Present to the Future

An intergenerational storytelling project, where elderly people’s life journeys are illustrated by children onto kites, which are flown in a huge celebration.


‘Present to the Future’ is an installation/workshop for children, their parents and elderly people which occurred in July 2016 as part of the Way Out West Festival at Casula Powerhouse. The installation created a connection between generations, where children wrote future fables inspired by elderly people’s true life stories. They immortalised them on kites launched together in a final group ceremony.

The installation connected generations, facilitated an exchange of experience, provided a space for oral tradition of storytelling, and inspired children to voice their ideas about the future. It treated participants equally, naming them senior and junior participants.

The installation consisted of a dome structure which filled the space, serving as story or memory capsule. Every 15 minutes, groups of 10 junior participants entered the large dome with their parents, to listen to a 10 minute story hosted by a senior participant. The stories were  workshopped in community consultations leading up to the event and were around themes such as love, migration, family, food, holidays, hard times, and work. This story session was facilitated by an artist who followed the group through for their entire session.

The group emerged from the dome, and junior participants were invited to talk about what the story meant to them, and illustrate their ideas in sketches on pieces of paper, which would later be re-drawn on their own homemade kites. In their own time, they moved to the ‘making space’, where together with their parents they translate their illustration onto a kite. In this ‘making space’ their storytelling is assisted by additional artists and senior participants.

On the last day of the installation, the kites were launched in a wishing ceremony, that the stories of the past would translate into possibilities for the future.

IMG_0172_edited IMG_0101_edited IMG_0100_edited IMG_0081_edited IMG_0011_edited IMG_0008_edited IMG_0110_edited IMG_0096_edited IMG_0080_edited IMG_0073_edited IMG_0063_edited IMG_0042_edited IMG_0034_edited IMG_0027_edited