Poetry of the Personal and Political
Jeanine Leane, Tim Buchanan, Dale Collier, Jenny Fraser, Declan Fry, Elia Harding, Neika Lehman, Jazz Money, Rebeka Morrison, Tace Stevens, Beau Windon
22 Jul–8 Aug 2020
In a time marked by rage and mourning over recent tragic deaths and ongoing police and state violence against Black and Indigenous people both at home and abroad, this is a writing program for Indigenous poets of Naarm to take stock and respond through the activism of poetry. It is a time for the language of immediacy and urgency; a time to ask: If not now – then when? And, if not you – then who?
Three writing workshops will study historical and contemporary examples of poetry of protest and activism ranging from the personal (activism on the home-front, body politics, black bodies, queer bodies and their intersections) to big picture public activism and protest. The curriculum covers the radical writing of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Lionel Fogarty, Romaine Moreton and Jack Davis, as well as contemporary poets; Ellen van Neerven, Alison Whittaker, Evelyn Araleun, Samuel Wagan Watson and more.
In this violent rupture, we draw connections across space and time via a reckoning of history. Dismantling colonial relics and harbouring future refusals and resistance, we deconstruct the colonial mythscape of peaceful settlement and a united nation. From the storytellers and song-makers of ancestry to contemporary protest language, writers look at how activist poetry is at once deeply localised, personal and highly political.
First Nations writers from any State or Territory develop a piece of writing for digital publication on BLINDSIDE and Free Association’s websites. Writers participate in workshop sessions via Zoom and present their work in development.
Poetry of the Personal and Political is a First Nations Writing Program led by Dr. Jeanine Leane.
Co-presented by Free Association and Blindside
Published by RABBIT Journal
The annual Blindside First Nations Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the City of Melbourne through their Triennial Grants Program. This project is supported by Creative Victoria.
This First Nations writing project is supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants.
This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.
Jeanine LeaneDr. Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet, essayist and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her poetry, short stories and essays have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Sydney Review of Books, Best Australian Poems, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, poetry, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. Her research interests concern the political nature of literary representation, cultural appropriation of minority voices and stories and writing identity and difference.
Tim Buchanan is a Queer Wiradjuri artist / activist / communicator / community organisor who was raised up on Biripi Country in and around Taree. I've recently moved to Wurundjeri Country, but have spent the last 8 years working and living on Awabakal/Worimi lands while agitating, organising and educating around abusive fossil fuel extractivism, refugee rights, and anti racist movements. My current focus is understand and communicating police abolition frameworks, as I am a product of carceral structures and the traumas & disconnection they create, both in my family and in my current life. I'm also multidisciplinary political artist. My most recent exhibition was confronting and dismantling stigmas about housing and homelessness in relation to systemic factors, an issue which I have personal experience with.
Dale Collier is an experimental artist of Wiradjuri and Northern European heritage who works with sound, text, moving image and installation. His practice interrogates notions of soft power, synthetic fusion, hyper-objects and contemporary falsehoods in order to highlight the processes of global conditioning and ecological security. His work is arresting, fusi-formed, shaped by indictments, mnemonic devices, acts of mourning, and claims for reparation and renewal.
Collier's work has been exhibited within the Art Gallery Of South Australia’s Ramsay Art Prize, 2019, and the Parliament Of New South Wales’ King & Wood Malleson Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 2018. He was also recently awarded the Windmill Trust Scholarship for regional artists facilitated by the National Association for the Visual Arts.
Currently a visiting artist in residence with the City of Melbourne at the Boyd Centre, Dale has also recently undertaken residencies as part of the Cementa Contemporary Art Festival in Kandos, the Bundanon Trust First Peoples residency program, Arteles Centre for Creativity’s Enter Text program in Haukijärvi, Finland, and ArtsHouse Melbourne's Time Place Space: Nomad.
Dale lives and works upon the Sovereign Lands of the Awabakal, Worimi and Wiradjuri Nations, where he pays deep respects while acknowledging the custodianship of Ancestors, Elders, Community and Kin past, present and future.
Jenny Fraser is a digital native working within a fluid screen-based practice. In 2015 she had her video art imprinted on a gold record and broadcast into outer space via Hobart and Cape Canaveral, Florida in the Forever Now project, as a follow-up to the Voyager Golden Records sent into space in 1977 by NASA.
She is a celebrated screen artist. In 2015 Jenny was recognised with awards for Newcomer Director in the International Documentary category at the World Film Awards and The International Film Festival for Environment, Health and Culture.
Jenny founded online gallery cyberTribe in 1999, the Blackout Collective in 2002, and World Screen Culture in 2015. She is on the National Advisory Group for the Centre for Indigenous Story, an Associate Member of the Centre for Creative Art at Latrobe Uni, and 2015-2017 Adjunct Research Fellow at The Cairns Institute.
In 2014 she presented SOLID Screen Festival and Retreat at Innot Hot Springs in Far North Queensland, which included the SOLID Screen Awards, recognising 40 years of International Indigenous Womens contributions to their screen artforms.
Jenny has a professional background in Art and Media Education and has since completed a Master of Indigenous Wellbeing at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW; and has a PhD in the Art of Healing and Decolonisation from Batchelor Institute in the Northern Territory. She is an Associate Member of the Centre for Creative Arts at Latrobe University and in 2015, was appointed as an Adjunct Research Fellow at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, in Queensland, Australia.
Declan Fry is an essayist, critic, and proud descendant of the Yorta Yorta. Born on Wongatha country in Kalgoorlie, he currently lives on unceded Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung land and is a board member of Books ‘n’ Boots, an organisation which distributes football boots and books to remote and regional Aboriginal communities. His work has appeared in Meanjin, Australian Book Review, and Overland.
Elia Harding is an Erub/Mer writer from the Torres Strait. Also have Aboriginal heritage from Cape York but not connected. I'm 23 and am this year finishing my Arts honours degree at the University of Melbourne which I began in 2015. I've majored in Indigenous Studies and done an honours thesis in history which looked at family history, trauma and healing. I love basketball and football, sports in general as it helps to connect with other people and keeps you fit. As a creative outlet I write poetry, lyrics and record my voice to hip hop beats. I am the second generation of my family who have lived on Wurundjeri/Kulin Country since my grandmother Eleanor Harding moved to Fitzroy in the 1950s and was known as the first Torres Strait woman to live in this city. I am heavily inspired by my mum Janina and she is where I get all my passion about living life in a good way and be there for other people.
Neika Lehman is a writer and artist living and working in Kulin Country since 2014. They grew up in nipaluna/Hobart and belong to the Trawlwoolway peoples of north east Tasmania. Recent poetry and criticism can be found at Cordite Poetry Review, un Magazine, The Saturday Paper & Art Almanac.
Jazz Money is a poet, filmmaker and educator of Wiradjuri heritage. She currently has three poems shortlisted for the Queensland Poetry Awards, one for the Val Vallis Award and two in the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize.
In 2019 Jazz was an inaugural winner of the Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert Poetry Prize from FNAWN and a recipient of the Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship. In 2018 she won the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the Nakata Brophy Prize.
Jazz’s poetry can be found in the Australian Poetry Journal, Runway, Westerly, Running Dog, Lieu, Rabbit Journal, Meniscus and FNAWN, amongst others. She has been anthologised in the Australian Poetry Anthology and the international collaboration ‘No News’ from Recent Work Press. Her poems have also appeared alongside, and within, a number of contemporary art exhibitions, including at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
Jazz sits on the board of PEN Sydney, a division of PEN International advocating for imprisoned writers. She is a digital producer working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and a researcher for the arts program CANVAS on FBi 94.5FM, Sydney’s independent not-for-profit radio station for music, art and culture.
Jazz is grateful to live on the sovereign lands of the Gundungurra and Darug nations, and acknowledges the custodianship of Elders past and present of the many Countries she walks upon.
Rebeka Morrison is an 18 year old Nyoongar girl from Perth with an interest in the arts and writing.
Tace Stevens is a Bibbulmun and Spiniex woman from Perth currently living in Sydney. She is a photographer currently studying Screen Production.
Beau Windon is an emerging young adult author, poet, storyteller, mental health advocate, and sleep enthusiast based in Naarm/Melbourne. He feels awkward when having to socialise in large groups and when writing biographies.