The ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE) has recently been awarded the prestigious 2017 CHASS Australia Prize for Distinctive Work in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences for its work on the Zest Festival.
The Centre collaborated with the Kalbarri Development Association to create the Zest Festival which took place annually for five years between 2012-2016 in Kalbarri and nearby communities. The festival was a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the landing of Dirk Hartog and the cultural encounters between the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on the Australian coast.
Professor Susan Broomhall, CHE Chief Investigator said the Centre’s work on the Zest Festival was distinctive for its engagement with a rural community in a cultural project with substantial artistic, intellectual and emotional scope.
“I think part of what made the Zest Festival so successful was the fact that through emotions research we helped to build a bridge connecting residents from Kalbarri with the past. It made history applicable today. It made it their history and their past.
"It was a privilege to be involved in the Festival from the very beginning and to be part of this research journey.
“I learned so much from the Nhanda and Kalbarri community, and have seen the importance of our historical research as it shapes the region's emotions and identities today and into the future,” she said.
CHE Director, Professor Andrew Lynch said the recognition from CHASS showed the value of long-term funding in building research-based projects that can have major community impact.
Click here to view a short documentary about the festival.