Village Voices

Village Voices 1.1

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During the City of Sydney community consultation about the upgrade of the southern end of Crown Street, locals made the suggestion of including a public artwork.  Having worked in crisis homeless services in Surry Hills for many years, Astra Howard was aware of how many great stories there were about this area that had not had the opportunity to be told.

Titled Village Voices, this public artwork captures and then communicates diverse stories from and about Surry Hills.  Through the constantly rearranged letters, this artwork recalls intimate games of scrabble, the compositing machine of long ago and the advent of mass communication.  The changing letters/words tell local sto­ries through poems and prose, prompting passersby to think about diverse issues that affect them, from the local to the global.

Village Voices is situated at South Crown Street Village in Wilshire Through Link.  As well as revealing hidden narratives and untold stories embedded in place, Village Voices also aims to: create a lively talking point and meeting spot for the area; to archive local stories; to facilitate dialogue and interaction between Surry Hills residents and local, national and international visitors; and to create new and lasting connections and collaborations between local community organisations/agencies, businesses, educational institutions, creative practitioners and residents.

Excerpts from stories generated in locally organised workshops are installed on the artwork and a drop-box located next to the artwork is available for individuals to also make submissions.  Aligned events in Surry Hills provide the op­portunity for other texts, not included on the artwork, to be presented.  The ‘changing of the letters’ has become a highly anticipated event in the area, as new local narratives are ceremoniously revealed to the public.

Connect with Village Voices

For further information about Village Voices, or to submit your story about Surry Hills to be considered for display on the artwork, contact Astra Howard at

Individuals can also make a hard copy submission to be considered for display on Village Voices, via a dropbox situated at the artwork.


Instagram: @village_voices

Twitter: @VV_SurryHills

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To share your experience of Village Voices: #villagevoices


Urban Village Magazine 

2017 Community Strategic Plan - Sustainable Sydney 2030

Urban Village Magazine

© Astra Howard 2014