Making Place 1

An RMIT graduate has turned the Bowen Street courtyard into her very own interactive canvas, just in time to introduce new students to the NAS project during O-Week.

Sam Harlow-Black, an RMIT textiles design graduate, used an elective course to gain experience in creating public art. This culminated in an interactive display of her piece ‘Making Place’, exhibited in the New Academic Street (NAS) precinct.

Sam signed up for the Urban Animators: Living Laboratory elective after looking for an opportunity to branch out from her usual field and ‘learn more about how the art world works’. The course, which offers students a ‘real world’ brief from the NAS team, was the perfect outlet for Sam to exercise the skills she’s developed from Teaching, Art Therapy and Textiles Design degrees.

‘I took the subject not really knowing what it was going to be, but I knew that as a textile designer I didn’t really want to do commercial work and I was leaning more towards public art.’

After successfully pitching her concept to her Urban Animators tutor, Grace Leone, and the RMIT NAS team, Sam set up on Bowen Street during O-Week and called on students milling around campus to help her weave Making Place together.

Constructed from recycled caution tape and white plastic, Sam repurposed various symbols of hazard and avoidance to invite students to re-engage with the campus in a way that ‘looked forward’ to the results of construction, instead of seeing it as an obstruction.

‘In a building site people are constantly being told where to walk, what to be aware of, how to follow signs, and the way that foot traffic is controlled here is mesmerising. So I thought: how can I take the control and make it mine, and give ownership back to the people walking through.’


words: Katharine Chomkowicz