The origins of Mountain to Mouth

Mountain to Mouth was envisioned as part of the "Connecting Identities" project in 2007, which was created in response to the rapid changes that were taking place at the time in the Geelong region across all levels of the community, the economy and the landscape. These changes and upheavals were felt by some to create a sense of discord and negative perception about the direction the region was headed.

This project aimed to create links across the increasingly diverse municipality and reinforce the importance of local places and community by encouraging people to connect with the land and with each other. Mountain to Mouth was a vessel to achieve this through a collaborative, community based project that told an important story with important messages. Establishing a connection to the land could be done by introducing the indigenous concept of the Songline - a path across the land recorded through a song describing landmarks and natural phenomena. Mountain to Mouth was to create a contemporary songline, allowing the community to establish a significant bond and sense of respect for the land and its history. 

The first version of this project in 2009 was a 54km relay from Barwon Heads to the You Yangs, and was called Mouth to Mountain. 144 ambassadors representing the 12 wards of Council carried water from Barwon Heads – kayaking, on horses, strolling, in processions, by train, in utes, on bike and foot. People of Geelong joined the relay at locations along the way, taking a moment to reflect on the gift of water, the memory it holds, the connection it makes between people and places, and the future it creates. Artworks marked the journey through iconic locations arriving at dusk for a big celebration at Big Rock.

The event was so well received in the community that it was redesigned in 2014 to be a larger and more inclusive event that would occur every two years. Mountain to Mouth 2014 was the first incarnation of the event as we know it today; an 80km walk over two days from the You Yangs to the mouth of Barwon Heads. 

Close to 1,000 people took part in some or all of the 80km journey, more than 80 artists worked with over 2,400 participants to create thousands of art works that featured along the journey, and an estimated 12,000 people gathered to watch various aspects of the event. With major awards and community appraisals under its belt, Mountain to Mouth aims to continue sharing this very unique and wonderful event with all aspects of the community and beyond this year, and for years to come.

 Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.



M~M and Geelong After Dark Win Award For Innovation

Image: Brien Cohn

Image: Brien Cohn

The multi-award winning projects – M~M and Geelong After Dark have just won a prestigious award at the Australian Regional Development Conference (ARCD) Innovation Awards.

Acknowledged as offering a “great legacy” to the region, the two arts events were jointly awarded a Community Development Award at the recent conference, described by ARDC judges as having an “outstanding approach to engaging an enormous range of city groups and diverse parts of the population” with “exceptional planning and processes”.

This underscores comments of previous judging panels, who speak of M~M’s “breath-taking conception, scope and execution…” and “profound meaning and significance to the Geelong community...”  The Australian Event Awards also recently applauded the inclusive nature of the M~M project, and the manner in which it pools the collective knowledge and commitment of many groups to “…create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

City of Greater Geelong Councillor Andy Richards Portfolio Holder for Arts and Culture said M~M2014 and Geelong After Dark were unique events bringing the community together on a large scale.

“ M~M takes people from all walks of life on a journey to discover the region’s culture and traditions. The 80km walk incorporates a programme of music, visual arts, storytelling, environmental and sporting elements and the City and event partners are currently planning for M~M2016,” said Cr Richards.

“Geelong After Dark is one night of pop up arts events, performances and musical acts that transform Central Geelong. It is continuing to grow, the 2014 event had over 6,000 participants and the 2015 event had more than 10,000.”

M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald was also delighted to hear this news.

“The award applauds M~M as innovative as well as contributing significantly to community development in Geelong. We couldn’t be prouder receiving this award.” 

M~M: Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk and Geelong After Dark are both set to return to the Geelong region on 6-7 May 2016.