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Case Studies Kelly Leonard | RAF Case Study (2021)

Kelly Leonard was invited to show work in a solo exhibition at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in April 2022

Kelly applied for Quick Response funding for research and experimentation to inform a new body of work created from combining the traditional craft of European loom weaving with projection and sound technology powered by the sun.

Kelly is an experimental artist based in a remote region, with little opportunity to access professional development and exhibition opportunities. This has been acutely felt through the COVID pandemic. The exhibition opportunity offered to her by the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery creates visibility for all regional, experimental artists, and enables connections at a local and inter-regional level.

Kelly Leonard is a Quick Response Grant Recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund as managed by Regional Arts NSW.


The timing allowed Kelly to consolidate research outcomes for the exhibition and to develop the next stage of practice in 2022.

“I currently hand-weave conductive ribbons using recycled Bell wire (used to set explosives in mining) and quartz, which act as transmitters to gather (and decode), the spectrum of sound that exists within the dichotomy of a built/natural environment. The floor-loom woven ribbons are placed in site specific ‘locations in the Far West and broadcast through sound recordings and video performances.”

The project concept built upon her previous research project Material/Sound, undertaken though a residency in Henty, NSW in 2020 with artist/creative producer, Michael Petchkovsky. In the residency she explored the application of conductive yarns in woven fabric to transmit sound. Throughout 2021, they further researched the viability of conductive weaving, and developed a method for documenting its outcomes through installations and performances. Outcomes were exhibited in Dec 2021 with the Sunflower Collective at Wayout Art Space, Kandos NSW. The experimental solar power technologies introduced to her by Michael Petchkovsky have become central to her ethos for this work.

Michael Petchkovsky was presenting a solar technology workshop for creative professionals in Broken Hill with CAD Factory support, early April 2022. Therefore, the purpose of her application was to support further professional development opportunities with him to build her technological skills and assist the realisation of the technological capacity of her work. In particular, the incorporation of solar power technology for image projection and manipulation of the radio sound technologies that form the base for transmitting and receiving her work. The goal being to take knowledge and skills gained into her own practice and into the wider arts ecology in the Far West.

In addition to the professional development component, funding also allowed her to purchase materials needed to develop the sound and video projection in site specific locations for the exhibition. “I am interested in developing a visibility for my practice which is responding to and embedded in the local environment, and my work fits the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery Shared Space Program objectives to showcase local, experimental artists who are working in the field”

Kelly developed local connections with the gallery install team and she developed connections with the local participants in the CAD Factory Solar Powered Workshop. West Darling Arts is developing ways to maintain these connections through planning a micro solar powered projection festival in the future. Kelly continues to work with Michael Petchkovsky through a collaborative art group they are both involved in - The Sunflower Collective. They are exhibiting at the Narrandera Art Centre in August 2022.

The project contributes to the Far West's reputation as being at the forefront of experimental, regional art. It maintains and develops connections with regional peers exploring renewable energy to drive a message about climate change. New connections were made through the Broken Hill City Art Gallery network and the NSW Museums and Galleries network. Online audiences were reached through social media and digital newsletters. Audiences were exposed to local industrial materials recycled to tell a story about the local environment, enhancing their experience with the arts.

Applicant location: Broken Hill, NSW

Project location: Broken Hill, NSW

Amount of RAF Support: $2,934

Total project cost: $6,034

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Kelly Leonard Transmissions
Transmissions. Image credit: Kelly Leonard