You Winsome, you lose some: Home and hospitality in the Northern Rivers

Main Article Content

Grayson Cooke
Jim Hearn


The Home Project was a three-year collaborative research project, established through a partnership between Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) and the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS) at Southern Cross University (SCU). The Home Project’s objective was to raise awareness of homelessness in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales through creative arts practice and community engagement activities. The broad project aims were to explore questions of home, homelessness and belonging in Northern Rivers’ communities; to address the experiences of individuals affected by homelessness; and, where appropriate, to provide avenues for public dissemination of the stories of individuals who are or have been without a home. This article discusses the activities undertaken in each year of the project, providing a case study of a community engaged research project involving collaboration between university staff and students, a performing arts organisation and a community service provider. We analyse the development of the project over the three years and discuss the emergence of the theme of ‘hospitality’, which came to frame the project in its latter stages as we focused our activities at the Winsome Hotel, a Heritage listed and iconic Australian hotel that now offers low-cost daily lunches and a short-term accommodation service for marginalised men. This focus on the Winsome Hotel and hospitality gave us, as researchers, a new way to think about the provision of services to people without a home.

Keywords: Homelessness, hospitality, creative arts practice, community engagement, NORPA, Southern Cross University


Article Details

Research articles (Refereed)
Author Biography

Grayson Cooke, Southern Cross University

Grayson Cooke is an interdisciplinary scholar and award-winning media artist, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. Grayson has presented live audio-visual performance works in Australia and internationally, and he has exhibited and performed in major international festivals such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, the Seoul New Media Festival, and the FILE Festival in Sao Paulo. As a scholar he has published 20+ articles in academic journals. He is also an associate editor for the online peer-reviewed journal “Transformations.” He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal.