Letters of the Riverland: The Writers

We commissioned five Riverland writers to write a 1-2 minute letter to the Riverland as the starting place to create Letters of the Riverland.

This is the original brief we gave to each of the writers:


Inspired by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire’s Women of Letter Events, the practice of text-as-art and the meditative landscapes of the Riverland, Letters of the Riverland will be the first ‘official’ work created for the newly installed Barmera permanent projection site.

Letters of the Riverland will invite five Riverland writers to write a 1-2 minute letter speaking to the past, present and imagined future of our region. An audio-recording of each letter being read by the writer (interwoven with field recordings created at the Riverland Biosphere Soundscape Lab in 2019) will be used as the anchor to create a projection mapping experience of text overlaying key images of the Riverland. The focus will be on slow, gentle transitions and highlighting key phrases from each letter in relation to the architecture of the projection site and features of the photographs. Existing photographs will be directly sourced from well-known and/or emerging Riverland photographers.

Letters of the Riverland is created by Riverlanders for Riverlanders.

Your letter must be appropriate for a general public audience – ie.  no swearing, no graphic or triggering content etc. It does not need to be directed to a family audience, but we do want to encourage people of all ages to experience the final work so keep that in mind.

Your letter might take the form of a call to action, your vision for our future, a celebration of what we are or what we could be. That is up to you.

We would like the format:

Dear Riverland

(letter content)

From (your name)

Everything in between that is up to you. You are allowed to be provocative and don’t have to force positivity (keeping in mind all of the above).

If you need some letter-writing inspiration, here is a lovely little project recently presented by MOD. in Adelaide: https://mod.org.au/exhibits/dear-2020-from-2050/


The writers had four days to say yes to the invitation and deliver their final letter to us. All five of the letters speak to this brief in their own unique way.

To create Letters of the Riverland we then recorded each of the writers reading their own letter and cut together an audio work created from selections of those recordings. We were trying to create an experience that would weave together all of the letters and hold the attention span of an audience who will be standing for the duration (quite possibly in the cold!). The final work does not include any of the letters in their entirety, but they are a beautiful reflection and call to action to take care of this incredible place we call home so we are making the original recordings of each letter and their text available to read and listen to here on our website. Click on the writer’s name to read/hear their original letter in full.

Stuart Watkinson (Renmark)

Kat Bell (Berri)

Amanda Schubert (Loxton)

Keely Pampling (Loveday/Barmera)

Liz Frankel (Waikerie)


Back to Letters of the Riverland overview.