Arts Centre Melbourne Presents A MILE IN MY SHOES

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Arts Centre Melbourne is inviting visitors to literally walk a mile in someone else's shoes as part of a free participatory arts project exploring the practise of empathy. A Mile in My Shoes, created by Empathy Museum's award-winning artist and curator Clare Patey, asks participants to step inside a giant shoe shop on Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt from 1 - 17 November where they will temporarily trade their footwear, slip on some headphones and take a short walk, as the shoe's owner tells a story about their life.

The Melbourne project, presented as part of the Betty Amsden Participation Program, will feature 35 stories on the theme of water, including 23 stories donated by Melbournians and 12 stories collected during Empathy's Museum's travels around the world. Producer by Melbourne-based sound producer Camilla Hannan, contributions range from a marine biologist to an Aquaphobic English migrant, a Vietnam War veteran to a 10-year-old contemplating the Yarra River, an 81-year-old rower to a First People of Australia actor.

"At a time of increasing conflict and division in the world, we hope this new version of A Mile in My Shoes will give visitors a space to practice the art of empathy and to see the landscape and people of Melbourne in a new light, says curator Clare Patey.

"A Mile in My Shoes is an extraordinary example of how art can transform our relationships with others while breaking down prejudices and fighting loneliness by sharing a collective experience, "says Arts Centre Melbourne Creative Producer, Public Realm Yunuen Perez.

"The collection of new stories in Melbourne focus on the impact of bodies of water including the Yarra River and represent the rich diversity of Melbourne's cultural fabric,'' says Perez.

The diverse Melbourne-based stories from people that work, live, practice a sport and enjoy the Yarra River and other watercourses in Victoria, explore life experiences such as identity and belonging, social concerns such as the rising water levels and climate change and personal experiences such as insomnia and the calming effect of water.

Established in 2015, Empathy Museum explores how empathy can not only transform our personal relationships but also help tackle global challenges such as prejudice, conflict and inequality. With a focus on storytelling, dialogue and participation, the people that experience the work become active agents in the creation of the work. A Mile in My Shoes has toured internationally, including to London's Migration Museum, National Theatre of Scotland, Sao Paulo's Parque do Ibirapuera and Perth Festival in 2016, welcoming more than 30,000 people to walk a mile in a stranger's shoes.

The project is presented by Arts Centre Melbourne as part of its Betty Amsden Participation Program, an annual community event series established by the late Betty Amsden AO and Arts Centre Melbourne to explore and encourage cultural democracy. The large-scale, interactive and free projects are designed to inspire and engage with Victorians and visitors to Melbourne.

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