Recently, newly appointed WWBA project officer Amy Kasuma invited Dr Sarah Jane Moore a series of questions which inspired her to reflect on the past few years and the impact of the Womens Well Being Academy on her life/work and creative process
What was the impact of the funding from WWBA?
Receiving the funding was a confidence booster and enabled me to travel to the mainland and meet with my research partner Laura Parker, colleague Brendan Burns, curator Mr Jackson Mann and digital collaborator Anton Rehrl https://www.antonrehrl.com/ The funding was a game changer for my creative practice as it re-connected me with my support systems and enabled me to take a break from sole parent duties and focus on delivering, interacting and reflecting on my digital exhibition at the library. The funded outreach session that I gave to International postgraduate students was both nourishing and impactful to my future practise as I enjoy presenting and performing and often regard myself as an interdisciplinary, intersectional place based performance artist. The stories and ideas that the students shared with me whilst engaging within the exhibition space on campus have been embedded and woven into the monologues of my next live theatre show Behold, Belong, Become. This live theatre story song cycle will be performed with Tasmanian musician Oliver Gathercole in 2023 in Europe on invitation from Middlesex University and Professor Jayne Osgood. School of Biotech Biomolecular Science ally, colleague and supporter Associate Professor Brendan Burns purchased one of the 6 visual art pieces from the Worlding with Oysters collection during the visit and that had great impact. It is a piece framed in Tasmanian oak by a local Taroona based independent framer and entitled Magic Moon. I am very proud of the fact that Brendan hangs the work that we developed in real time together, in his office at UNSW. Its materiality was informed by a dialogue and conversation with Brendan, Professor Martin Van Krandonk and others during a live feed from my little house in Taroona. The blood moon speaks directly to the cycles of nature, climate change and is held in the private collection of Dr Brendan Burns and I am very proud of this acquisition and of my friendship and working relationship with Brendan.
Covid has impacted both artists and scientists in a myriad of ways, how did covid impact your life/research/work?
I relocated to lutruwita Trowunna Tasmania to care for my young children during covid. I lived on a low income, home schooled my children and renovated an old weatherboard house in Taroona (meaning shell) overlooking timtimili minanya / River Derwent. I spent my 50th birthday stacking wood and burning a brownie made from the last packet mix on the shelf at my local supermarket. It was a difficult time when artists, musicians and freelance independent creatives such as myself were cast adrift from our incomes and usual means of disseminating our work. Covid required me to develop different ways of working through and with digital art practise and I believe that my work has strengthened through this time. Whilst living remote, I transformed a garden shed into a studio and made charcoal from local bushwoods, harvested clay and ground the oyster shells that Laura Parker sent me through care packages in the mail. I needed to be resourceful during this time and made all my own pigments from materials harvested within a 5 km radius of my home. I explored place and place scapes in new ways and developed fresh focus, and a new vocabulary. Curator Jackson Mann and mentor Ivan Jirasek checked in on me and my work regularly with mobile phones calls and digital meet ups and I began to acknowledge the loneliness, embrace the isolation and engage in in newly iterated hybrid digital/hand on performance art making and workshops https://www.edi.unsw.edu.au/dr-sarah-jane-moore-diversity
What have you been working on since WWBA funded you to travel from lutruwita Trowunna Tasmania during NAIDOC Week 2020? http://exhibitions.library.unsw.edu.au/worlding-with-oysters
I secured a teaching contract in Art, Architecture and Design for T3 this year and moved to Bondi in order to focus on my teaching. For the past ten weeks, I have been encouraged students to connect to place through walking, weaving, listening and storying/sharing. I have been mindfully cultivating a nature based and external classroom, where face to face learning and hands on approaches to materiality are modelled. I have been encouraging students to write poetry, develop collage, explore galleries, the Botanical Gardens, draw, paint and explore the gardens on the Paddington Campus and the outdoor learning spaces on the Kensington Campus too. The students have visited and added their creative voices to the wall in BEES https://www.scienceweek.net.au/event/through-the-looking-glass-with-dr-sarah-jane-moore/randwick/and they have printed protest bags and staged a pop up exhibition in response to the work of Gordon Hookey. https://www.events.unsw.edu.au/event/gordon-hookey-murrialityIt has been a busy time of learning new systems, navigating change and meeting and engaging with students and developing student centred, hands on and practical, collective, campus based pedagogical approaches.
The CSIRO recently funded you to share your work at the Ryde Library; tell me about this performance
I gifted the last ten copies of the 1000 copies of River Business that I had printed children’s to children during Science Week at the Library in Ryde in August. This song/story sharing presentation enabled me to in honour scientists and celebrate scientists and focus my lens on the liminal spaces and the nexus where science meets art in unexpected ways. Luke Stellar joined me at the library and shared his insights and science stories and colleague Steven Durbach showcased his own work. Working with CSIRO in this way was an important part of my professional growth and development and represented levels of professionalism that would have been impossible for me to imagine six years ago when I graduated with my PhD and gave birth to my third child. The shift in my thinking and practise occurred when I met Indigenous Scientia Fellow Dr Laura Parker and learnt about her ground breaking work with oysters. After meeting Laura, I was a funded artist in residence in BEES through the prestigious Synapse art residency program. Funded through the ANAT network, Synapse enabled me to focus, take time to develop work without restrictive outcomes based parameters and experiment, be curious and learn from scientists. ANAT continue to support my work through hosting my blog and I thank the network for their advocacy, support and encouragement over the years. This support plays a vital role in my cut through with industry partners in science and supports my professional networks. I love the work that they are involved in and the networks who work/play and explore in the spaces between art, technology fascinate and inspire me. https://www.anat.org.au/program/anat-residencies/
Tell me about your latest residency at the Bondi Pavilion.
This year, I was successful in submitting an expression of interest to be one of the 7 selected artists and collectives to work in residence at the Bondi Pavilion. https://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/recreation/arts_and_culture/bondi_pavilion_housewarming_program. Over the past three months I have written, recorded and directed a one person show entitled Behold, Belong, Become. The show navigates my oyster, river and ocean journeys and stories the last three years of living and working in remote area lutruwita Trowunna Tasmania through song, monologue and music. I am grateful for the support of the cultural team at the Bondi Pavilion for enabling me to work in the new theatre, the recording studios and the Sea Gull Room. Taking time out in a residency such as this gave me the opportunity to ground myself, pause my research and teaching and focus on the development of new, post covid work for live audiences. I look forward to opportunities to perform this work in the future.
What is next for you Sarah Jane?
As an independent creative artist who works from contract to contract, I often ask myself this question! Mostly, the answer unfolds, like a meandering track or river; directed but responsive, organic and in flow. In general, I plan to continue to ride the funding wave in order to develop my creative practise and I want to spend time with my three children and be present in their lives as they grow. I am constantly learning new languages and ways of seeing/being and working and enjoy the laboratory studio that BEES so generously provide to me on level 5. Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their languages, oral traditions, writing systems and literatures and I hope to continue to support others in this space in the future. In the meantime, I will work collaboratively with climate change and marine scientists and devote my time championing the importance of place, nature based learning and wild thinking. To commission a work, book a workshop or create a connection with Dr Sarah Jane Moore, please reach out on [email protected]