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?

In the lead up to International Women’s Day come listen to an eclectic collection of creative women who share their stories with equally talented interviewers.

Sasha Titchkosky in conversation with Lisa Cahill.

Pia Jane Bijkerk in conversation with Shona Smith.

Jessica Dettmann in conversation with Sacha Horler.

And Jade Oakley in conversation with Rebecca Townsend.

Together we’ll unpack what it means to be creative and how to go about expressing your own ideas, thoughts and emotions in whatever form you want to work in.

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!

Presenter: 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.

Facilitator: 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.

Presenter: 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.

Facilitator: 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.

Presenter: 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. 

Facilitator: Sacha Horler

Sacha Horler is one of Australia’s most loved and respected actors. 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.

Presenter: 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. Scribbly Gum was the major commission for the Lyons Architects designed law courts building in Canberra. The high-profile work has multiple vantage points from the street, reception level and mezzanine. The artwork is a reference to the local landscape and a site-specific response to the curvaceous suspended wall. The combination of white-washed timber and light, as well as the immense scale give the artwork a sense of refinement and gravitas appropriate for its setting. Referencing the Catopsilia Pomona butterfly which annually flocks in large numbers in Taiwan Kingdom of Butterflies is an installation of 23 mobiles suspended along the Medical Mall, a long central atrium corridor of the National Taiwan University Cancer Hospital. The mobiles suspend a cloud of 80 large butterflies that appear as though they have burst through the doors to flock through the Medical Mall. The kinetic nature of the work enables the butterflies to move gently with the soft air currents within the space. Made from perforated aluminium, which has been shaped and painted by hand, treating every wing as a small painting. There is a fine pattern of perforations on the wings of the butterflies, when seen with the light of the skylights behind them, the wings appear translucent. The mass of butterflies creates a sense of wonder and joy for patients and visitors alike. Kingdom of Butterflies is an outstanding example of Jade’s practice and benchmark acquisition for the client.

Facilitator: 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.