Waterfront: Breaking Down the Urchin Past Event

Presented by Centre for Architecture | Open House Melbourne, Long Prawn, Furrmien, Pirjo Haikola and Pacific Sea Urchin
Underwater photo of invasive long spined sea urchin and seaweed nestled within rock bed
Sea urchin barrn
Hands wearing yellow rubber gloves breaking open a sea urchin and using a wooden stick to muddle the contents
Muddling the urchin
Photo © Long Prawn
person in pink tshirt wearing yellow rubber gloves holding sea urchin roe in palm
Sea urchin roe
Photo © Long Prawn
close-up view of silver bowl with many sea urchin roe collected
A bowl of sea urchin roe
Photo © Long Prawn
Air-tight glass jar on shelf containing orange garum liquid
Sea Urchin garum
Photo © Long Prawn

Open House Melbourne invites guests to a participatory, informative and ‘hands-on’ river float aboard The Yarra Countess hosted by Long Prawn, Furrmien and Pirjo Haikola with in-kind support from Pacific Sea Urchin.

In Port Phillip Bay and throughout the East Coast of Australia, the invasive sea urchin species Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocidaris erythrogramma have been exploding in numbers. Now, with the helping hand of humans, these native and beautiful yet voracious little creatures have the capacity to impact seaweed habitats and alter biodiversity. In those places where numbers are too high, hand-harvesting sea urchins for human consumption is a particularly suitable food choice. Further, while our seas are being drastically overfished of species that cannot sustain themselves, this is a delicious and helpful choice that protects our oceans.

Using eyes, ears and stomachs, this event prepares participants with the knowledge, skills and motivation to reclaim our sea floors. Over a two-hour period, guests will hear from NGV Triennial senior curator Ewan McEoin and artist Pirjo Haikola about Pirjo’s work and research on sea urchins. Guests will then learn how to process and preserve sea urchin as garum (fish sauce) under the creative guidance of food researchers Long Prawn and fermentation experts Furrmien. Guests will be provided with a sea urchin roe snack and a cool beverage, as well as their own jar of sea urchin garum. Together, we will examine how we can creatively and consciously decide what food we eat. Sea urchin kindly provided by Pacific Sea Urchin.

Waterfront is proudly presented by Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne, in partnership with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and East Gippsland Shire Council.

Long Prawn

Long Prawn is an online and offline platform for spaghetti gazing, food research, events and ideas around eating. A cross cultural boil which hopes to preserve food knowledge by reviving historical ideas and bringing them surface of the pot again.



Furrmien is an ongoing fermentation platform created by Dennis Yong. All Furrmien products are informed by chance encounters with produce in the reduced, ‘quick sale’ section at the supermarket. The goal is to transform perfectly edible yet commercially ‘dead’ produce such as blemished or overripe products, scraps (peels, stems, and leaves) or overstock into living products. Their process uses fermentation and modern recipes to revive soon to be discarded and forgotten produce. While some are interested in the the most prime ingredients, Furrmien have the magic to ‘FERMENT THE REST’.


Pirjo Haikola

Dr. Pirjo Haikola is a designer, researcher, educator and scuba diving instructor. Her research focuses on regenerative design and conservation technologies for marine ecosystems. As an ‘underwater designer’ Pirjo is passionate about contributing to ocean literacy through public engagement and teaching. Pirjo is currently Industry Fellow Lecturer in Design Innovation and Technology at RMIT University in Melbourne (AU).


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Booked out
Fri 26 Mar 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Book Now


Meeting point: Federation Wharf.
15-19 Princes Walk, 15-19 Princes Walk, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia