“100 people are reported missing in Australia every day,” stated Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) founder, Loren O’Keeffe, “Their lives, and those of the people left behind who care about them, have been put on hold – their stories cut short.”
That got Grey Melbourne’s creatives wondering if the classic missing person poster could be reconfigured into a more useful tool. What if writers and artists got together with the families of missing Australians to give the public a picture of the real people behind the vital statistics, they asked. What if that picture had street art appeal to attract attention?
The result is a campaign of reimagined missing person posters, that intends to provide stronger clues for people to recognise long term missing people, and greater incentive to come forward.
“I know from personal experience how difficult it is to keep the public engaged with a long term search. My hope is that Too Short Stories can re-engage the public and ensure the stories of our missing Australians don’t end here,” O’Keeffe stated.
Too Short Stories, which highlights the cases of long term missing people, launched on the streets of Melbourne during National Missing Persons Week. Each story was displayed in the location where the featured missing person was last seen. Emotive readings by the authors of each story also played on radio during Missing Persons Week.
“A member of the public has already come to us with information, prompted by seeing one of the stories in her neighbourhood. Who knows where it will lead, but being aware this initiative is making that kind of impact is incredible,” O’Keeffe stated.
Zee Meyer hopes that her poster profile will help to find her husband, Warren Meyer. “We continue to struggle to cope with the loss of our husband and father — we want answers, but we need public awareness and assistance to be able to get them.”
“The strength of the families and the generosity of all the writers and artists involved has been inspiring. As the campaign unfolds, we hope it continues to make a difference,” added Michael Knox, chief creative officer and managing partner of Grey Group Australia.
Too Short Stories will be published as a book available for sale by the end of September. A series of podcasts is also planned to promote the book. All funds raised will go to MPAN to provide support to those left behind.
If you have any information that could help continue a missing person’s story, please contact the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre on 1800 000 634.