This has been a special interest since I, along with others, tried to influence development decisions in the area I live (see BEYOND FEAR AND LOATHING: Local politics at work’, above). I’ve had a couple of essays published on this subject:
• The opportunities for deliberative democracy at the local level:
“Open Government should start locally”, May 2011, is available here
• Local councils taking innovative approaches to engaging their citizens:
“Beyond the (local) ballot box”, August 2012, is available here
I’ll be writing more on this subject.
In 2012 The Illawarra News, an independent citizen journalism site started in the Illawarra area. I’ve occasionally submitted articles and in June 2013 BEYOND FEAR AND LOATHING was nominated and received an award for Journalism and Media Advocacy.
Usual suspects and vocal minorities is a project I have recently commenced, looking at different people’s experiences of public (or civic) life. I am, initially researching people who stand in the face of enormous odds and/ or overwhelming criticism for something they believe in – sometimes a little valued public good. Often dismissed as vocal minorities or usual suspects these people have a story to tell. I am interested in what sustains them, what threatens to sink them. How they keep going in other words, and the lessons they have learned along the way. I’m planning an initial essay, but have an open mind and this may lead further.
Vignettes are short, descriptive literary sketches. I’m writing these in themes such as people, travel, life’s rich learning experiences.
For many people Vertigo is a gut wrenching, disorienting experience. I can get it watching TV. Not sure where this is going but suspect it’s more than a vignette.
I have a week long residency at the Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station in late July 2013. The station is 120 kilometres north of Broken Hill and one of the things I’ll be working on is my relationship to the arid zone, while deepening my interest in nature writing. I live in a well-watered part of Australia but grew up in Adelaide, capital of the driest state in the driest continent. Before I knew anything about the bush I felt some affinity with woodlands, grasslands and low heaths. When others were bored by the monotony I was leaning towards enchantment. Maybe I’ll find out why.
Click here to learn about Fowlers Gap.
See updates on the Blog.