Express Media is pleased to present Toolkits: Live, a series of live streamed events for young writers across Australia to kickstart their creative writing.

Toolkits is a program in which a select group of young writers develop their skills in a unique and exciting online environment, with facilitators Jennifer Down, Stephen Pham, Rory Green, Elena Gomez, Manisha Anjali and Claudia Chinyere Akole.

But Toolkits doesn’t stop there. Toolkits: Live is an accessible online opportunity for all young writers to learn from the best and brightest wordsmiths in Australia. Through a series of live streamed YouTube sessions and an interactive social media conversation, participants can develop their writing skillset and hone their craft—all in the comfort of their own homes.

Toolkits: Live offers the opportunity to ask burning questions and engage live on social media, using the hashtag #EMToolkits. Best of all, the sessions are totally free and open to the general public.

To see our entire catalogue of Toolkits Live resources head to our Video Resource page! 

Season One

Thursday April 8th| Non-Fiction Storytelling in Comics with Samuel Luke | 6.00pm

Non-fiction, autobiographical, and adaptive narratives are a staple of the indie/underground comic scene. The creative and publishing freedom granted by the comics medium has meant we’ve been able to see stories from groups historically in the social margins of mainstream publishing and media. How do you create personal stories? How can you use personal stories to relate to our wider social landscape? How can you adapt these skills to tell other non-fiction stories with comics? Who should be telling these stories? In discussion with Samuel Luke, a local rising star best known for making comics & illustrations that explore trans identity, issues, and truth.


Tuesday April 20| Living as Research with Mia Nie | 6.00pm

Comic artist and zine-maker Mia Nie joins Stephen Pham to speak about living as research. We discuss reading, researching, and living the forms you are writing into, including structure, tropes, and ask how best to incorporate research into your writing.


Wednesday May 5 | Voice Recognition: Writing Dialogue and Crafting Narratives with Kavita Bedford | 6:00pm

In fiction, ‘voice’ can refer to dialogue—but it’s also used to describe the feel and sound of the narrative itself: everything an author brings to the table that makes their work unique, from word choice to particular values or perspectives. In Week 7, we’re joined by Kavita Bedford to talk the talk (literally). How do you develop a distinctive narrative voice? What are the keys to crafting believable, captivating dialogue? How do you give each character a unique voice and perspective?


Thursday May 20 | The Grimey Reality of Comics Publishing with Pat Grant| 6:00pm

Renowned cartoonist Pat Grant joins us to share his tips on submitting comics for publication and avenues for publishing your own comics. Pat and Claudia will also discuss the ethical considerations for artists publishing comics for the first time.


Tuesday June 1 | Structure & Form with Cher Tan | 6:00PM

How do we choose the form that best fits our ideas? In week 6 we’ll be joined by Cher Tan to discuss different structures of nonfiction and when to use them. We’ll talk about ideas, form, and how the two can work with – or against – each other.


Wednesday June 2 | This Writing Life with Elizabeth Tan | 6:00PM

For centuries, writing has been romanticised and mythologised—from the image of the impoverished but impassioned author working away in a creaky garret to the fairytale story of the mysteriously financially independent writer (think Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City and also every other TV show or film with an author character). But what does it really mean to be a working writer in Australia in 2021? In this, our final live week of Toolkits: Fiction for this year, we’re joined by Elizabeth Tan, prizewinning author of Smart Ovens for Lonely People and Rubik, to hash it out. How did she get her big break (and would she call it that)? What does it mean to be an emerging writer? What does her day-to-day look like, as the author of two critically acclaimed books? What’s it like working with editors? Can writing be taught? What have we all been doing here for three months?

Season Two



Monday  September 13th| Navigating Digital Tools with Tegan Webb| 6.00pm

When and how should we pick up new technologies for making digital stories? This week we’re joined by writer, zine and digital art maker Tegan Webb to examine casual and professional tools for authoring digital stories such as Twine, Tracery, Bitsy. Through structured experimentation, we’ll learn how tool use can inform ideas just as much as ideas can inform tools, and how to avoid getting lost in tutorials and user guides.



Tuesday September 28th| The Alchemy of Performance with Thabani Tshuma | 6.00pm

Thabani Tshuma is well-known for his captivating, rhythmic and theatrical storytelling practice, giving audiences offerings of poems that feel like magic. What is it about Thabani’s stage presence that feels enchanting? How does Thabani evoke these emotional depths and complex narratives? In Thabani Tshuma’s poem Dear Addiction, he describes the act of “tapping into the alchemy of rewriting my own fable”. In this session, we look at the alchemy of poetry and performance, the transformative aspect of storytelling as a tool for healing, altering reality and future-making. Thabani also plays with the idea of the audience as the medium, the audience as an equal creator in the magic of performance. We also discuss at the archival function of performance. Thabani has a background in journalism, which allows us to compare the poet to the media, an embodied documentarian of the emotional history of our times. There will be a Q&A with Thabani at the end of the discussion, you are encouraged to bring questions and share your thoughts.



Monday October 11th| (Im)material Ethics with Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker | 6.00pm

What might a digital-born ethics contain? This week we’re joined by Nyungar technologist and digital rights activist Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker to discuss our responsibilities as digital storytellers: from subject and readers to communities and infrastructures. We’ll also examine issues around data and the archive, representation and digital platforms, intellectual property and economies of labour, and the ethics of embodiment in interactive storytelling. How can our work be informed by, acknowledge and respond to these issues?


Tuesday October 26th| Oral Storytelling with Soretti Kadir | 6.00pm

The poetry of Oromo storyteller, facilitator and activist Soretti Kadir is a dynamic, authentic and heartful experience, seeking revolution, liberation and freedom. With Soretti’s poetry, there is fire from which the voice originates, and there is music— a rhythm derived from imagination, history and intuition, that invites individuals and communities to walk the path of truth. Such is the mark of a skilled performer. How does Soretti harness the power of oral storytelling? How do intention, expression and voice work together to create meaning? In this session we will delve into Oromo oral storytelling traditions and how they are awoken in contemporary spaces, as well as speak to Soretti’s inimitable artistry and expression. We will discuss Namummaa fi Wantoota Namummaa Qancarsan, Soretti’s offering presented at The Arts Centre, and Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, the poet to whom the film is dedicated. We will also speak to the dichotomy of the private self and public self, the writer vs the performer and how the two conflate.

Wednesday October 27th| The Lives of Poets with Pamela Brown | 6.00pm

In this Q&A session, Pam Brown, interviewed by Elena Gomez, will discuss Australian poetry communities, the importance of collaboration and connections, friendships, publishing collectives, over the decades. Pam will share her experiences and insights


If you have any questions about how you can view and take part in Toolkits Live, email Express Media on

Toolkits is generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.