Creative Capital Interview # 6
What do you do? (we’re interested in what you do for a living – your ‘day-job’ – and, if applicable, what creative pursuits you follow outside your day job)
I currently work for the State Government in rolling out a world-first workplace program that encourages people to think differently about how they go about their day-to-day lives. By changing their behaviour, we hope they start to improve their health, save money and reduce their eco-footprints.
Apart from full time work, I have my fingers soaking in various delicious pies. I sit on the Board of the Youth Affairs Council of WA where I provide strategic direction and creative ideas to WA’s peak body regarding youth issues.
I am also helping to organise the 2010 National Youth Week – something I consider to be a great opportunity to celebrate how young people express themselves and what they contribute to the rich tapestry of Australian life.
Who is in your ‘creative community’? (examples of your mentors, inspirations, contacts and colleagues)
I have mentors ranging from close friends and family members to former university lecturers and colleagues living on the East Coast. One such person is Michael (Mo) O’Meara who manages to excite thousands of young people every year through his alternative approach to facilitation. Mo gives those people who are usually ignored a chance to shout into the megaphone of public debate – and be heard. If I can bring his ideas and approaches to a Perth audience, I will be a happy man.
I am also fortunate enough to be in close contact with some of WA’s most creative young people. On a daily basis, I hear their stories about how they are doing all they can to allow Perth’s creative seeds to sprout from the cracks in our layers of stifling regulations and “profit over people” mentality. From starting up community hubs in the form of cafes to designing markets that challenge the very way we think about urban spaces, I get excited by their conversations, annoyed by their obstacles and inspired to do something to help Perth finally grow up.
What is your ‘creative footprint’? (where do you come from, where did you train, shape your career, where do you work or share your work)
I come from a long line of volunteers and it is in my genes to suffer from a niggling voice to give something back to my community. My great grandmother was a leader in women’s rights in the 40s and became the first woman commissioner of the ABC. My parents devoted a remarkable amount of their time and energy to helping my hometown find its identity and take its place as a regional centre once more.
Not only did I leave University with a formal qualification, but a mind full of ideas and practical experience in making the world a fairer and better place to live. While I can thank my family for instilling me with the ability of just getting on with the job, I have my studies in sustainable development to thank for opening my eyes to the potential we have if everyone were to consider the economy, society and environment equally in every decision we make.
Describe what creativity means to you…
If tapped fully, creativity helps us to realise the potential of everything around us. A blank wall is no longer a drab form of oppression – it is a canvas for something inspiring. An empty hall is no longer a let down – it is lesson of what not to do to get a better reception a second time round.
Describe the ideal conditions for your creativity, and what, if anything, hinders you in creating those conditions.
If I am surrounded by people who not only have a shared vision of something beautiful but know how to wield the tools necessary to create it – I’m in heaven. If those around me can do nothing but concentrate on what’s missing – I’m in hell.
I look to those places where political, community and business leaders talk about the potential of their cities and embrace ideas that come from left field. The powers-that-be who have the courage to upset the status quo and blind faith to try something new continue to find themselves in my “contact next week” list.