Five reflections on five years: my people

newCardigan is five years old this month. If we were a human, we’d be “going” to school over Zoom by now! Normally we like to have a little birthday cardiParty in June, but things are weird this year. Instead, every day this week one of the ‘cardiCore’ will be sharing their personal reflections on the first five years of newCardigan. Please share your own reflections with us on your favourite social media, your blog, as a video or audio recording, an email, or via ye olde postal service. We can’t wait to read, hear and watch them.

Image: GLAM Walking Tour, Hayley Webster and Gemma Steele, Museums Victoria’s Library,  Rare Book Collection, Melbourne Museum, January 2018

What a strange time to turn 5. Lockdown has given us all time to reflect. What does newCardigan mean to me? It’s a lifeline to a community that has grown and become a significant part of the GLAM sector in Melbourne and Perth, and beyond, over the past 5 years.

On 12 June 2015 newCardigan hosted the very first cardiParty. Sadly I wasn’t there for that, but a friend brought me along to my first cardiParty in September, then in December Hugh asked me to join cardiCore. I’m incredibly thankful for being part of this community.

Image: GLAM Walking Tour, Clare O’Hanlon at RMIT Gallery, January 2017

When I think back, the thing I’ve taken away from all of those cardiParties, are all the conversations I’ve had with cardies about finding their community. One cardie said to me, after recently moving to Melbourne from Canberra, ‘I’ve found my people’. That’s what newCardigan means to me.

Image: GLAM Walking Tour, curator Julie McLaren giving a tour of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, January 2019

I have so many happy and proud memories with newCardigan. GLAM walking tours have been such a crazy logistical challenge to organise, but they have always been so much fun on the day! We had a GLAM walking tour planned for this year, but sadly we have had to postpone. For anyone who has been on one, it’s a rollercoaster ride of a day, a short stop at each of the four sites, and a walk between (two years running it rained cats and dogs!)… It’s like having four cardiParties in one day, exhausting, stimulating and heaven. 

In January 2017 we had our first GLAM walking tour, it rained, as we walked through Melbourne from the Athenaeum Library, to the Shot Tower Museum in Melbourne Central, to RMIT Gallery, and finishing the day at RMIT Design Archives. Such a memorable day. The following year, January 2018, it rained, as we made our way from the Centre for Contemporary Photography to Melbourne Museum where we heard from the Library, Palaeontology, and Archives. I remember 40 cardies in a large room at Melbourne Museum, all wet from our walk, but still beaming with enthusiasm and excitement at the incredible rare books, fossils and archives on display. Last year we headed to Ballarat, it was a very sunny hot day as we made our way from the Art Gallery of Ballarat, to the Ballarat Mechanics Institute where we explored the library and archive collection, then a very hot long walk to the Gold Museum after lunch. I know, we’re crazy to host GLAM Walking Tours in January. We were going to break that tradition this year. I can’t tell you how excited I’ll be at our next GLAM Walking Tour. I can’t wait.