Originally from Melbourne I left there in 1986 expecting to travel around Australia for a year before returning back to my comfortable inner-city cosmopolitan life of shared houses, good food, watching art house films and seeing live bands. As they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. First stop was Yuendumu in the NT, a remote Aboriginal community 300 km from Alice Springs to stay with a friend. It was dusty, dirty and daggy and through a weird quirk of fate it became my home for the next 2.5 years working for the newly established Warlukurlangu Artists Association as their first Art Coordinator. I did get to see a lot of Australia during that time traveling with artists. It was an extraordinary time to fall into the Indigenous Australian arts sector and shaped the next 30 years of my life.
I have been able to work at things I am passionate about and with people I care about. It has been life-long learning as the sector has developed and gained international attention and the importance of Indigenous culture and heritage
Since then I have gone on to work in a range of roles including: business management consultant, researcher, writer, curator, gallery owner, project coordinator, manager, social entrepreneur, lobbyist and professional volunteer. The organisations I have worked for and with include Indigenous art centres, peak bodies including ANCAAA, Desart, ANKA, Ananguku Arts and UMI Arts, cultural and ecotourism organisations, institutions, government and other consultants around Australia and in Cambodia.
Oddly the Kunwinjku people of Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) have been a large part of my life. I first worked as Manager of Injalak Arts from 1991-95 arriving with two children and leaving with three. It was a challenging time that involved a lot of laughing and learning and a few tears. It is a complex community on the western border of Arnhem Land. I returned in 2013 as a consultant and by accident (!) that morphed into the role of Mentor Manager. Six incredible years followed until early 2019.
I am passionate about fostering mainstream respect for Indigenous knowledge and ways of being. From childhood I was in awe of Australia’s First Peoples and having the opportunity to work closely with hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists/custodians of culture from all over the country was a dream come true.
I am also an environmentalist activist and Permaculture practitioner. In 1998 I purchased a 100 acre property in Wangary South Australia and moved there with my children. Over the years it has been extensively vegetated with perennial plantings. On a quarter acre block in Coffin Bay where we currently reside I have planted a mini food forest.
I’m a mother of four wonderful humans from 16 – 30 and a grandmother.
After living and working out bush for 10 years I fell into consulting because I had three small children. One day my oldest said ‘no more moving round mum’ so we settled on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia on a 100 acre property. There I focused on finishing writing up the data for the The Art & Craft Centre Story Volumes I-III that were published in 199/2000. Initially it seemed like an end to working with remote communities, which I had loved. What started as a constraint turned out to be a blessing because over the 15 years from 1995 – 2010 I had opportunities to travel and work extensively around Australia with many wonderful people in dozens of remote communities and towns in WA, SA, QLD and NT.
For a change of flavour and experience I lived in Cambodia for two years as a Business Management Adviser under the Australian Volunteers International program from 2010. Returning to Australia in 2013 I consulted for more two years before focusing exclusively on my role as Mentor Manager for Injalak Arts until early 2019.
I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with individuals and organisations to build a more inclusive, ethical and ecological society that is respectful of Indigenous ways of being. Making good business – strong social enterprises – is one way of doing that, and one I particularly enjoy.
See here details of places and scope of work, consultancies and major projects.