The outlook for 2015 and a look back at 2014

At the precipice of a new year it is often tempting to set enormous goals, or to think about radical change. For the past few years the outlook at this time of the year could be boiled down to ‘more of the same’. That wasn’t a bad thing, per say, it was just that with my main work focus being Express Media I didn’t have a great deal of wiggle room in setting ambitious goals in other areas. The thing I most keenly wanted, and aimed for, in 2014 was professional development.

I wanted to be challenged to think about the big picture of my programming and curatorial work. I wanted to have the space to learn, rather than do. I wasn’t set on what kind of professional development it needed to be — a course, a conference, a mentorship — but I did know if I was going to do another year (or part thereof) doing programs I’d already done multiple times before, I needed this kind of engagement. To that end I applied for multiple opportunities, and multiple streams of funding. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the European Festivals Association Atelier for Young Festival Managers. This was a really exciting opportunity; a week to immerse myself in workshops, discussions and presentations on the finer points of creating and running cultural events. On top of this, I was also lucky enough to receive support in the form of funding to take the trip to Poznan from Copyright Agency. They receive so many applications for funding, so to have mine accepted was a wonderful surprise. It made the difference between the Atelier eating all of my savings and only part of them. I’ve written a bit about my Atelier experience, so I won’t go in to it now, but suffice to say it was certainly a great professional development opportunity. I’ll be thinking about the discussions and lessons for a long time. I also found that while I was there my synapses were firing and I came up with lots of exciting ideas I’d love to bring to fruition.

I had also set myself some other goals for myself in 2014. I wanted to have another contribution to a book, as I had done in 2013 with The Emerging Writer. This lead to my inclusion in The Noobz. I wanted to do more facilitating of panels and live events, which is one of my favourite things to do, and was fortunate enough to speak with truly wonderful writers and industry experts such as John Marsden, Paul French, Briohny Doyle, Rosanna Stevens and Oliver Mol. I also chaired a panel of Australian women writers at the Emerging Writers’ Festival and presented our manifesto at the EWF closing night party.

So what is ahead in 2015? A very different picture. A return to freelance writing, a big new long-form project I hope to start, more work on the issues of women writers, maybe some producing work… it’s all pretty fluid at this stage. Which is wonderful. Since returning from the Atelier I have focused on having family time, resting my body, tying up lose ends from 2014 and thinking about what I will expend my energy on in 2015. I feel ready to set some goals and move into a different kind of year.


Maxine Beneba Clarke
Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke has launched a brilliant initiative gaining some attention at the moment. Her hashtag #writingwhilefemale is a fascinating view into the experiences of women writers.

The Wheeler Centre published an interview with Maxine today where she talks about why she started the hashtag, which you should read.

Make sure you check out the hashtag on twitter as more people add their experiences, or even better, contribute your own.