Oh my… I would first like to apologise for my poorly attended WordPress blog. Like Diana Ross and the Supremes sang, ain’t it funny how time slips away.
It seems this year certainly has been a busy one. Even so, I haven’t had the time until now to update you all. So where do I even begin to explain myself? At the beginning of the year I really had no idea that I’d be where I am now. Work had been up and down in the early months, still.. what can you do but carry on. Despite this minor setback, it gave time to develop my writing craft, knowledge, and profile in the arts, literary and film industries.
I also have a lot of people to thank for this year also. So thank you family and friends foremost. Without you all, as always, I would be nowhere – it is your support that keeps me going. Thank you for being that rock when I needed you. Thank you world for allowing me time out to see TLC with my sista.. Haha! Unforgettable night! Finally, to all who I had the pleasure to meet, network with and actually produce some kickass projects with. I have gained so much wisdom and experience I couldn’t ask for more. So without further delay, here is a brief run through of what I am proud to say I was apart of and had contributed to during the year that was 2016.
In February of 2016, the first Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival was held in Melbourne. I was asked by a dear friend and mentor to perform for their closing event – The Bogong. This gave me a chance to get back into performing, I hadn’t done any kind of stage performance since 2007; I used to sing and write songs then perform them at community events with the deadly mob at the Indigenous Education Centre, Kangan Institute. In 2010, I had written and performed a spoken word piece but that would have to be the last time. So you can guess, my nerves were the usual kind of agony yet I was relieved.. for it was a successful night, nonetheless, and I got the chance to meet some influential authors/writers I look up to.
Within the beginning of April, I was contacted by the director of Writer’s Victoria to be one of the writers to enter in their Personal Patron program. I became sponsored by a patron and mentored by a writer who I connected with. If interested you can read all about that journey here: Personal Patron Mentorship.
Still jobless around May I was attending numerous job interviews and almost threw in the towel but thought; well maybe I’ll just paint for a living. Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) was a beaming light that came from my side view. After sitting for an interview to enter into their Emerging Cultural Leaders and Blakstream Cultural Arts Program (ECL/BLAKSTREAM) I felt that I had finally found the right pathway to that BIGGER dream I had lingering in my mind. That dream of building a sister community cultural arts centre in the Wimmera. The group was probably the most inspiring, creative mix of talent, and I am fortunate to have made some really solid friendships because of this experience FCAC provided. I was given an opportunity to harness the skills and knowledge of arts production and management thanks to the program and I recommend others to look into it. Blakstream will run for another year so I am looking forward to what is to come next in 2017.
Not long after I got the offer at FCAC. Melbourne University had offered me a job working as their Project Officer for Indigenous Undergraduate STEM Internship program at Murrup Barak, Parkville Campus. Little did I know that working here would change my life, with a lot of University and Academic politics flying around (usual stuff) I found my feet and have been running with the program ever since. To provide some insight, the work entails developing and rolling out a program that suits the needs and career desires of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Undergraduates. Having been employed in July, the program has been going through some changes, and most likely will again. But I am glad to say we have students already keen to begin as of March 2017. The team of staff have become a second family to me and I look forward to our on-going working relationship.
Once August turned up, I was contemplating the work I was doing and found I hadn’t really had the chance to commit to any real film projects. Then like fate working it’s little guidance and some sweat and tears, I began working as a casual Cultural Advisor for various film and gaming projects this also led to becoming an Associate Producer for the First Nations Script To Screen Film Initiative where we produced a short film titled, Half written by Stephanie Skinner and recently screened at Made In Melbourne Film Festival 2016. Majority of these film projects are still in the workshop, make sure you keep following to get all the updates in 2017.
A few other things on top of the above:
- Featured Writer for Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s Booklover’s Festival
- Became a casual extra for an award winning TV drama.
- Became a member of the newly created Blak Writers Group
WOW! Ok so maybe I over did it a little. Friends and colleagues always ask “when do I sleep?” My answer for many was: hardly, but I manage to. In 2017 I am excited for my on-going employment with the University of Melbourne. Beginning my residencies as a writer on behalf of RMIT University, continuing my work and consultation with all things Cultural and Film and of course crossing paths with you all at some stage.
So what can I leave you with?
This year, I actually had to say goodbye to a few projects I was committed to – I was sad to leave but know they were the right decisions to make at the time of my departure from them. My mentor Paola Balla said to me; “You have to know when to say no to some things.” It’s good to help or work here and there with others, and yeah they can be really amazing opportunities you are given but you need to look after yourself too. Another mentor John Paul had said “Managing projects is like cooking. You have two, three, maybe four projects stirring on the stove top, and that’s manageable. You should only have something cooking in the oven if you really think you can handle it but make sure no to burn or over cook it and yourself.” So my advice from this year would be make time for that SELF CARE. If you really are someone who is dedicated and passionate about what you do, then others will be willing to continue working with you even if you have to tell them “No.” sometimes. Thats been one of my greatest lessons this year, that plus discovering more about love and relationships.
I can’t ignore the fact that we have also loss so many prominent figures, legends and dearly loved ones over the year. Some of us are still trying to cope, heal and mourn as the new year arrives. I can only say, I understand. I feel your pain and I mourn with you in spirit. Believe that although they have left us, we have learnt something precious about life. Hold those moments close to your heart and let their lessons (or moments) project outward from within you. For those loved ones, figures and legends were influential to YOU. You become a stronger and much more wiser individual because of them and those little life moments. If anything gather them into a ball of energy and carry them in your heart. Allow them to heal YOU into the new year and let them shine through YOU in little moments you share with others who loves and remembers them the way YOU do.
Until then I wish you all a safe and exciting transition from 2016 – 2017.
Happy New Year!