16 August 2019

Meet the young writers of Toolkits: Digital Storytelling for 2019!


For the first time, Express Media presents Toolkits: Digital Storytelling! In 2019, we received many applications for our brand new Digital Storytelling stream, making the selection process a difficult one, but we are so excited to introduce our 8 talented young creators from all across Australia that will be participating in this year’s program.  For 12 weeks, these young writers will work through different considerations when working online – from using video and podcasting, to coding, creating non-linear narratives and creative imagery, the limits of form are bound only by the imagination of participants. A large focus of this course will be on creating work that’s uniquely digital and couldn’t be published on the printed page. 

Toolkits: Digital Storytelling will be facilitated by  the Wheeler Centre’s Senior Digital Editor, Jon Tjhia, co-founder of the podcast Paper Radio and the co-editor of the Australian Audio Guide. Jon will facilitate the programs online sessions and workshops, providing one-on-one mentorship and individualised feedback to each young writer.

For more information on our Toolkits and Toolkits: Live program (which you can participate in right now!) visit our website.

But for now, say hello to the class of 2019!

Bec Fary, 26, Narrm/Birraranga (Melbourne)

Hi! My name’s Bec. I listen to people talk about sleep, circadian rhythms and the subconscious in my audio project SleepTalker, which I started as an independent podcast a few years ago and now host and produce as a late-night live community radio show on Triple R. Until recently I was a freelance podcast producer, but I’m taking a break from that to focus on my research and creative practice, which at the moment is taking the form of a Master of Design at RMIT. I’m now spending my days exploring digital listening platforms and different ways we can use them to engage with time and place, so it feels like the perfect time to participate in the Digital Storytelling round of Toolkits. I’m so looking forward to hearing about new storytelling formats, and adapting my writing, editing and audio techniques for some exciting digital experiments. 

I’m on Twitter @becfary and @sleeptalkerpod 

Emma Hartley, 22, Belconnen, ACT

Emma Hartley is a student and trouble-maker who lives near a lake. Her words have been scattered among Overland, Archer Magazine, and Woroni.

The digital world has always daunted me but the infinite creative possibilities it has to offer are too good to pass up. I’m excited to discover (or even invent) new forms and content and see where it all takes me. I tweet sporadically @emmahartleyy1.

Lauren Dymke, 24, Birraranga/ Narrm (Melbourne)

I am an emerging creator who writes non-fiction across different mediums. I completed a bachelor of creative writing last year at RMIT and I’ve been published a few times in the RMIT Gazette, and in an art collective project called Amalgam.

I find myself mostly writing memoir, but reaching out to many different mediums to tell stories, including comics, podcasting, and photography as well as many experiments with genre. I have a true crime podcast in the works and I am really looking forward to learning ways to develop my current project and technical skills. You can find me and my cat on Twitter @Lauren_Dymke

Shastra Deo , 29, Brisbane

Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane on Turrbal and Jagera land. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland, focused on nuclear semiotics, a poetry of warning, and Goro Majima, apparently. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. With the skills she’ll learn through Toolkits: Digital Storytelling, Shastra hopes to create playable poems that wield digital white space in kooky and spooky ways. She’s also keen to reverse-engineer digital poetry to page, investigating what’s lost, gained, or displaced in the process. In all honesty, her main motivation is engaging with other writers, as playing video games at 2am in the dark is incredibly lonely. She tweets and ‘grams @shastradeo, and very occasionally updates shastradeo.com.

Elisha Hammond, 20, Perth

Hey! My name’s Elisha (or just Lish for short). I’m a curious thinker with a soft spot for strange words and strong coffee, and I spend most of my time dreaming up big ideas and doing far too much online shopping. As a budding broadcast journalist and magazine editor, I’m always keeping tabs on current affairs and the issues that matter most. My days are currently consumed with finishing my degree, editing the uni mag (Dircksey Magazine) and figuring out if I can afford avo toast. Someday, I’d love to become a newsreader for the ABC and will push for the inclusion of more puns in the main bulletin.

Jess Cornish, 30, Mildura

Hi, I’m Jess. I’m 30 years old and live in rural north-west Victoria, on the Murray river in a town called Mildura. I’m a vocalist and have a band called the Woodville Creatures and perform regularly through regional Victoria. For many years I reviewed live theatre performances on Theatre Press (website) and more recently I have been writing feature articles for the regional newspaper and a print magazine called Mildura Living. I hope to gain skills in new areas, such as podcasting and learn to better utilise the capabilities of the internet to tell stories. I’m excited to meet people of a similar age who are also writing and can learn off each other. Twitter: @JessicaGittel

Riley Hammond, 24, Kahibah, NSW

Riley Frances Daisy is a 24 year old from the NSW east coast. She studies a Bachelor of Social Science with a major in Linguistics, which has mostly taught her that the best uses of language don’t follow prescriptive rules. Her recent work has involved fusing poetry with ASCII art, and she is also eager to explore developing video poems and interactive experiences over her time with Toolkits. One of her key interests at the moment is bringing experimental digital poetry onto social media platforms so as to maximise accessibility and integrate poetry and experimental wordplay into everyday life.

Riley’s ASCII, free verse, and prose poetry has appeared in Voiceworks and on various online platforms. When not otherwise occupied, she is often chasing her cats around the house to make them pose for photoshoots. Some of Riley’s content can be found on Instagram @dirtplant and Twitter @rileyfrncsdaisy.


urbigfrog is an illustrator and multimedia artist who creates plush-work toys, clay sculptures, zines, comics and illustrations. Their comics and illustrations explore experiences of the body as queer and trans people of colour, recovery from trauma and life in the diaspora. Their mixed-media plush works and illustrations aim to challenge contemporary ideas about community access and education in marginalised communities. They incorporate sculpture into illustration to invoke textural and spatial experiences of community, extending their visual storytelling into the sensory realm. Their artworks have twice featured on the cover of Voiceworks Magazine and their comics and illustrations have appeared in Pencilled in Magazine, Liminal magazine, the Comic Sans Anthology and Voiceworks’ print issues.