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Annie McKinnon, Creative Technologist
PASS IT ON was an artistic residency to further the question: How can we promote dialogue between community members that is led by them? How can we make this possible despite language barriers and distance? PASS IT ON explored processes for dialogue and for community voice that do not depend on government or other authority holders. Could we come up with a solution or a product that enabled greater exchange between local people, and that could be heard by decision makers? Annie McKinnon, Creative Technologist, stepped up to design a solution with local people in Liverpool in May - July 2016. She developed a network of interactive musical instruments that can collect data about important questions, even as they generate music, light and excitement. PASS IT ON >>> [2016 + 2017]
LWRC Sydney College of the Arts Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Pia Larsen, Printmaking Instructor & Artist Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Afaf Al-Shammari, Community Connector, TDTF
What we know [2015 + 2016 ] WHAT WE KNOW is a print-making inquiry into the know-how of local people in the Green Valley area. More than 250 years after Diderot and the French “Encylopedistes” published their celebration of local knowledge, THE MOTION ROOM artist in residence, Pia Larsen began an Encyclopedia of 2168 with local residents of the 2168 Postcode Area, recording their skills and celebrating their know-how for perpetuity. The women produced large format prints to lay the foundation for a book that we hope will grow over time. School for Social Entrepreneurs BT Finance Group Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Janet Parker-Smith, Studio Supervisor, Printmedia, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney; Afaf Al-Shammari: Community Connector, TDTF
TDTF developed a high-speed, low-cost internet business to connect low-income communities to the internet, wirelessly. “DIGITAL FUTURES 2168” will strengthen local digital capacity, and generate jobs for locals in the process. Jane Stratton refined the business model through the School of Social Entrepreneurs, supported by BT Financial Group in 2016. DIGITAL FUTURES 2168 [2016 + 2017 ]
Liverpool West Primary School Annie McKinnon, Music Tutor Olivia Stambouliah, Movement Tutor Nicole Barakat, Textiles Tutor Dayana Selevitch, Classroom Teacher Nour, Educational Assistant Jane Stratton, Creative Director, TDTF Zahra Mahde, Arabic Translator, TDTF
THE ART OF GIVING [2016 + 2017] TDTF piloted a creative arts program in a refugee transitional classroom at Liverpool West Public School in Term 3, 2016 using music, movement and textiles as a proof of concept for LOST IN BOOKS. We worked with the Acting Principal, Trish Hagan; Classroom Teacher, Dayana Selevitch, and education assistants to deliver the weekly program. Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre Marsden Road Public School Steph Peters, Artist Annie McKinnon, Creative & Digital Producer Afaf Al-Shammari, Community Connector, TDTF Alyx Dennison, Artist
WAndering books Together with partner, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre, we secured funding from SSI Innovation Fund to bring the LOST IN BOOKS creative program to newly arrived refugee families at schools in Liverpool.
Fairfield City Council Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre Bonnie Support Services Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre Yvonne Lam, Manager, LOST IN BOOKS, TDTF Jane Stratton, Creative Directcor, TDTF Dominique Hage, Architect Afaf Al-Shammari, Community Connector, TDTF Claudia Chidiac, Creative Producer, LOST IN BOOKS, TDTF
lost in books LOST IN BOOKS is a multilingual kids’ bookshop, women’s café, creative arts centre and hub for social and linguistic exchange. It began with the support of matched crowdfunding in 2016, and opened its doors in July 2017. It offers daily creative programming, outreach (WANDERING BOOKS), and a program of artistic residencies (IN OTHER WORDS). Its small team is supported by a team of more than 60 volunteers (and growing!). It operates to promote belonging, social cohesion, multilingual literacy and intergeneration and cross-cultural bonds in the most diverse place in Australia - Fairfield, South Western Sydney.