DIO Community Mural

Small Shift was engaged by Hume Community Housing Association to provide community art facilitation services for its residents. Based on the community directions, we designed an interactive painting through which the residents can communicate via messages and drawings; and co-created a mural with the community through a workshop.

Often communities’ challenges, values and aspirations come out when they are working on a project together, not through formal surveys. The participants, who didn’t think of themselves as creatives in the beginning, inspired each other with techniques, ideas and stories, and created something that represents them. After we finished, we lined up the boards and stared at them in silence as if we had agreed to do so. It was an amazing moment.

The residents are creating a colourful mural by each adding in patterns and shapes that are meaningful to them.


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The mural is nearly complete.

DIO Darlinghurst

What we now call the Small Shift Model was first piloted in Darlinghurst in 2015-2016, when Julia Suh (Urban Toolbox) partnered with Rough Edges, a community café for people experiencing homelessness. The project had over 30+ participants including members of the street community and local residents who contributed to mural painting, street library set-up and gardening. The positive impact of the project was measured through before-and-after surveys, interviews, behavioural studies and social media responses. The learnings from this pilot project and Julia’s Westpac Social Change Fellowship informed the operational and strategic plans for Small Shift.

With DIO Darlinghurst as a case study, this documentary explores urban inequity that we face today, global practices that we can learn from and the purpose of our work.
Taking advantage of the project location on a main street, we invited the public to be curious and engage with the project and the community.

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DIO Telopea

Julia Suh was selected by City of Parramatta to pitch her idea to the Parramatta and the wider community in the Pitch for Good Parramatta program. She raised over $14,000 from the 30-day crowdfunding campaign to take the Small Shift model to Sydney’s west and implement a DIO project in Telopea. Small Shift is now working with the Telopea community, well supported by local organisations, to come up with great DIO ideas for the area.

> Are you part of the Telopea community and want to get involved? Sign up here.

DIO Telopea crowdfunding campaign video
A Community Ideas Workshop was held in Dec 2018 and led to a series of ideas for Waratah Shopping Centre’s public spaces.

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This project received support from the community and the City of Parramatta Council through the Parramatta Pitch for Good program.

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DIO Kingswood

Small Shift is working with Penrith City Council, supported by Mission Australia and Evolve Housing, to facilitate a positive social change in public spaces in Kingswood, a suburb in Greater Western Sydney. Small Shift is supporting Kingswood community to reimagine and create a welcoming gateway to the suburb with quick and easy placemaking ideas that will improve the perception of safety, social opportunities and the look and feel of the area.

> Are you part of the Kingswood community and want to get involved? Sign up here or join our DIO Kingswood Facebook group

The project site has generous footpaths, a newly upgraded park, a series of shops, a train station and a well-used post office. Small Shift taps into existing positive conditions to maximise project impact.  

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DIO Seaforth

Seaforth Piazza is a public space located in the heart of Seaforth that connects the beautiful, volunteer-run Balgowlah-Seaforth Library, Seaforth Village Community Centre and a café. It is visually, historically and geographically positioned to be a community hub, but is currently underutilised. Taking advantage of the lower level of the Piazza that is protected from vehicles, Small Shift worked with Seaforth and Balgowlah residents, schools and businesses to activate the area with family-friendly and inclusive DIO ideas. Three community members led a component of the project each: community chalkboard/mural; new plants and planters painted by local children; and giant games.

Seaforth Piazza Activation video

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