PHOTO 2022: Meeting Places

14 October 2022

As part of the PHOTO 2022 international festival of photography, an installation on the steps of Parliament House explored the importance of meeting places, especially in regional Victoria.

The questions below ask students to identify meeting places in their community, who meets there, for what purpose, and why these places are so important. Students are then encouraged to contrast meeting places in their community with parliament as a meeting place, its purpose, who has access, and how the place, purpose and access influences whose voices are heard.

Exploring community meeting places

Identifying meeting places in the community

  • What meeting places are there in your school and/or community?
  • Who uses these places?
  • Why do people meet there?
  • Why are places to meet important for individuals and groups?

Purpose of and access to different meeting places 

  • What rules (explicit and implicit, visible and hidden) are there for using the space?
  •  Are the meeting places used for the same purposes by everyone?
  • Are there barriers (physical or otherwise) to people using the space?
    • Why might these barriers be there and how might they be removed or worked around?
  •  Does everyone have access to these places? Why/why not?
    • If you are not allowed to have access to a meeting place, what do you need to do to get access?
    • Is it possible for everyone to get access or are some people always excluded?
    • Do some people automatically have access over others? Why/why not?
    • How might someone be excluded from the meeting place?
  • What meeting places do you have in your life? How do you use these places and for what purpose?


Parliament of Victoria as a meeting place

  • How is parliament used as a meeting place?
  • How do the meeting places in your school and community compare to the meeting places at parliament?
    • You might like to consider who has access, how do people get access, who is excluded, barriers, how the different spaces are used and for what purpose, what are the rules of the different spaces.
  • How are meeting places, including Parliament of Victoria, an important aspect of political and social change?
    • For example, the Women’s Suffrage movement and the Aboriginal Rights Movement

Exploring Parliament House

The thinking routine Projecting Across Distance can be used to consider how different parliaments or spaces might be used for commemoration, celebration, or protests.

  • Is “parliament” the place, the purpose or the building?
    • What about times when parliament was held elsewhere (for example the Exhibition Building)?
    • If parliament can be anywhere, is it the space or the purpose of the meeting that's important? 
  • How has the meeting places at Westminster Parliament influenced other parliaments (for example, Parliament of Victoria, the Commonwealth Parliament (Canberra), and the Scottish or Welsh parliament) who use the Westminster system?
    • How are the spaces in these parliaments similar or different?
    • What features have been kept the same? Why might these features be considered important? And who might these features be important to?
    • What features have been changed? Why do you think these changes were made?
    • What changes might you make to the meeting places in parliament and why?