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Civic’s Winter Vigil Bed begins its winter vigil… bed

By Barcham - 15 August 2013 4

bed

Today the Winter Vigil bed welcomed its first residents. Bushfire survivor, Jane Smyth, Big Issue vendor and Big hART film participant, Deb Bult, and former Canberra Times cartoonist, Geoff Pryor all tucked in to help raise awareness for the homeless in Canberra.

Robyn Archer claims she was moved by Jane Smyth’s story to create the Winter Vigil Bed.

“When bushfire survivor Jane Smyth said at the very beginning of our Centenary year, at the Bushfire Memorial service in January, that the survivors wanted to give a focus to ‘homelessness’ in Canberra, I was very moved: this was such a generous gesture springing from their own sense of homelessness at that devastating time,” said Ms Archer.

“I thought immediately of the company Big hART who have been resident at the Canberra Theatre Centre for the last three years and have brought us some wonderful shows such as Namatjira, and most recently Hipbone Sticking Out. They were part of my first National Festival of Australian Theatre 20 years ago, and for my Melbourne Festival they did a great project Knot at Home about homelessness,” said Ms Archer.

“I’m so pleased that Big hART agreed to work on this project about homelessness in Canberra. Like many things, it is an aspect of the capital that many people would not recognise, and in our bid this year to understand the city better, the Winter Bed Vigil not only draws attention to the fact of homelessness in Canberra, but the humanity of a city which shares such challenges with all other cities.

“I’ll be taking up my shift in the bed, and I encourage as many as possible of all of you to do likewise, and to come into Civic Square to learn a bit more about this ongoing concern and maybe find out ways in which you can help,” Robyn said

The bed will be occupied around the clock from 2pm Thursday until 12pm Sunday. At the foot of the bed will be a flat screen TV featuring short films made by local filmmakers in collaboration with people in the community who have experienced homelessness as well as content developed by Big hART over the ten year period since their first Bed Vigil in the Melbourne Arts Festival in 2004.

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4 Responses to
Civic’s Winter Vigil Bed begins its winter vigil… bed
PBO 8:34 am 16 Aug 13

So what happens to the bed afterwards?

Is it left in place?

Can the homeless use it?

If the homeless are allowed to use it, wouldnt it eventually be a factor in elevating the number of homeless? Because if you put a male homeless person into the bed with another consenting homeless person a much smaller homeless person could be the result.

And who would clean the sheets?

clj 8:58 pm 15 Aug 13

magiccar9 said :

How about the wealthy, and wealthy at heart actually try and experience the plight they’re campaigning for. Don’t give them anything to sleep on, just a ratty old t-shirt and pair of torn jeans – and leave them out for a week. That is something I’d support.

Because nobody would see it, so the whole ‘raising awareness’ thing would be a failure. As that kid from UC found and told everyone, and as my friend Deb who’s pictured above knows all too well, being actually rough-sleeping homeless is lonely and terrifying, and so you find the best hiding place you can and stay as invisible as you can. Not much of a visual and no donation collection point in that. With the Vinnies sleepout, the personal journey of discovery of the CEO or whatever is not the important thing, the money raised to support actual homeless people is. So, cynical as it might sound, I’d say publicity is more important than authenticity in things like this.

Postalgeek 7:46 pm 15 Aug 13

magiccar9 said :

What a joke these ‘sleep outs’ are! From the much famed CEO sleep out to this one. They couldn’t be farther from representing the homeless. Unless of course the homeless people in Canberra had nice big 4 pole beds, big warm ski jackets and blankets, flatscreen TVs (not shown here, but shown on local Win news tonight) and fresh cooked meals with a side of wine.

How about the wealthy, and wealthy at heart actually try and experience the plight they’re campaigning for. Don’t give them anything to sleep on, just a ratty old t-shirt and pair of torn jeans – and leave them out for a week. That is something I’d support.

I’d be interested to know what it is that you do for the homeless.

magiccar9 7:21 pm 15 Aug 13

What a joke these ‘sleep outs’ are! From the much famed CEO sleep out to this one. They couldn’t be farther from representing the homeless. Unless of course the homeless people in Canberra had nice big 4 pole beds, big warm ski jackets and blankets, flatscreen TVs (not shown here, but shown on local Win news tonight) and fresh cooked meals with a side of wine.

How about the wealthy, and wealthy at heart actually try and experience the plight they’re campaigning for. Don’t give them anything to sleep on, just a ratty old t-shirt and pair of torn jeans – and leave them out for a week. That is something I’d support.

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