22 July 2020

Toolkits Participants Q&A

We are so excited to begin our second season of Toolkits 2020, and decided to have a quick chat with some of our Season 2 Toolkits participants from Toolkits Regional Playwriting, Graphic Narratives, Digital Storytelling and Poetry, to get to know them better!

What are some of your interests?

Eric (Toolkits Poetry): I enjoy losing at tennis, winning at table tennis, taking portrait film photographs, clambering over large rocks by the sea, telling my mum when there’s a beautiful sunset, leafing through the complete works of Shaun Tan, occasionally drawing characters inspired by the complete works of Shaun Tan, watching edits of shows on Youtube where it’s only the gay bits, viewing and participating in contemporary dance, solving word jumble puzzles, teasing out logic riddles, playing the board game Articulate, playing the card game Cambio, and eating rock candy. 

Michal (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting): My favorite play is Attempts on Her Life by Martin Crimp – I love the form in which it is written and his way of writing dialogue that isn’t assigned to characters. I find the concept of leaving all of your trust in the hands of the director really interesting and would love to explore that in my work. I also find the entire play challenging and beautiful.

Celeste (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives): I am always keen to learn more about art, comics, and architecture. I enjoy honing hands on and practical skills in my spare time- at the moment I’m trying to reupholster an armchair. I really enjoy working on small DIY projects with friends; risographing, zines, mail art, email and google-doc discussions, etc. I am always interested in learning and talking more about queerness, more specifically I’m interested in methods of fostering queer communities.

Eamonn (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling): I’ve been a big fan of computational / generative art for a while, and the point where that intersects with writing and social media is a niche that I particularly enjoy. At this stage I’d say that I almost follow more generative bots on Twitter than I do actual people. I just think that they can be so clever and fun, and are a joy to have on my timeline. Aside from bots, I think the form I’m most familiar with would be small, narrative driven indie games, which I do often thoroughly enjoy.

Danielle (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting): I like to explore new artists and works that I may not traditionally be drawn to.  Works that push boundaries and share experiences I otherwise would not be privy to.  I try to challenge myself read new artists works in between some of my more traditionally explored works.  Which is not to say that I don’t pull out my old worn copies of “Speaking in Tongues”, “When the Rain Stops Falling” or “The Shape of Things” works by Andrew Bovell’s or Neil LaBute, on a Sunday afternoon.  I am also inspired by strong female lead characters as seen in works such as “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” by Sarah Ruhl, and “ ’Night Mother” by Marsha Norman. 

Lauren (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives): My interests include making games, radio, expressing my feelings constructively through art, art, writing, having my cat scream at me, and doing yoga while simultaneously talking over people to tell them it cured my depression.

Kiki (Toolkits: Poetry): My interests include soaking up sun wherever and whenever possible, being in the ocean, Solange’s discography, and dreaming up new worlds and futures to exist in. I am into black feminist disruptions of time and space, archival reimaginations, and softness/care as radical. When I’m not writing, I like to play around with sound design and read novels. I hope to learn how to code so that I can realise my ambitions to make digital art about African techno-futures. Currently I‘m a big fan of going for walks and inhaling the pop genius that is Dedicated by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Pip Grylls (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling):

+ I love hypertexts such as Patchwork Girl or With Those We Love Alive

+ Story-driven game experiences like Life is Strange or A Mind Forever Voyaging, and 

+ Multimedia/video based narrative such as Geomancer/AIDOL.

I suppose I ultimately find digital works with narrative structures the most compelling! I like engaging with more conceptual pieces but find that to me they tend to fall more into the category of contemporary art than literature per se. I love when the content explores ideas related to digital existence.


What are you most looking forward to or most excited for about your Toolkits program?

Eric (Toolkits Poetry): I’m really excited to get eyes on work that I’ve recently completed or am currently working on. I’ve gotten a glimpse at what personal feedback can do for my work and my perspective as a writer, so I’m keen to do that on a more consistent basis, especially with someone with so much experience in the field. I’m also excited to meet everyone else in the program and learn about them and what shapes their practice. 

On specific topics, I’m especially keen to learn more about eco-poetics and how poetry can intersect with activism. The section on Non-Traditional Constraints / Poetry Games also sounds really fascinating, as I aim to be experimental with my writing.

Michal (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting):  I am looking forward to being able to make new connections with other regional young writers and challenge myself to create something new. It’s rare to find workshops and development opportunities as a playwright in a regional space and I am very excited to have the opportunity to develop my skills and new work.

Celeste (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives): I’m so excited to learn methodically about traditional and nontraditional graphic storytelling. I’m especially interested to learn some more skills for translating analogue comic writing practices into digital work. I’m also really looking forward to meeting everyone else partaking in the workshop, as well as the mentors and guest teachers.

Eamonn (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling): At this stage I’ve been an active user of the internet for the majority of my life. From playing online games,to  being on social media, to trawling through random websites for the hell of it, digital spaces are ones that I’m fairly accustomed to being in. Given that, making work that is also designed to exist online just makes sense to me. I’m also pretty excited by some of the tools that can be used to create digital work, so it’s the chance to get to use the tool and experiment with the medium that is the drawcard.

Danielle (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting): Aside from the amazing opportunity to connect in with emerging artists around Australia, I’m looking forward to expanding my comfortability in drafting works, freeing up any fears or apprehensions I have about really pushing limits with my work.  I think it is crucial for any artist to continue to grow connections and gain insight and feedback from others in their craft;  questioning my own work, and becoming critical and thought provoking when sharing ideas and thoughts with other artists.  I’m also very excited to explore the depths of plot and storyline – really pushing limits of works I would otherwise not consider exploring and sharing in this journey with fresh, insightful, open minded artists who share the same passion for the arts.

Lauren (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives):  I’m excited to get all these thoughts whirring around in my brain onto paper and then go through the process of someone telling me it’s mediocre so that eventually I can  improve, and then absolutely brag about it while people can’t tell me to stop bragging because the idea is actually quite good and slightly intimidating.

Kiki (Toolkits: Poetry): I’m really excited to learn about the formal qualities and traditions of poetry as an artform, so I can know what I’m drawing on when I write and uncover more ways to experiment! It’s super cool to have the chance to build up a sense of community so I can’t wait to connect with lots of artists doing amazing things – it would be extra dreamy to collaborate down the line. I’m excited to receive feedback, make heaps of mistakes, become a more inventive writer, and be a sponge to the wisdom of the incredible mentors.

Pip Grylls (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling):

+ The digital medium’s capacity for new kinds of immersion and interactivity fascinate me

+ I find content matter about digital/technological advancement compelling—and it’s most compelling when it is presented digitally

+ The digital medium’s capacity for collective and collaborative modes of storytelling excite me


What are you currently working on/What do you want to work on in Toolkits?

Eric (Toolkits Poetry): Reading poetry makes my brain catch and stutter and leap in a way that nothing else really does. I like its pace and impact, its urgency and flexibility, and its way of transforming the familiar into the strange and the strange into the familiar with so few words.

Michal (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting): I fell into playwriting accidentally as a performer/director, as I reached a point where I started having to make my own work, and I fell in love with it. I’ve always loved to write but playwriting gives you a whole new opportunity to explore character and human behaviour. I am particularly interested in dialogue and the way people talk and interact and that is something I have been exploring a lot recently.

Celeste (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives): I like everything about graphic storytelling, however I especially enjoy the act of visually translating a narrative from a thought to paper. I love taking the time to frame a story spatially and aesthetically. I also appreciate that Graphic storytelling encompasses such a wide range of people and communities, and that there are always more emerging.

Eamonn (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling): I do have an idea for a Tracery run Twitter bot that I’ve begun mapping out. I’ve made a couple previously, but they have been on the more basic side of things, and the tweets that they produce tend to exist in isolation. I’m keen to make one that feels like it’s creating more of a continuous, ongoing narrative, while still being randomized. I’m also really excited for the opportunity to start experimenting with some more complex engines, like Bitsy and Twine, to develop works that are a little bit more layered and sophisticated than a simple bot.

Danielle (Toolkits: Regional Playwriting): There is a liberating beauty in creating whole worlds with eccentric and relatable characters who you journey with through playwriting.  It allows you a freedom to explore the deepest, and sometimes darkest, parts of your imagination without restriction.  You get to breathe life into something created from nothing and find moments of real, raw connection not only with the world you’ve created, but share that with others.  It is a powerful artform that forces you to sit in vulnerability and really listen to what it wants to share.  I love the power of words and the ability they have, to bring people together through shared journey, and for me, playwrighting gives the platform for that wholesome experience. 

Lauren (Toolkits: Graphic Narratives): I think the whole human brain coming up with some internalised concept and then being able turn that directly into a form of visuals and literature is absolutely wild. Drawing isn’t just the ability to be able to use colour well, or having a good basis on anatomy. As an artist a huge frustration is trying to draw exactly the image you’re seeing in your mind. Sometimes thoughts are blurry and vague and it’s difficult to translate. Being able to get out a myriad of those complex thoughts to turn those blurry thoughts into an actual thing is so cool.

Kiki (Toolkits: Poetry): I love poetry for its ability to be moving and gutwrenching and breathtaking in such small amounts of space. My favourite poetry says and does so much with so few words, investing meaning in the layout of the printed page, where punctuation or a line break is placed. I find this beautiful and very infused with a sense of motion. I think that poetry is powerful in that it’s creating something new in its very existence. I really feel like art can bring new worlds into being and that’s the energy behind me when I move through the world attempting to add my own work into the mix.

Pip Grylls (Toolkits: Digital Storytelling):

+ I’ve mostly been working on how to code. I haven’t tried to make a digital work in a while. But I would really like to explore making some narrative poems I wrote digital. I think they would work well in a digital format. 

+ I would love to attempt making a bitsy or some other kind of game for Toolkits. I’ve never tried making a game and have felt a bit confused about how to use the format effectively!

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