Port to Port: a project created by remote collaborators around regional SA

Port to Port – A visual story connecting South Australia’s coastal towns (and digital collaborators in them).

Port to Port has been a five year long project supported by many creative partners and regional collaborators.  Its began in late 2014 as regional artists began to talk about how to work together and create beautiful projections on local landmarks – an idea that seemed impossible due to budget and distance. Small steps forward with the help of Arts SA and the Regional Arts fund enabled workshops and pilot projects to bring artists together in short bursts to experiment with projection art and storytelling through largescale projection and events.

In 2016 the project accomplished its first huge public outcome with support of Festivals Australia and Tunarama to work with the Port Lincoln community and local artists on a large collaborative production of local stories and artworks, projected onto the Silos during the 2016 Tunarama festival. The 5 nights of light minidocumentary by film maker Mark Thomas tells the story of how this exciting project unfolded, and it was recognised with an Australian Event Award for best regional SA event in 2016.

Illuminart artists continued working on building the network and throughout the year presented a series of workshops including with community in Port Pirie, Whyalla, Goolwa and Port Adelaide. The enthusiasm for working collectively to build stories and create a body of work continued to grow, as did the creative network.

At the end of 2016 illuminart were granted three years of funding support from Australia Council for the Arts to develop, build and present the project. The first stage involved reaching out to communities to invite them to become partners, and call out for artists willing to be involved and employed as regional collaborators, representing their region and helping to build a network of artists with relevant skills.

In early 2017 there were a group of regional creative people who committed to be involved, mentored and trained (becoming known as Leading Lights for their role in sharing local stories and representing their region through the medium of light) and they gathered several times during the next three years to learn new skills, work on projects together in their own and other regional communities, and see projection art work presented.  Many of the group eventually directed their own projects and events, and were involved in developing important projection and art initiatives in their region, supported by illuminart.

As communities agreed to become partners and hosts to the project, the mentees worked with local artists, historians, schools, musicians and cultural groups to develop locally significant stories. There were a range of tall tales, natural riches and colourful themes, and often a sailing ship story due to the important Port connections.  They collected hundreds of stories, and the best were chosen, lovingly crafted into animated art, ready for projection. Many of the stories are connected to the theme of Port to Port – and involving people in telling stories about their place.

The mentee leading lights involved other regional people in the creation of stories about their area and the experience of participation was widespread throughout the project. As each story was created, to a special process developed for the project, it was coached along by experienced artists from illuminart who provided assistance where needed, and as each story was completed it was carefully prepared for the large public presentation.

The project was directed by Cindi Drennan, with project management by Verity Brookes, and involving artists Andy Petrusevics, Zero, Craig Laurendet and other team members to facilitate the project and support regional digital arts mentees in developing skills and professional experience.

In a unique odyssey, a vehicle specially equipped with high powered projectors sponsored by Epson Australia, toured and presented the stories in a specially curated projection event in 17 towns. The tour, known as Travelling Light, took all the stories around SA in 17 places, including Mount Gambier, Beachport, Victor Harbor, Onkaparinga, the Yorke Peninsula, Iron Triangle and West Coast of SA… touring over 2000 kilometres of coastline to share projection art storytelling with South Australians.  It coincided with the South Australian Living Artists festival (SALA) from the 1st August 2019 and culminated in a final presentation on the 28th September 2019. For full details of the tour please visit http://travellinglight.illuminart.com.au

The final stage of the project will package the stories created into an interactive digital display, housed on the Falie Ketch. It will feature stories created in and told about, the many places that the Ketch once sailed to, or that relied on the Ketch to buy and sell supplies in the early days of settlement. We hope to launch the interactive display in late 2020.

This opportunity has been amazing. My arts practice has entirely shifted to animation as a result. The menteeship with illuminart opened doors for me that I would never have imagined possible. ...I can see my techniques, skills, interest and knowledge developing further with each engagement I have and project I participate on.

Susanne Wegener (Regional Artist/Animator and Mentee)

Other Info


  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Flinders Ports
  • City of Onkaparinga
  • District Council of Streaky Bay
  • City of Victor Harbor
  • Festival Fleurieu
  • District Council of Yankalilla
  • Copper Coast Council
  • Harry Butler Memorial at Minlaton
  • City of Mount Gambier
  • Flinders Ranges Council
  • City of Whyalla
  • District Council of Elliston
  • and many more…



Project Team

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