'Meaningful Soles' is a youth spirituality and creative arts project in two parts inspired by UK artist Paul Hobbs 'Holy Ground' and bringing the idea to Australia!!

What I would like to do is broaden the project and invite people known and unknown to contribute their shoes and their story to what will become an art installation styled space with lighting, instructions, music, shoes and stories on A4 sheets for people to move amongst, reflect on and engage with.
This reinforces my own belief that every person has a story and every story is worth hearing!!
With young people it's about inviting them to reflect on the life and spirituality of others and to help them make sense of a wide variety of experiences and stories.
Participants will be from a broad spectrum of spirituality and values, the installation will not be overtly Christian only and no shoes will end up on EBay!!

Alongside Part One I will also be running worship, reflection and camping based experiences of people bringing/taking off their own shoes and writing and sharing their own stories in a similar space!
This will be an evolving experiment and photos and stories of any 'Soles' activity and developments will be shared here!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Walk a Mile in My Shoes"

What a great 'different' version of ideas here like Meaningful Soles

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Climate March in Paris

Simple but brilliant method of accomodating the Paris restrictions on protesting in the 'state of emergency' See how the intent of people is so poignantly shown through the placement of shoes!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Yurora Identity.Passsion.Sent Art.Install SHOES

   I'm curating an installation at the Uniting Church in Australia national youth event Yurora NCYC '14 7th-10th January 2014 at North Parramatta!! As part of the installation there will be opportunity to learn about some peoples stories 'through their shoes' and if you're game, share you own story!!
   You just need to write your story in large print on [1] only A4 page and they will be displayed in the space for others to encounter!! Give it a go, it's amazing the stories you'll read and share... what?

It's simple,
think about what makes you who you are,
what's been a significant story or experience
where you can write it as someone who wears the shoes you put on display....

Friday, September 2, 2011

'Meaningful Soles' Kicks Off again

Well, when you have important things to do, why not procrastinate and find alternative creative activities to 'kick start your brain' so you can get momentum for those other tasks... whatever!!
The fact is, I'm on the lookout for great stories and donated or lent shoes... remebering that everyone has a story and everyone's story is worth hearing... I have sent an email around the globe and asked for help... I have had three strong responses already and so look forward to putting some time into chasing up leads and helping people write something and send me their shoes!! Remember they'll feature in an 'installation' space with the stories and shoes in a walk through style so punters can engage in the stories and spend time reflecting on them... robhanks@bigpond.net.au to sign up or to ask questions!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stay tuned for more Shoe Stories

Although things have been very quiet on the 'shoe front' I have had contacts from several people and have pursued some leads......
I am still amazed and humbled that Dave Andrews of 'The Waiters Union' in Brisbane sent me some sandals and a story of the formative time he and wife Ange spent in India and in the early days in Brisbane!!
Donna Meehan will probably never part with he stained boots from a time as a 'human shield' in Iraq but could 'lend them' for a planned space....
And TODAY I secured a nod from Juan Mann [the 'Free Hugs' guy] to continue a dialogue and look out for a pair of shoes which might help share the message of 'Free Hugs'!!
Tristan's story of the 'postie bike' Charity ride from QLD to NT is also amore than worthy contribution.... I hope his bike boots don't get shredded... just worn out enough to attract the need for a new pair!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

2010 Round of Invitations

With Rowe's help we have just issued a renewed round of invitations for people 'with a story' and some who are 'in the public eye' to contribute a pair of shoes [on loan or permanently] and hopefully an A4 page or so sharing their story through the shoes and a sense of their values, beliefs or what's important or motivating for them!!
As before the plan is to collect shoes and stories and shape an art installation type space where people can wander, take in the stories and have the deeply personal object of the shoes as part of that reflection.
My hope is to engage young people in thinking and experiencing the decisions and values of people who have something to say and share. My hope is they will be encouraged to make choices not just let things happen, to think about what's important not just immediate and to make changes in their lives. Just a small goal!!
There do seem to be three points of difficulty:
  • shoes are an intensely personal contribution unless like many sports people you are used to donating or giving them away
  • people seem to struggle about 'the church' or faith aspect when I try to be clear it's about all perspectives
  • Maybe there's a nervousness about writing something or indeed publicly committing to it

Anyhow, we try again and hopefully will soon have a list of successful negotiations... I already have my most disappointing repeat decline but at least a chance to call and chat about it!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Meaningful Soles New York

This is a special 'one off' post about a pair of shoes I saw on display in New York recently! As part of my own interest in 'storytelling' I went to the WTC Liberty Tribute Center Gallery which is a museum [very reminiscient of the 'Berlin Wall' museum] auspiced by the 9/11 Families Association. It has some remarkable and moving displays, stories and artifacts related to the history of the World Trade Centers and the events of 9/11!!

The display in question featured quotes and photos from Mayor Guliani and his Communications Manager, Sunny Mandel who together charged all over Manhattan and Ground Zero that day in response to the attacks. It one pint she looked down to see the shoes were "completely shredded."

I have also included the postcard I wrote [like thousands of others have] which may or may not find its way onto the wall at some point and I guess it sums up my mixed views about 9/11 and its place in our history.

For me, apart from Bar Beach, Newcastle and Sydney Harbour... New York is perhaps my next favourite place in the world [after three visits] and having been to the top of those Trade Center towers it was a very weird place to go and see the obvious 'hole in the sky'.

While it's true that more people die each day in the world for lack of clean water than perished that day... who are we to make such distinctions... nothing justifies or explains what happened that day. Just as nothing excuses my first world consumerism and waste in the face of global need.

As I stood there I recalled my two previous visits [Nov/Dec 2000 and June 1998] as well as sitting in a Motel [in Tamworth ?] watching Sandra Sully on the TEN evening news [middle night of a two day UTC Supervisors Course] after 10.30pm on 11/9/01. We abandoned the second day after some time in conversation about what we were witnessing and the personal connections more than one perosn in the group had with Manhattan residents or people under our care who would be grieving and involved.