Friday, August 12, 2011


It can be difficult when so much is going on in our lives to take time to savour what is now. I find it a constant challenge, but such an important journey to continue. To be able to focus, especially as a writer, it is crucial to find stillness within a chaotic life. This morning I took time to breath, meditating before starting my day. Before you start thinking I am some kind of genius, this is something very new for me. After breakfast I sat on the  verandah in the sunshine (a bit of a novelty considering how much rain we have had) and read through some writing from when I was 19 years old. I was amazed at how observant and in the moment the writing was. It may have been a little naive and basic, but there is real insight.

Finding the stillness and quite of mind to enable reflection and creation is vital for anyone who is making or creating, especially when you have other commitments and distractions.

It's not always easy and probably an ongoing challenge for most of us, but the impact on our work can be extraordinary. Goodluck!

‘Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Yes, here comes another selection of enticing grants to try and squeeze your project into. Between the various projects I am involved in, along with my own private creative endeavours, it is a bit of a mine field raking through the grants to see which one really suits what you are wanting to do.
It is so important to check and double check that criteria and I find nothing beats a frank conversation with  the funding body itself, after all that's what they are there for-to answer your questions. I have been known to call several times a day to check in with various funders, tweaking and modifying to see if it can fit within the guidelines.
Regardless of this the key element is for the project or idea to have some meat on the bones, to be real. The worst thing you can do, but so many do, is to think 'oh goody, there's $20 000 up for grabs, let's work out a project'. I find one of the best approaches is to look at what you are already doing but only just managing to pull off using your own resources-usually volunteered labour and in-kind support. Giving yourself time to explore some of these small ideas can help create something that is multi-layered, that has depth and resonance.
But for me it is back to the funding applications. I have noticed myself frowning and must stop that, otherwise I will need to find funding to do some facial modifications.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Balls in the Air

Life is never dull when you are working in the arts. With announcements of funding cuts from everyone from the State Government to ABC Television, there is a rumbling going on amongst arts organisations and artists.
I am hearing conversations about sharing resources, looking for new funding avenues and other ventures that can build income. While it's a challenging time, it's also an exciting opportunity for us all to lift our heads and start talking to each other. Rather than scrambling for the same bits of money, perhaps there are other answers.
For me, there is a lovely relationship between all my roles at the moment. My work as a private consultant led me to TRA and the role of managing Branching Out, the social enterprise project. This then led to working with the Institute for Regional Development as Research Associate on the Tasmanian Social Enterprise Study. TRA's CEO is on the advisory group for this project and has shown a strong commitment to social enterprise in Tasmania.
This is particularly evident through the partnership with Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS) where we sought funds to bring Dr Ernesto Sirolli to Tasmania. His approach was supporting the work of Branching Out and we felt it worthwhile learning more from Ernesto, who already had a strong relationship with the state.
Since then we held the first Trinity of Management training in the state with involvement from a broad range of organisations and we hope to fund at least 2 social enterprise facilitators for Tasmania to work across sectors, including the arts.
On top of this I continue to support and promote individual artists including Gay Hawkes, Naomi Howard and other creative makers and thinkers.
The thread that runs through all of this for me is striving to search for alternative and complimentary models that can better support individual artists, makers and the broader arts community. The journey continues and it is a fascinating one...

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