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Deanna Neville

Deanna is a practicing artist who explores photo-narrative techniques to tell stories. Much of her work involves the facilitation of communities experiencing hardship or change, such as farmers experiencing long dry years, flood-affected townships and communities traumatized by Black Saturday Fires. Deanna works closely with people and their stories, using photography to help them explore their local links with those they know, with whom they can reconnect. A collection of Deanna's collaborations can be viewed at www.issuu.com/focusoncommunity/docs

An artist in her own right, Deanna explores new and creative ideas and enjoys experimenting with large works. Having previously produced a series of four-metre-high photographs of fire fighters, Deanna's recent collection is similarly themed - a series of cloud images, many of which were photographed from the 15m fire tower atop Mt Tarrengower in Maldon, near her home. In her current collection of large images called 'On A Cloud', she shares her own personal reflections and accompanying stories gleaned from "... people who know clouds ..." Deanna is now exploring new adventures with over 500 cloud photos, and continues to experiment and play and show them using multi-platform applications.

Photographer, Deanna Neville, has been on a cloud lately. These reflections reveal some of her thoughts and connections and the threads that bring her back down to earth.

Lately, photographer Deanna Neville has been spending a bit of her time on a cloud. Deanna has been capturing images of clouds and recently had them on show and wrote about her experiences using clouds as a soft landing for some of her thoughts. And she reckons it's made her a little bit more creative too!

On A Cloud from Deanna Neville on Vimeo.

Focus on Community

What is it? A website collection of small, local grassroots community development projects aimed to strengthen and empower communities. Some of the activities described here are ideas in the making or projects that are the result of links created between artists and other innovative community members and health professionals, community workers, local businesses, agencies or organisations where the intention is to work together with the community as well as be more inclusive of minority, disadvantaged and harder to reach groups in a creative, meaningful and sustainable way. Very often the projects have been developed around a visual or performing arts theme, which is known to be an important and effective tool in community development because it engages participation of a broad cross-section of the community and can strengthen a community's abilities to promote inclusion as well as be a powerful vehicle for community mobilization, empowerment and information transfer.

Who did it? The projects have been facilitated by a variety of people in the Mount Alexander Shire in Victoria, Australia. Some have been rolled out by Deanna Neville, as well as local artists or by local community people following a series of training workshops facilitated by Deanna and attended by local residents.

Project Facilitator
For more than 10 years Deanna Neville has lived, worked and been part of the creative community fabric of Castlemaine, the local Mount Alexander Shire and the district in Central Victoria, Australia. Born and raised in a rural setting, Deanna is interested in the strength of community links and the cohesiveness that is an essential part of the spirit of good community living.

The history and evolution of strong, supportive community living in Australia came to us from the natural social and family systems of neighbourly kindness such as sharing tools with neighbours over the fence or up the road, swapping excess eggs and garden produce or hand-me-down clothes during times that were tight, or the garden excessive, such as during the depression or in communities when a regular income was scarce.

As society changes and demographics adjust, people are more often living away from family, moving to new districts where they are less connected with the local social norms. Changes in work/leisure ratios sees communities less defined by the social cricket game and barbecues to being more insular and independent, with longer hours at work and less within the neighbourhood community. As new influences impact on society, such as issues around climate change and increasing numbers of single-person households along with sole-parent families, there comes an increasing drive by governments and community and health organizations to build social sustainability. So now is a vital time to explore the values and opportunities that comes from grassroots community development, social engagement and self-determination.

Deanna has worked in visual and performing arts projects in Indigenous and public housing communities. Her background includes motivational roles in teaching, personal training, project management and project management training. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Community Planning & Development and works in a freelance capacity with local groups, governments and organizations.

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