Detail of Myco Logic display PARC, Cumberland Hospital, in Wisteria Festival exhibition, from community arts workshop program facilitated by Elizabeth Day.

Myco Logic community arts and cultural development program at Cumberland Hospital, facilitated by Elizabeth Day.
Jun – Nov 2017.
Program produced by Claire Taylor.
Cumberland Hospital, Westmead.

Myco Logic is an ongoing, evolving participatory project. The Parramatta iteration of Myco Logic was comprised of an exhibition on site at PARC in Cumberland Hospital, an exhibition at the Heritage Courtyard Pavilion, in Parramatta’s Justice Precinct, and a community arts program in the pavilion and Cumberland Hospital.

WORKSHOPS – The arts program was facilitated by visual artist Elizabeth Day. In group sessions, Day demonstrated how anything can be used to ‘draw’ fungi in three dimensions. Workshops were based around visual story-telling and skills sharing. Participants were encouraged to draw on skills they already had and leadership for skills sharing sought from within the groups.

COMMUNITY, CREATIVITY AND CONNECTION – At the heart of Myco Logic is a creative exchange based on the image of fungi and their underground mycelial root structures. The mycelia are a vast network that communicate between species and transmit nutrients beneath forest floors. Day likens this system to a logic of communities. Mobilising this non-centred image of mutually supportive networks was a primary engagement strategy with program participants.

The program aimed to foster connections between contributors and reconnect them with their creativity through the process of making hand-crafted fungi together. By involving the hospital and broader community in practical, creative workshops, Myco Logic assisted in building support networks within and outside of the hospital, addressing the isolation experienced by many in mental health contexts. The program was delivered through close collaboration with the rehabilitation wards but was open to the broader hospital community, with program participants including consumers, clinical staff, allied health workers, volunteers, carers and family members.

ENGAGEMENT – Myco Logic was designed to change the creative dynamic of the participants in the groups, reinvigorating interest and participation in arts and crafts. The mushroom is a frame within which to inspire individual expression and for participants to rediscover the joy of making. Making hand-crafted mushrooms and bringing them together in a larger installation was a vehicle around which isolated, fractured groups can come together and forge new interconnections as a community. The pavilion exhibition was a public platform for the artwork made by program participants. The mushrooms were brought together on a network of roots in an installation by Elizabeth Day. This aggregated image explored ideas of connection and community.

For documentation of the main pavilion exhibition, please see Everything is Connected to Everything Else: Myco Logic.

Myco Logic program website.

The program was developed by Elizabeth Day and project curator Claire Taylor with consumer and carer advocates and the Recovery Services team at Cumberland Hospital. The project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Workshops in PARC at Cumberland Hospital.

Workshops in the Heritage Courtyard Pavilion, Parramatta Justice Precinct (during main public exhibition).