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28/05/2021
Capturing the voices of 2020 – Melbourne Lockdown by Jo Fuller
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Frankston resident Jo Fuller started a project just as Melbourne was coming out of its second wave of COVID-19. As we all emerged from a state-wide lockdown that we’ll never forget, Jo found herself wanting to capture her children’s experience. From here, the story evolved as Jo collected more voices to gather a broader reflection of the 2020 experience. While the raw emotion in the short stories varies from person to person, every story is significant in her book, Twenty Voices of 2020.

Included in the book – or rather, time capsule – are photographs from around Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula. Some of the voices of interest include Rob Wengritzky, the doctor at Frankston Hospital who was instrumental in developing new personal protective equipment. There’s Sandhya, the social worker who helped move the homeless of Melbourne into hotels; Kristy, the principal of Toorak College who kept the boarding house open; and Matt, the pilot who fought to regain his identity after all flights were grounded. Each of the 20 voices were asked the same questions, and while the responses are varied, there is a resonating thread of shared experience that flows through the pages. As Jo says: “After a year that kept us apart, through the power of storytelling we are reunited. Storytelling helps us to empathise and understand one another; it can help us to reflect, acknowledge, and heal.”

Jo is a Peninsula creative with an Honours Degree in Visual Arts, a mother of three daughters, a full-time worker, a devoted member of the community who volunteers at Mums Supporting Families In Need, and now a published author. However, Jo’s been writing in a corporate environment for more than 14 years and is a change management consultant who analyses behaviours and supports people through significant change.

“I wanted to create a time capsule that was relatable. I’m an everyday, ordinary person who lived through this extraordinary time alongside everyone else. We will always remember this time, but my push was to capture how we felt at this time; to highlight a moment, or a memory, that would hopefully help others to reflect and ultimately heal from this time. Writing my story and listening to the other 20 voices was the most fulfilling experience, as each person’s story helped me to have both greater empathy and a better understanding of my own. It’s easy to say ‘Hello’ to someone in your street or chat to your work colleague and not really appreciate what they’ve been through or are  going through. Twenty Voices of 2020 allowed me to engage with others more deeply and provide an opportunity for 20 people to reflect on a year that changed all of our lives, some more than others.”

To discover more, jump on Instagram and follow @20_Voices or head to www.twentyvoices.com.au

KATE SEARS

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