The New Writing Frontier

It is an exciting time to be a writer living in Queensland. Arts QLD are currently undertaking a number of consultation sessions with writing communities all over our vast state, with a view to developing a clear(er) map of the writing sector and to reshape how they currently support writers and writing. With our chief government funding body showing such a strong committment to engaging with authors, agents, publishers, editors and other creatives, it is vital that people lend their voice to the discussion.

In their initial document: Map of the QLD Writers Sector, Arts QLD have set out seven questions for people to respond to. The questions are:

1. What will success for the writing sector in QLD look like in five to ten years?

2. What kinds of products and services will writers be creating and providing in the next five to ten years?

3. How can the sector capitalise on the opportunities digital technologies are bringing about?

4. Can QLD provide leadership for the writing sector nationally and internationally?

5. What kind of investments in the writing sector will make the most difference in the next five to ten years?

6. What roles do individuals, organisations, businesses and government potentially have in leading development of the sector locally and beyond?

7. What can be achieved by the QLD writing sector working more collaboratively to leverage current and future investments?

And the discussion is already bubbling… Chris Meade, founder of if:Book UK, has lead the first round of consultations in Brisbane and Bundaberg and has posted a series of thought provoking blogs. Some of the ideas of how Arts QLD can better support writers that have already been discussed include: the establishment of a writers retreat similar to Varuna (in the Blue Mountains), setting up mentorships for emerging writers, and establishing a new McSweeney’s-esque journal in QLD.

To read more of the discussion, visit the Arts QLD Blog here and here.

And to continue the conversation in the regions, I will be heading off to Cairns, Townsville and Roma in the new year to meet with their writing communities. So don’t let this opportunity to be part of the discussion pass you by… you don’t have to be at one of the meetings to be involved. You can respond to the questions in the comments box below and I will be sure to collate them and forward them to Arts QLD so that your voice is heard. It would be great to hear from many of you.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The New Writing Frontier

  1. Thanks for the info Graham. I’ll have a squiz at the Arts Qld blog.

  2. Scotty dubs

    Graham, you are the man! Thank you for inviting other poets/writers etc to join this discussion.

    1- A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary platform where writers are engaged by various arts disciplines to contribute to art-forms. For example, a play written by a poet, featuring dance and song. Or a book that can be viewed online that engages hip-hop instrumentals to add to its atmosphere… these are just general ideas of things I’ve been thinking lately, but I believe that writing can not bloom in its own little bubble. And I believe the future of creative writing in QLD is all about engaging with other arts communities.

    2- For me, as a performer and poet, I believe products like movies, books and cd’s are obvious. However, as suggested before, ideas like plays, performances and online interaction could be the way to go. I don’t know how this will work though!
    Also, engaging with space and community seems to be a genuine trend. Guerrilla poetry in alleyways and as part of festivals intrigues me…

    3- We no longer need to release a cd, but like the if:book stuff, using flash programs to create interactive poetry is definately worth exploring. Also, things like The Melbourne Poetry Map, where you download the poems and follow the map as the poems explore the ideas of the area are amazing ideas. Once again, it’s an integration of space and place, community, technology and poetry.
    Look, I don’t really have any clear ideas, but the iphone and ipad are amazing devices that can be utilised for poetry and writing in amazing ways. Groups like Blast Theory in the UK do amazing work that really inspires me and I see as the potential to explore new dimensions in art.

    4- Of course QLd can provide leadership, nationally and internationally. But how? I’m very wary of organising big committees that just talk and talk and talk. But we have the potential to create real change and move the bar higher. And that’s how you become world leaders in art. By being inspiring. I really want to do workshops for slam poetry and performance poetry and combine arts disciplines into amazing art works. The ones who want to create change have to be given the opportunity to do so, and then inspire teach, and challenge themselves and the rest of the community. That’s when artistic growth occurs.

    5- Engagement with youth, while also engaging with the people who have been doing it for years. The most prominent and visible funding and professional development opportunities are for people under 25. Whereas alot of the people who need the funding and the PD are over 25. I’m not saying it’s not out there, but it’s definitely not as visible as the opportunities for young voices.

    6- Being accepting, courageous, and culturally aware. I’ve found over the years people will engage with art and creativity whether there is an organisation behind it or not. And some organisations really miss out because there’s no clear dollar signs behind a product. Whereas creating a community of creativity requires leaps in faith from both audiences and organisations.
    Artists will create. It’s usually the organisations who miss out because of the bureaucracy and tied hands.

    7- In the poetry sector, which is kind of the limit of my experience so far, it would be nice to see further collaborations between performance and poetry. A slam at QPF would be interesting and add to the acceptance of performance poetry as a genuine tangent to literature based poetry. It is my goal in 2012 to get more rappers involved in the poetry scene and vice versa as hip-hop stemmed from poetry as much as any other music, if not more so. Like I’ve said before, I believe crossing those divides is integral to the survival and continuous transformation of writing. Keeping any art stagnant, in its own bubble, will ensure a swift death.

    However none of this means forgetting the forms and styles of poems and literature, of having poetry only events with a mic and a poet. And this is all just off the top of my head and stuff I’ve been thinking on quite a lot lately.
    I really believe in QLD as a leader in creative arts. Poetry, music, hip-hop, literature, theatre, art… etc etc
    And I love that there is such a warm and open heart to the poetry sector where cross-pollination inevitably occurs, people are inspired and delighted, frightened and excited, challenged and given a warm little comfort zone.
    Support of this scene and opportunities to lift it are something we dream of.
    So yeah, thanks Graham for putting this out there.
    It’s just a blur of thoughts and ideas and probably doesn’t really make sense at the best of times. But letting me share it is what encourages us to think and emote and create diverse scenes.

    Scotty

    • gnunn

      Great to hear from you Scotty. There are some stellar ideas here that I will be passing along. Make sure you put an application or two in to QPF as well as it sounds like you are bubbling with creativity. Look forward to catching up in the New Year and keeping you in touch with what’s happening. Soon, Graham

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