12 Skywriters hubs have been launched with 106 registered Skywriters and three new community writing groups in inland NSW.
Project coordinator and Big Skies Collaboration leader Dr Merrill Findlay shares the latest from this project:
Congratulations Skywriters! We are now a diverse community of more than 100 writers and aspiring writers ranging in age from late teens to 90 years, and we inhabit a huge swathe of inland NSW. We live in or near 3 regional cities (Bathust, Orange and Dubbo), at least a dozen country towns (Cowra, Canowindra, Forbes, Grenfell, Condobolin, Parkes, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Warren, Narrabri, Blayney, and Millthorpe), and at least 13 townlets, villages and rural localities, including Neville, Quandialla, Bimbi, Lue, Robin Hill, Ravenswood, Nevertire, Bugaldie, Eumunggerie, Tooraweenah, Emu Swamp, Warroo and Gooloogong.
Members of our community also include a few outliers who gave their addresses as the ACT and Sydney; but one of these, novelist Fathia Rahmi Syahroni, is soon returning to Indonesia, from where she plans to skywrite with us on-line.
We also have three more inland community writers groups, which emerged from our Skywriters launches in Condobolin, Forbes and Orange, to join the many pre-existing writers groups, including Dubbo’s Outback Writers, the Lambing Flat Writers Group in Young, Grenfell Writers, Bathurst Poets, Point Blank Writers Group in Gilgandra, Western Wrtiers Ink in Warren, and Author-ised in Parkes.
We have achieved all this in just one month by launching a constellation of 12 Skywriters Hubs in regional and rural libraries. We’ve done it with the support of library staff; our partner organisation Arts Outwest and other Regional Arts Organisations, including Orana Arts, Arts Northwest and Outback Arts, our funding body; Regional Arts NSW; the Outback Writers’ Centre; local radio stations and newspapers; our in-kind sponsors, including ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (with special thanks to ANU’s Dr Brad Tucker for printing our Skywriters posters and postcards for smaller libraries); and with a very effective collaborative social media effort by Skywriters and others on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and other platforms; plus our very supportive guest speakers. Oh, and, of course, all those amazing sponges, slices, biscuits, tarts, fairy cakes, sandwiches and savouries provided by our wonderful Skywriter librarians and their support crews.
Thank you to all of you.
In this past month, we’ve all been part of something we can be very proud of. We’ve co-created a community which will continue to deliver both predictable and serendipitous benefits for the next two years of our Skywriters Project and beyond. Again, congratulations! To all of us!
So again, congratulations. We now begin the next big challenge of co-creating a really solid and supportive inland writers network, and producing some superlative skystories for publication in 2019!
I’m looking forward to working with you over the next two years as our Skywriters Project unfolds.
So what’s next?
Those who have signed up will be kept in the loop via regular emails and there’ll be a Skywriters newsletter out soon. A closed Skywriters Facebook group has also been set up (those who’ve signed up to Skywriters will be sent an invitation).
If you missed the launches you haven’t missed out
Participation in the Skywriters Project is FREE. Anyone with an interest in writing or storytelling in invited to take part. Sign up at your participating library or at bigskiescollaboration.wordpress.com/projects/skywriters/ or email Merrill directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Skywriters project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund (RAF), which supports sustainable cultural development in regional, rural and remote Australia to give artists and communities better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. Arts OutWest is a partner in the Skywriters project and the Big Skies Collaboration.