In Conversation : Creative Women 2020

Is it any wonder that as a centre of creativity – with our arts and crafts, writing, cooking and thinking courses – that we’re interested in the creative process itself?

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have curated a day of talks with an eclectic collection of creative women who share their stories with equally talented interviewers. Our artists and guest speakers are multi-talented and cover many art forms - writing, song, performance, painting, ceramics, sculpture, cultural collaboration, podcasts, radio and blogging.

Our guest speakers & interviewers include:

Karen Black, Artist in conversation with Hannah James, Journalist

Ursula Yovich, Writer & Performer in conversation with Kate Smith, Artist/Teacher.

Sasha Titchkosky, Co-Founder of Koskela in conversation with Lisa Cahill, Artistic Director of the Australian Design Centre.

Pia Jane Bijkerk, Stylist, Photographer, Author & Blogger in conversation with Shona Smith, Radio Presenter.

Jessica Dettmann, Writer & Performer in conversation with Sacha Horler, Actor.

Jade Oakley, Sculptor in conversation with Rebecca Townsend, Creative Director of Creative Road.

Together we’ll unpack what it means to be creative. We’ll learn about the vision, discipline, challenges and pleasures that come from exploring and expressing our inner selves.

A delicious lunch and refreshments are included. A wonderful day of conversation and inspiration!

“My vision in curating this signature event for North Sydney Community Centre is to gather a range of artists in an informal and relaxed environment for a full day of inspiration, laughter, and conversation. It’s an opportunity to meet established artists, to break down walls and to empower women to seek their own creative path.”- Joanna Goodwin, Director. 

Guest Speaker: Ursula Yovich

Ursula is the writer/performer of works including Magpie Blues, The Man With the Iron Neck and Barbara and the Camp Dogs, the work Ursula starred in and co-wrote with Alana Valentine, which premiered at Belvoir and was nominated for an AWGIE award and won Helpmann Awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Actress in a Musical. She was the recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award and directed a development of The Fever and the Fret for the Ensemble Theatre. Ursula is the voice of ‘Levi’ in the NITV/SBS children’s animated TV series, Little J & Big Cuz, on which she is also a writer, as well as a multi-award-winning actor of stage and screen with film credits, including Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Ivan Sen’s Goldstone and Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne. Small screen credits include The Code, Devil’s Dust, Redfern Now, The Gods of Wheat Street and most recently, the third series of Wanted. Since making her theatre debut at Belvoir, Ursula has worked for all the major main stage theatre companies, and for nearly a decade between 2008 and 2017, Ursula intermittently toured Australia and internationally with the musicians of Black Arm Band.

Interviewer: Kate Smith

Powerful storytelling is the framework Kate uses to explore, transform and cultivate cultural well-being from the inside out for individuals and organisations. Her distinctiveness as an artist/teacher is her ability to create chemistry with an audience using humour with a profound impact. The 2019 recipient of Create NSW’s Creative Development Fellowship, Kate also holds a PhD in performance studies. The fellowship extends her practice, which over twenty years has evolved from stand-up to playwriting, academia, mentoring and profile raising for regional arts. As part of the fellowship Kate is developing a storytelling project using live performance and podcasting to connect women regionally and globally.   Her comedic works with performing partner Drew Fairley have toured extensively throughout Australia, the U.K, Hong Kong and the U.S.A.   Kate teaches performance and communication at Charles Sturt University and is a Senior Yoga teacher.

Guest Speaker: Sasha Titchkosky

Sasha Titchkosky is the Co-founder of Koskela. An innovative and inspiring Australian furniture, design and lifestyle brand. Committed to exceptional design, manufacturing in Australia, protecting our environment, and championing social enterprise. She studied Law and worked as the National Communications Manager for the Australian Stock Exchange, before starting Koskela with her partner Russel in 2000. Together they have created a successful furniture and design business, winning prestigious design prizes and attracting clients such as Apple, Google, and Australia’s leading law firms and banks. As a Certified B Corporation, they have implemented an ethical agenda across all areas of the business. Sasha is especially passionate about Koskela’s social impact division, which supports and celebrates the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community art centres throughout Australia.

Interviewer: Lisa Cahill

Lisa Cahill has held several senior roles in government and the arts and design sector. Prior to joining the Design Centre as Associate Director in 2015, she was the CEO of the Australian Design Alliance. Her various government roles include ministerial adviser, SBS, the Australia Council for the Arts and the City of Sydney. She was also research manager for the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies. Working variously as a curator, writer and creative producer in the visual and performing arts, Lisa co-curated the Australian exhibition for the Triennale of Craft in Kanazawa, Japan in 2013 and New Weave: Contemporary Approaches to the Traditions of Weaving for Object (now Australian Design Centre) in 2014. Lisa completed a Bachelor of Communications in Professional Writing at the University of Canberra and a Masters of Arts Administration from the University of New South Wales. Currently Lisa is co-chair of the Australian Craft and Design Centre Network and is a member of the Interim Council of the Sydney Culture Network.

Guest Speaker: Jade Oakley

Developing her craft since the 1990s Jade Oakley’s gallery practice has evolved, translating the delicate, kinetic and whimsical character of her work into robust, enduring public artworks. Trained at Turpin Crawford Studios, Jade’s public artworks encompass large suspended kinetic mobiles, façade designs and interactive placemaking sculptures. Jade’s public practice demonstrates her ability to adapt her aesthetic and skills to a variety of applications. Throughout her career she has produced numerous public art commissions across Australia and internationally for clients such as The Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), The ACT Law Courts (Canberra), The Galaxy Casino (Macau), Otto & Quay Restaurants (Sydney) and The National Taiwan University Hospital (Taipei). Jade graduated from the College of Fine Arts (UNSW) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in sculpture. She is represented by Australian Galleries and her work is held in private collections both internationally and across Australia. Jade has recently completed a number of significant public art commissions for clients including The ACT Law Courts and the National Taiwan University Hospital.

Interviewer: Rebecca Townsend

Rebecca's has more than two decades of creative industry experience, delivering public art strategies and artworks for diverse clients, including the National Capital Authority, Brisbane City Council, Westfield, Australian National University and Melbourne Airport Corporation as well as Sydney's iconic Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, where she oversaw the substantial growth of public artworks in Australia. Rebecca is passionate about the value of art in public spaces and engaging artists in meaningful ways. She fosters positive relationships with emerging and world-renowned artists alike, collaborating with them to realise their artistic vision from concept development through to installation. Rebecca is a highly experienced curator and project manager, managing bespoke and large contractors to deliver memorable artworks on time and on budget. She is adept at working in large design teams on complex projects and engaging with stakeholders and communities throughout the commissioning process.

Guest Speaker: Karen Black

Karen Black’s painting practice explores time and space within global social, economic and political situations. With an interest in architecture, culture and history, the work tells the human stories within these environments, blending the historical with the mythical and traversing the complex interchange between the personal and the political. Karen completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Griffith University in 2011. She is the recipient of the 2019 Glasshouse Stonehouse residency in France and the 2019 Artbank/QPAC Commission. She was a finalist in the Sir John Sulman Prize at the AGNSW in 2019, 2018 and 2017, and in 2019, a finalist in The Sunshine Coast Art Prize and The Kilgour Prize. Black was an Artspace One Year Sydney Studio Resident in 2017. Her inclusion in recent exhibitions of note include Craftivism: Dissident Objects and Subversive Forms at Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria and touring nationally 2019-2020, Beyond Reason: Exploring the logic of the imagination, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, The Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, Shepparton Art Museum, 2017, Shut up and Paint, NGV International, Melbourne 2016-17, Borders, Barriers, Walls, Monash University Museum of Art 2016 and Painting, More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 2016. Karen was named as a Global Spotlight Artist at Art Taipei. Her work has been exhibited at Art Basel HK, Art Stage Singapore, Art Taipei, and Tokyo Art Fair. Her works are held in prestigious public collections including Monash University Museum of Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian War Memorial, Griffith University Art Gallery, Artbank, Macquarie Bank Collection, QUT Art Museum and the Salsali Private Museum in Dubai, in addition to various private collections both in Australia and overseas.

Tutor: Hannah James

Hannah James is a journalist, writer and editor, and the features director at ELLE Australia. Over her nearly 20 years in journalism in both the UK and Australia, she has interviewed everyone from Gloria Steinem and Ewan McGregor to Bjork, hiked into the outback with Indigenous rangers looking for art sites, explored ancient volcanoes and dived off boats into the Aegean Sea, all in search of a great story. Her work for ELLE Australia involves examining social trends, interviewing authors, actors and everyday people, and celebrating women from all walks of life. As a freelance writer, she is a regular contributor to Australian Geographic, for whom she explores the outback and goes on multi-day hikes. And just for fun, she writes a weekly newsletter reviewing nature books.

Guest Speaker: Pia Jane Bijkerk

Pia Jane Bijkerk is an internationally acclaimed stylist, photographer, author and blogger specializing in still life, nature, and interiors. After living and working in Paris and a houseboat in Amsterdam for five years with her French partner Romain, together they moved to Sydney, Australia where she currently works from her studio & artist’s retreat by the waterside in Balmain. As a stylist Pia has worked around the world for the likes of Home Beautiful, Vogue Entertaining + Travel, Gourmet Traveller, Real Simple, Saatchi and Saatchi, Qantas, Tommy Hilfiger and Philips, and as a writer she has written articles for numerous international publications including a monthly column for Country Style Magazine in 2013-2014, and currently creates photographic feature stories for Happinez magazine. She is the author and photographer of Paris: Made by Hand (2009), Amsterdam: Made by Hand (2010), My Heart Wanders (2011), Little Treasures: Made by Hand (2013) and Festive Season: Reimagined (2018). In 2012 she became a mother to her beautiful daughter, Laly.

Interviewer: Shona Smith

My name is Shona Smith and I began my career as a youth worker and then moved into teaching and lecturing in higher education. Through this experience I developed a natural ability to form bonds with a wide spectrum of people from all walks of life. I learnt how different people are and also how everyone has something interesting to share. My work in radio began after I completed training at the Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS) and fell head over heels in love with radio. I remember lying awake half the night after my first class with my whole body buzzing because I knew I’d found my thing! Soon after I started out as assistant and producer on 2GB’s Ben Fordham Sydney Live weekday drive show. I then began working with Ben on his Outdoor Broadcasts, working with live audiences of up to 1,000 people. It’s so much fun! In 2018 I began my podcast “It’s All Up From Here” about family, parenting and relationships with my dear friend, artist and author, Pia Jane Bijkerk. Having just finished Season 4, we have reached #8 on the Australian Apple Podcasts chart in the parenting category. Apart from my work at 2GB these days you’ll find me co-hosting at 2RRR 88.5FM Big Breakfast with Shona and Hugh on Tuesdays 6-9am, where my willingness to be maybe a little too open about my life keeps our listeners hugely entertained.

Guest Speaker: Jessica Dettmann

Jessica Dettmann is a Sydney-based writer and performer. Her blog, Life With Gusto, turns a sharp but affectionate eye on modern parenthood. She has performed her work several times at Giant Dwarf's Story Club, and has appeared on their podcast. After a decade working as an editor for Random House Australia and HarperCollins publishers she made the transition to writing after two small children rendered her housebound.She once appeared as the City of Sydney Christmas Angel and sat on top of the Town Hall in a frock that reached the street. 

Interviewer: Sacha Horler

Sacha Horler is one of Australia’s most loved and respected actors working in Film, TV and Theatre. Recently she has appeared in the second season of Foxtel’s political thriller Secret City and in 2019 she reprised her role in season two of The Letdown, on ABC and Netflix. Sacha played the title role in ABC comedy series Sando, appeared on the big screen in Sony feature Peter Rabbit, and on stage at Belvoir in The Sugar House. Prior to that she appeared in two award winning Foxtel series’, The Kettering Incident and the first season of Secret City, and opposite Kate Winslet in Jocelyn Morehouse’s hit film The Dressmaker. She had the unprecedented joy of winning two AFI awards on one night for the lead role in Praise and supporting role in Soft Fruit, she won her third AFI award for best supporting actress in Travelling Light. Sacha received AFI Award nominations for My Year Without Sex, Secret Bridesmaids Business, Russian Doll and Grass Roots, and previous theatre credits include Other Desert Cities for the Melbourne Theatre Company and numerous credits for the Sydney Theatre Company, and Company B.