The artwork Free Bird by the artist Bianca Loiacono was commissioned by the Danny Frawley Centre in Moorabbin, Victoria, to commemorate the St Kilda FC LOUD Fence created in front of the Centre. The artwork was made out of ribbons from this LOUD Fence.  ©

Karen Walker

March 2023

This publication is the result of a partnership between the British Council, Ulster University and the University of Canberra, initiated as part of the 2022 UK/Australia Season – itself a partnership between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The 2022 Season delivered a vibrant programme celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities and cultural sectors of each nation. This essay series develops that theme, focusing on the roles of  the arts, creativity and culture in helping to navigate provocative and divisive issues in our communities. 

The essays, poems and artwork contained within the series powerfully demonstrate, collectively and individually, how arts research can inspire us to think differently about injustice and inequality in our societies. They show how artists, performers, poets, curators and cultural researchers can all trigger meaningful, and potentially reparative, engagement with past trauma and conflicts and their lingering impacts in the present day. With a primary focus on the contexts of Australia and Northern Ireland, but including also discussions relating to Japan, Canada, Chile and attending to themes that are of global relevance, this volume, and the wider Difficult Conversations project of which it is part, present a diverse, eloquent and provocative statement on the potential of the arts and culture to encourage dialogue and to help build trust and understanding. 

To view the publication as a full volume or for any of the individual essays please use the links in the Downloads section below

Bibliographic information for the collection is as follows: 

The full volume

Difficult Conversations
Editors: Ursula K Frederick, Ashley Harrison, Tracy Ireland and Justin Magee
Featuring Forewords by Kate Ewart-Biggs (British Council), Paddy Nixon (University of Canberra) and Paul Seawright (Ulster University)
Citation: K Frederick, U., Harrison, A., Ireland, T., & Magee, J. M. (2023). Difficult Conversations. British Council. Available online:

Individual essays, poems and artworks

Golden Delicious/Midnight Feast
Louise Wallace
Citation: Wallace, L. (2023). Golden Delicious / Midnight Feast. British Council. Available online:

Taking Positions
Alastair MacLennan, Brian Connolly, Dominic Thorpe and Sandra Johnston
Citation: MacLennan, A., Connolly , B., Thorpe, D., & Johnston, S. (2023). Taking Positions. British Council. Available online: 

Mediating via materiality: Continuing Critical Conversations around Child Sexual Abuse in Australia
Megan Deas, Kerry McCallum and Kerry Martin
Citation: Deas, M., McCallum, K., & Martin, K. (2023). Mediating via materiality: Continuing critical conversations around child sexual abuse in Australia. British Council. Available online:

Re-enactment as Conversation: Yoshiko Shimada’s Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman
Vahri McKenzie and Jen Webb
Citation: McKenzie, V., & Webb, J. (2023). Re-enactment as conversation: Yoshiko Shimada’s Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman. British Council. Available online:

'Red Dresses' Kathleen McCracken 
Citation: McCracken, K. (2023). 'Red Dresses'. British Council. Available online: 

Textile Language for Difficult Conversations: Reflecting on the Conflict Textiles Collection
Brandon Hamber and Roberta Bacic
Citation: Hamber, B., & Bacic , R. (2023). Textile Language for Difficult Conversations: Reflecting on the Conflict Textiles Collection. British Council. Available online:

Dealing with the Past in Heritage Spaces in Northern Ireland
Elizabeth Crooke
Citation: Crooke , E. (2023). Difficult Conversations: Dealing with the Past in Heritage Spaces in Northern Ireland. British Council. Available online:  

On the Edge of Urban Renewal
Katie Hayne
Citation: Hayne, K. (2023). On the edge of urban renewal. British Council. Available online: 

Complex Care: Storying Country and Place with Creativity and Respect
Ashley Harrison, Bethaney Turner, Wendy Somerville and Steve Brown
Citation: Harrison, A., Turner, B., Somerville , W., & Brown, S. (2023). Complex Care: Storying Country and place with creativity and respect. British Council. Available online:

Speaking of Violence on Women’s Country
Paul Collis and Jen Crawford
Citation: Collis, P., & Crawford, J. (2023). Speaking of Violence on Women’s Country. British Council. Available online: org/10.57884/SR7K-9P66