After a long stint as a freelance producer and writer, I’m pleased to be taking on a role at Arts Access Victoria starting this month.
I first worked with AAV in my role delivering Meeting Place, a three-day forum on access and disability arts which took place as part of Alter State Festival in 2022. It gave me some insight into the team and the vital ongoing work that they do. I had my sights set on finding an opportunity to work with them again after that experience, and I’m really excited to join them as a producer in a part-time role.
Being a disabled producer supporting other disabled artists to achieve their artistic goals is dream work, and I can’t wait to dig in.
Back in the early 00s, I was fortunate enough to attend iconic arts event This is Not Art, an umbrella festival that included the National Young Writers’ Festival and National Student Media Conference. I fell in love with this exuberant, chaotic weekend in Newcastle that blended artforms and encouraged cross-pollination between artistic communities.
After attending for a couple of years, I was asked to deliver the National Student Media Conference. It was my first time producing a large-scale event, and this transformed my ambitions for my creative and work life. I fell in love with creative production, artistic direction and delivering artistic events. I also met and worked with many artists who became co-conspirators and peers in future projects. I would come back to the festival many, many times as a presenter and an audience member.
I am grateful that I got to have these years in an era where arts funding was not at the crisis point we now find it in, and where my university and student union invested in me so I could develop as an artist and an arts worker. Like many arts organisations and events, TiNA has changed radically over the years: the National Student Media Conference folded after VSU destroyed student magazines, but thankfully the National Young Writers’ Festival has flourished over the years.
I’m joining the NYWF board this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to give back to a festival and a community that I have benefited greatly from. I want to see young writers have the chance to shape this event and the community it creates, and I look forward to supporting them in this role.
I write about being a disabled person, artist and parent. It’s rare, though, that I get to work as a disabled producer putting together an event about disability and for the disabiity arts community. In producing Meeting Place I have finally been able to do this.
Meeting Place is Australia’s annual form on arts, culture and accessibility. It is held annually and brings Deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists with disability together with industry leaders in an accessible and supported space, to present, perform, discuss and debate the latest in arts and accessibility.
This year Meeting Place took place as part of Alter State Festival, presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria. I was able to bring together artists and arts workers I have long admired such as Caroline Bowditch, Gayle Kennedy, Elvin Lam, Joshua Pether, Fayen D’Evie, Fiona Tuomy, Kath Duncan, Larissa MacFarlane, Meret Hassanen, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Robert K Champion and Eliza Hull for workshops, panel discussions and performances. I hope it was as enjoyable for the participants and audience as it was for me.
Yesterday an idea that has slowly germinated and grown finally reached full bloom. Our first Feminist Family Salon took place with a sold out audience and over 100 people watching the live stream of our event.
Our guests Joyce Watts, Nelly Thomas and Amy Gray spent the better part of two hours talking with me about feminist parenting and the many aspects that we consider as we go about the business of helping our kids navigate the world.
If you would like to watch the panel it is available as a Facebook video. Within the next month I will have it captioned so that our hearing impaired and deaf community members can enjoy it as well.
It was frustrating not to be able to get too deep on some of the territory we ventured into, but as my co-creator Pia and I knew, there is too much to explore to ever feel like you’ve done it justice.
After such a resounding success for our first panel we’re keen to get our next event happening soon. There are a list of topics sitting there tempting us, so as soon as we can find the right venue (if only Farouk’s Olive could fit more people in!) we will be back with a new question to interrogate and a new panel to get our community thinking.
Things are still going full steam ahead at Limited News. It’s exciting to see the site finding a consistent readership, and our authors are settling in to the regular features well. Being part of a team with this much talent is really enjoyable. We’ve all got such different interests and ideas.
I’m working on a chapter for a book about publishing and writing which will be out next year. The topic is close to my heart and I’m doing my best to do it justice. It’s a new challenge, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out.
Life at Express Media is as varied and hectic as always. We had a planning meeting last weekend and it was great to have the board and staff around the table looking to the future. We have so many ideas and such a load of enthusiasm. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we are a relatively small organisation, especially when you see how much we achieve with so few resources.
First Dog on the Moon and I have just wrapped up the first season of Cartoobs and Other Typos at Melbourne Fringe Festival. It surpassed all of our expectations, with full houses and great reviews. To top it all off the show was awarded the Adelaide Tour Ready Award, which is beyond exciting. We’re looking forward to developing the show further, and of course having it ready to perform at Adelaide in February. Producing it was a great opportunity to return to festival production, which I haven’t done for a few years now. I really enjoyed it.
The perfect conclusion to our debut season of Cartoobs and Other Typos! Adelaide Fringe Festival director Greg Clarke came along to one of the final performances of the show, and saw fit to award us the Tour Ready Award.
This recognition and assistance will be invaluable as we set about taking the show on the road, heading to Adelaide Fringe Festival for a limited season in February 2013, and then to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
I think I speak for both Mr Onthemoon and I when I say we were beyond chuffed to win, and we thank everyone involved in the Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals for their support.
For months I’ve been slaving away in production land, preparing First Dog on the Moon‘s first foray on to the stage. After seeing him perform around a year ago at a poetry slam I was excited about his potential to do a full show of his own. We talked about it over the year, and I finally convinced him to give it a go for Melbourne Fringe Festival. Now here we are on the eve of his first show, Cartoobs and Other Typos.
The lead up has been incredible. We’ve sold out the entire season, added more shows, and nearly sold out those. The trial shows have gone well, and Mr Onthemoon and I are looking forward to getting things underway.
It has been really enjoyable to get back to producing a festival show, and I hope there is more of a chance to do it again soon. There are tickets still available, so come along and enjoy!