Storybox Parramatta

Storybox Parramatta

Storybox brings a unique approach to building digital engagement tools and storytelling in public spaces

Storybox Parramatta has launched in Parramatta Square, displaying creative digital stories of Parramatta’s past, present and future.

Storybox is a two-metre multimedia cube with digital screens that stream visual stories created by the community and footage from the ABC Archives. Visit the innovative installation from 7am to 10pm daily to view content from established and emerging Western Sydney digital storytellers, artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers as well as the community. These works include digital videos, photos, ABC archival footage, sketches, poetry, Tiny Stories, interactive media, portraits and quotes about life in Parramatta.

City of Parramatta is a key partner in Storybox Parramatta, which is being led by digital placemaking studio ESEMProjects in collaboration with ABC Content Ideas Lab, Western Sydney University, Story Factory, Curious Works and Form Dance.

The community is invited to contribute their stories as part of the ‘Tiny Stories’ series

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Uncle Greg

Uncle Greg is a Gadigal man and Aboriginal elder living in Western Sydney. His ties to the Aboriginal community of Greater Western Sydney are through ancestral links to the Gundungurra (Water dragon Lizard people) of the Blue Mountains and the Gadigal (whale people) of the Darug nation.  

"I grew up in La Perouse and now live in Greater Western Sydney, and I am a  a Community Liaison Officer with Ability Options providing employment services specifically to Aboriginal people with a disability or a health condition."

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Parramatta Dance

Parramatta is a gathering place for people from many different cultures. This dance edit captures the many exciting dance cultures of Parramatta. 

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Elizabeth Farm Fashion, 1959

As part of the online launch of Storybox, the ABC has curated a selection of video sourced from deep within the ABC Archive that shows snapshots of life in Parramatta in the 50s and 60s. A touch of recolouring harks back to earlier eras of film colour treatments.

This content is provided by the ABC for the Storybox project

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Parramatta was an established and bustling city centre long before it was declared Sydney’s second CBD. It was founded in 1788, the same year as Sydney, and is rich in historical landmarks including St John’s Cathedral, the Centennial Memorial Clock, Town Hall and Lancer Barracks. Take a little journey back in time and encounter some of Parramatta’s many heritage sites that still stand today.

This content is provided by the ABC for the Storybox project

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Blue Mountains Bush Regeneration

In late 2019 and early 2020, fires ripped through parts of the Blue Mountains, stripping and blackening thousands of hectares of bushland.

A layer of smoke blanketed Sydney for months and became a constant reminder of the intensity of the bushfires and the communities battling them. Parramatta’s air quality reached hazardous levels and its burgeoning city skyline disappeared for days at a time.

Months on, this peaceful walkthrough of those affected areas acts as important reminder of the fires and acknowledges nature’s incredible ability to recover.

This content is provided by the ABC for the Storybox project

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Place Portraits

Alissar Chidiac is a community cultural development worker based in Parramatta. She has worked extensively with culturally and linguistically diverse communities across Western Sydney, especially Arab Australian communities. ​

About the artist

Brad Robson is a Sydney-based contemporary painter and street artist, working out of his studio space in Sydney's Inner West. Over the coming months Storybox Parramatta will be commissioning more portraits of Parramatta identities. 

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The Mangroves of Parramatta River

Parramatta is a place defined by its river. Its name refers to the original inhabitants, the Barramattagal, a name thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word for 'place where the eels lie down'.

This place name speaks to the vital historical role played by river systems in supporting rich food ecologies. Mangroves, like those along the river, are also excellent at storing carbon, both in plants and in the sediments below. They can store five times more carbon in their soils than terrestrial ecosystems such as forests.

This content is provided by ESEM for the Storybox project

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Trace Parramatta

This artwork is a collaboration between Esem Projects and Richard Briggs, commissioned for Storybox Parramatta.

Parramatta is a city once described as the 'infrastructure capital of the world' by former NSW Premier Mike Baird. Suburban streets and single storey office buildings are making way for multi-story apartment blocks wherever one looks.

Richard's line drawings have an affinity for both the everydayness and the beautiful complexity of these rapid changes.

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Earth Moving Anxiety (2016)

Artist Statement

A lot of my memory is the neighbourhood underneath scaffolding and cranes. Earthmoving Anxiety is a piece of choreography imagining the end of development.

The promise of capitalism is progress, the endless acceleration of technology and society. This dance between two excavators and their operators thinks about the limits of progress and asks: 'If there was an end to building where would the earthmovers go?'

— By Kalanjay Dhir.

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Story Factory
Ensure Poetry

Story Factory is a partner on the Storybox Parramatta project. You can take a storytelling workshop with Story Factory at their Redfern and Parramatta studios.

For Art Write Light ESEM Projects worked with Story Factory and students to create a visual storytelling treatment for the 2019 Art Write Light Program. This work features 'erasure poetry' created by school students from Granville and Holroyd High Schools. You can learn more about the beautiful Art Write Light program here.

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