a holistic arts practice combining residencies, consultancy and publishing

ALL THAT WE ARE is a new initiative from husband and wife team Simon Spain and Victoria Ryle. ALL THAT WE ARE expresses in four simple words that life is not easily compartmentalised. It is a response to a world that often reduces our human complexity to jargon-laden slogans. It connects 60+ years of experience in the arts, education and community driven projects. It suggests our important individual contributions to the world and the power of collaboration and partnerships.

This arts initiative is born out of experience of life that includes, raising children, negotiating family life, confronting illness, loss and facing the death of loved ones. This lived experience informs all that we do and ALL THAT WE ARE.

Put simply. the project is about connecting people through the arts. This can be through simple gatherings around food or films, short term residencies connecting local and national or international artists or more formal events around professional development.

ALL THAT WE ARE is an interdisciplinary project bringing together people to create a range of experiences and relationships. The project takes place on a property  25 km from Hobart in Tasmania, Australia. This long residential property has been re-defined as a place to both live and  collaborate through discussion and action. The house sits on five acres of bushland, also forming part of the project. This project is part of a new international movement of research – work – live environments fostering creativity, creative solutions and explores methods of living.

The project asks a question: how can we embed a creative life – a life of making and doing – into our everyday practice and how do we value that creative practice both for us as individuals and also for society as a whole?  Through an ongoing programme of engagements on the property, with invited artists, friends and community members we are seeking to develop a place that is a model for living – enjoying the light, in touch with natural seasons, a struggle to maintain the status quo, a constant questioning of attitudes and preconceptions, a deliberate and determined approach to eat  ethically, a desire to explore and develop the notion of giving, making objects, repairing objects, setting spaces for collaboration, engaging globally through technology, engaging politically,   publishing, belonging to the local community,  understanding the need for and emotional balance, keeping the body fit, enjoying the creative work others, working.

This project invites artists to reconsider their work as practitioners in the world and challenges individuals to think of themselves as creatives. The pedagogy surrounding this project seeks to encourage new modes of being in the world – holistic approaches to living that embrace creativity, beauty, carefully environment, slowness, – making time to look out of the window. The project encourages and supports discussion around food production, relationship to the land, death and grieving,  mental and physical health,  ethical shopping, the role of making, parenting, play, new domesticity, curiosity, struggling. This project seeks to question the relationship between living and working; being at home and being at work, making and doing with watching and listening. What role do creative practitioners have in fostering a society full of makers and doer? What are the responsibilities of artists to evoke or demonstrate the values inherent in the creative spirit  and how can that spirit define a community? How can a creative spirit provide a compass for  exploring and negotiating the world around us?


Simon Spain and Victoria Ryle have a collective experience of over 60 years of teaching artistry and have recently established a new project together called All that we are. They consider themselves elders in the world of teaching artistry having worked around the globe on projects and residencies of their own, collaborated with many other artists and both been directors of organisations employing many artists in engaging practice. This project connects their sixty years of experience in the arts, education and community driven projects.

Simon and Victoria established projects together in Hackney, East London during the 1980’s before moving to Ireland in the mid 90’s where after working with the Ark in Dublin, Simon and Victoria established Kids’ Own Publishing. The project then moved to Sligo, Ireland, where it still runs from today. Meanwhile Simon and Victoria moved to Australia in 2003 for Simon to establish The City of Melbourne’s new arts centre for children, ArtPlay, and Victoria to establish Kids’ Own Australia in Melbourne.


Victoria Ryle 

Victoria Ryle is CEO of Kids’ Own Publishing and employs many teaching artists to engage with diverse communities across Australia to support community publishing initiatives. Kids’ Own has expertise in delivering community based workshops, capacity building training and published outcomes aimed at promoting literacy, reading and the status of children as storytellers, writers and illustrators.


Simon Spain

As founding Creative Producer of ArtPlay in Melbourne, and as a practising artist himself, Simon Spain has an experienced understanding of how many teaching artists approach their practice and deliver their work. Simon has made presentations around the world about his work and research at ArtPlay, and, after completing a Masters in Social Investment last year, has just embarked on a reflective practice PhD at RMIT in Melbourne.

See Simon’s Resume here