Dr Sandra Phillips, FNAWN Chairperson, has been busy promoting FNAWN and its membership, as well as other Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers. Below is just some of the activities that Dr Phillips has participated, or led, in the past few months.
Tiddas Tour Tokyo
In July, Dr Phillips flew to Tokyo with fellow FNAWN member Dr Anita Heiss, where they presented workshops and a lecture at Musashino University (MU).
Dr Sandra Phillips and Dr Anita Heiss at MU, Tokyo July 2017
At the invitation of MU and Professor of Political Science, Sensei Professor Donna Weeks, Dr Phillips and Dr Heiss delivered Writing and Reading Aboriginal Australia workshops with MU Global Business Students, and presented a public lecture to the MU and wider community of scholars and writers.
The workshop and lecture were well received, with a strong interest shown in First Nations writers and their works. Dr Phillips and Dr Heiss’ appearances topped MU Social for the time that they were at the university.
Dr Phillips made many appearances at the recent Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF), including in the beautiful Angel’s Palace. This large dome was inspired by Alexis Wright’s Miles Franklin award-winning novel Carpentaria.
Angel’s Palace. Artwork by Gordon Hookey. Image by Mick Richards
“She thought the dump was magnificent, as anyone dirt poor would. The way she talked you would have thought she was a very rich woman, and it was nothing for her to walk back and forth to the dump two dozen times a day to cart back pieces of sheet iron, jerry cans, bits of car bodies, pieces of rope, logs, plastic, discarded curtain and old clothing … until she ended up with an igloo made of rubbish.” Alexis Wright, ‘Carpentaria’
In collaboration with Aboriginal artist Gordon Hookey, this unique venue space was created. It was the home of many First Nations performances, panels and speakers throughout the Festival. This venue was commissioned by first-time UPLIT Ceo and BWF Artistic Director Zoe Pollock. Within Angel’s Palace, a 26-minute performance of Carpentaria took place, scripted by Alethea Beetson (Artistic Direcor of DigiYouthArts) and performed by Paula Nazarski, Tibian Wyles and Lenny Donahue.
Dr Phillips chaired the advisory panel for Angel’s Palace at BWF. She presented and/or hosted a few sessions in this special space, including a conversation with Alexis Wright, one of FNAWN’s most established writers.
The Building Angel’s Palace session at the festival, featuring Alexis Wright and Gordon Hookey, included another FNAWN member – Rhianna Patrick.
Dr Phillips hosted and/or contributed to many panels and sessions at other locations during BWF. Including at Kuril Dhagun, State Library of Queensland (SLQ), which presented sessions with First Nations speakers during BWF.
Onwards and Upwards
After Angel’s Palace, Dr Phillips came back down to earth for the 8th Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) National Editors Conference. There she provided a presentation with Grace Lucas-Pennington, which included a discussion on editing literature with First Nations cultural content, and the invaluable the black&write! program of the State Library of Queensland.
And with the flurry of the last few months coming to a end, FNAWN Chair and Board will be looking at further opportunities to promote members and First Nations literature. As well as strategic planning for FNAWNs future, which includes securing funding. So, as always, its onwards and upwards.