The Block

Stories from a Meeting Place
A virtual time capsule that reveals the stories of Sydney’s ‘the Block’ and its forgotten residents.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised the following project contains the names and images of people who have died.

The Block here is the centre of Aboriginality in Sydney, and I think it’s the centre of Aboriginality in Australia.
Cecil Bowden
Former Resident

In late 2010, as news of the demolition of Redfern’s Block surfaced, it became apparent that few personal stories from the area had ever been recorded. At the time, and particularly around the 2004 Redfern Riots, mainstream media coverage drew on powerful cultural tropes of race, poverty and Aboriginal crime to explain the social problems experienced in the area.

To have audiences feel a sense of community with the Block and understand its history, we combined high-definition panoramic street photography and a timeline chronicling the area’s 40-year evolution. Capturing illuminating interviews with residents and footage of its then-current landscape, we gave viewers unprecedented access to the everyday lives of the people who call the Block home.


Capturing home

At the heart of the interactive experience is the importance of place and home. Captured across time of day, and a month apart, the panoramic user interface was both a pathway into the narrative and a character with its own story. Users can move through space and time, witnessing the buildings disappear one by one, as well as change the place's mood by shifting from day to night. We plotted into the space the 15 interviewees, either against terraces they occupied or among the remains of the removed buildings. Their interviews were available in English and translated into Dharug by performer Richard Green.

We can let our anger out here. We can let our pain out here. We can let our tears out. There is always someone to cuddle us.
Diane Whittaker
Former Resident

Winner of the Walkley Award for Journalism for Multimedia Storytelling, this critically acclaimed interactive documentary houses almost 2 hours of original video content, photo galleries and archival images and provides a fresh lens on the precinct that had so often been cast in a negative light.

  • SBS
Industry Recognition
  • Webby Awards
    • Public Service and Activism – Finalist
  • Walkley Award
    • Best Coverage of Indigenous Affairs
  • UN Media Peace Prize
    • Best Online
  • SXSW
    • Interactive Innovation Award – Finalist
  • IDFA
    • Official Selection
  • Creative Direction
  • UX
  • Graphic Design and Branding
  • Motion Graphics
  • Web Development
  • Project Management
  • Poppy Stockell
    • Director, Editor
  • Annie Le Cavalier
    • Editor
  • Xavier Fijac
    • Music, Sound Design
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