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Yarn Swap

Hosted by the Melbourne Bandita Bureau, the Yarn Swap is an inclusive and welcoming space within which participants are invited to bring objects that mean something to them or that have a story embedded in them.


In June this year as part of Rainbow's (Victorian Mallee area) Oasis festival, Leanora held the first Yarn Swap and local community participants brought a myriad of objects, including song, stones and a tape recording.

With thanks to Adelle Rorsheim, Oasis Project Manager and Dianne Dickson, Oasis Artistic Director. 

All images: Les Graetz


“It was lovely to share the story and recording from Shirley’s letter about her travelling adventure’s many years ago”

Adelle Rohrsheim, Oasis Community Arts Project Manager – Small Town Transformations Rainbow

“The Oasis (the old Primary School) was a stimulating setting for an event such as the Yarn Swap. It was a grand afternoon spent listening to and watching people, local and otherwise, relating to each other different stories and events gathered over their lifetimes. We are all different, but such a day shows we are all the same! A very entertaining afternoon where humour and pride won the day!”

Ruth Gosling, Rainbow Archive volunteer, and Peter Gosling, Yarn Swap participant. 


The Yarn Swap was borne out of the Bandita Bring Your Own Archive. In 2016, after running a series of successful BYOAs in Europe and Australia, we travelled to Berlin and held a slightly different archive gathering: widening the invitation slightly to ask for objects as well as visual archives. With this in mind, together with indulging in the tradition of tall tales swapped over cups of tea in small Australian country towns as part of her PhD, Leanora created the Yarn Swap. Fully aware that such regional and remote communities did not need someone calling themselves an 'archive artist' from Melbourne to initiate conversation and tales in their community, she seeks to fill a void left by the once bustling hair salons and pubs where news was exchanged and old stories were repeated so many times they became folk tales and myths. 

Leanora will be taking the Yarn Swap to other regional towns. Please get in touch with her at if you would like to discuss the Yarn Swap coming to your community.

Images: Les Graetz

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