Think small at Siteworks

Gut bacteria, dancing spiders and dolls’ houses may make an unlikely trio, but these were  some of the intriguing topics that emerged when contributors were invited to think about the topic ‘Micro’, the theme for this year’s Siteworks annual art/science event that returns to Bundanon on Saturday 29 September.

Now in its tenth year, Siteworks provides a unique opportunity for scientists and artists to come together to explore the magnificent Bundanon property two and a half hours south of Sydney.

The theme ‘Micro’ drew an array of responses from artists, performers, scientists and thinkers. This year’s prgram invites you to let your imagination run loose and your interest take the lead with subjects as broad as microscopy, miniature railways, decomposition, and tiny collaged deities.

There’s something for everyone on the program. You can wander through the historic Bundanon homestead before meandering along a bush path to take in site-specific contemporary art and performance.

Be entertained and educated in equal measures in the conversation tent. Participate in creative workshops for all ages with Bundanon’s acclaimed arts education team.


This year’s conversation tent will be facilitated by the ABC’s Robbie Buck. He’ll keep the conversation flowing with a series of talks with leading academics, miniaturists and microbiologists including:

  • Andrew Holmes, a microbial ecologist at the University of Sydney. He is based in the Charles Perkins Centre where he leads the Gut Microbiome research node and lectures within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.
  • Michael Kuiper, a computational biomolecular modeller currently working in the Molecular & Materials Modelling group (MMM) at Data61 of CSIRO, specializing in molecular simulation and visualization of proteins. Prior to joining the MMM team, Michael worked at the Victorian Life Science Computation Initiative (VLSCI) supporting medical research as well as participating five seasons with the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) based in McMurdo and Palmer stations researching antifreeze proteins.
  • Jenny Whiting, the Marketing & Business Development Manager of Microscopy Australia who curated the exhibition Stories and Structure: New Connections that examines Indigenous responses to microscopy and will be on show in Bundanon Homestead’s Upstairs Gallery. Jenny is a researcher and science communicator with 20 years of experience in using microscopy to engage the public with science.
  • Anna-Maria Sviatko, a creator and collector of modern (dolls’ house) miniatures from a young age, where she became entranced by the tradition of using dolls houses to document contemporary ways of life. Her miniature work has been exhibited, published and televised nationally and internationally.
  • Simon Mattson, a farmer who runs a 190-hectare family farm on the banks of the Pioneer River at Marian, 30 kms west of Mackay. He is a mixed farmer producing sugar cane, soybean, sunflower and beef cattle in rotation with a passion for regenerative farming practices to promote biological function and to improve soil health with a key focus on plant diversity.

Weaving together insights from across everything from the connection between microscopy and Indigenous art, to archaeology, to modern dolls’ houses. It’s sure to get you thinking.

Also in the conversation space is Big Talk for Small Folk, a session that brings poet and performer Miles Merrill together with students from Cambewarra Primary School to address life’s big ethical questions.


Art in the wild

Both humans and spiders will dance into the night, with Townsville’s Dance North drawing our attention to the dirt beneath our feet while Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s videos of the mating games of the tiny peacock spider (Maratus speciosus).

Microscopy Australia will join forces with Theatre Kantanka in a new production entitled Minute – a durational micro-organic jam created with audience, sound, video and live performance. Based on live microscopy of items from the Bundanon environment, visitors will find, explore and witness the eventual transformation of the micro-scale world in a visual spectacle and live-mixed soundscape.

Artist Emily Hunt’s work shows a microcosmic fantasy world while Deborah Kelly presents pantheon of fleeting deity-creatures deep in the bush.

Event details

The program runs from midday until late so camping is a popular option. This year also sees a shuttle bus added to and from Nowra/Bomaderry.  Bookings are essential for camping and buses so book your tickets today!

Sitework’s art and scientific offerings will be complemented by delicious local food throughout the day and a bar from late afternoon.

Entry is only $12 per adult/$8 concession and children under 16 are free. Bookings essential.

See the full program of contributors and find out more here

Siteworks is made possible through a range of sponsors, including the University of Wollongong, Create NSW and Inspiring Australia. Images courtesy of Bundanon Trust.