Bachelor of Education 1989
Where are you from?
I was born in Scottsdale in Tasmania’s north-east but worked away for 30 years in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra and, for a short period, overseas. I’m now working in Burnie and living in Penguin.
What is your job now?
I’m the CEO of Ten Days on the Island. We’re about to deliver our 10th festival. It’s a festival that celebrates the arts and the unique culture of Tasmania as an island.
What did you study?
I studied an Advanced Diploma of Education (1970 – 1973) at, what was then, the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education. I specialised in English, Speech & Drama. (TCAE was later renamed the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology and became part of the University of Tasmania in 1991). I converted my Advanced Diploma to a Bachelor of Education in 1989.
Why did you choose to study education?
Education was a good option for a ‘girl’ although I wanted to be an actor. I loved drama, but I had no idea it might be possible to become a full-time professional theatre performer and I don’t think I had the talent anyway!
What memories do you have of studying at Tasmanian College of Advanced Education?
We had a great time. There were 13 in our course and we were together all day, every day. You’re fully immersed in university life when you study full-time for four years together (especially when there were no fees)! The buildings were very new back then and I remember the gum trees and the river, and playing eight ball in the common room. We were all pretty innocent!
Why did you give up teaching?
The Department of Education supported an education officer with Salamanca Theatre-in-Education Company, and I was seconded out of the teaching service. It was a great opportunity to mix my love of the arts with education. I moved to Sydney and Brisbane working for theatre companies and arts funding organisations. I then went to Melbourne as the CEO of the Australia Business Arts Foundation.
Do you still have a relationship with the University?
Ten Days has a strategic partnership with the University of Tasmania which provides accommodation at Burnie. We are exploring ways in which Ten Days can align with the University’s objectives to be a global leader from a regional place.
How have you been involved as an alumni mentor and how have you found that experience?
I loved the experience of providing advice and support to a number of students over several years – it was great to share my knowledge and to connect to their passions.
What is Ten Days on the Island?
It’s a statewide arts festival that was inaugurated in the early 2000’s as a way of encapsulating and celebrating the unique culture of Tasmania as an island and a place that invested in and supported the arts. Having a cultural festival celebrated across the entire island is a great way to manifest ‘brand Tasmania’. We differentiate ourselves from other festivals through our commitment to regional Tasmania and our investment in new work by Tasmanian artists.
How did you get involved with the Festival?
Because of my experience interstate, I was invited to do a review of the organisation. After which the Board asked me to help implement my recommendations. I was thrilled to be able to resettle in Tasmania and continue to work in the arts.
What has been the highlight of your career?
My career hasn’t really been consciously planned but I’ve been very fortunate to be employed in the arts all my life, working in areas I’m passionate about. I’ve loved working with business and arts and facilitating and demonstrating the role arts play in people’s lives.
What inspires you?
Working with artists. Seeing their passion and the different way of thinking they bring to their work. Recently Ten Days has been working with two female artists from Devonport who wanted to tell stories about women who would inspire and provide role models for their daughters. They’ve created a project that highlights the extraordinary women living on the north-west coast, historical and contemporary.
What is your best career or personal advice?
Find what you’re passionate about and find a way to keep that passion alive. Be courageous: ask for what you want; be prepared to not always get it or get it all, or all at once; build self-belief. Surround yourself with people who support you and ‘share the love’ by supporting others.
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