broken tennis rackets, tent poles
strange murmurs in the bushes

~ excerpt from 'Waiheke' by Ella Holcombe


The Cabinet of Lost and Found was the pilot learning resource for Red Room Education. The original project was created by The Red Room Company for The Sydney Writers' Festival in 2009. The project consisted of an installation of poems and objects in a cabinet of curiosities that audiences could rummage through. Cabinets of curiosities, sometimes called Wunderkammer (German for 'wonder chamber'), date back to the Renaissance, in which people collected rare and special objects to display in their homes.

In this learning resource, students are asked to select a 'talismanic object' which has special meaning to them to use as stimulus for a poem. They are also asked to create a personal cabinet of lost and found, in the form of an anthology of poems. Students are asked to not only compose their own poems, but also collect poems from other writers that are special to them.

Students also create a group collection, either in the form of a physical cabinet installation, or a published 'collection' of poems. For a great example of this learning resource, take a look at Ogilvie High's project with Tasmanian poet Esther Ottoway. The students collected their poems, along with images of their talismanic objects, into a printed publication through  

To book a Red Room Poetic Learning workshop using The Cabinet of Lost and Found learning resource, contact or 02 9319 5090.