Program Manager: Gabrielle Journey Jones
Gabrielle Journey Jones is a poet, drummer and CEO (Creativity Encouragement Officer) of Creative Womyn Down Under, a community initiative established in Sydney in 2006 to connect women and many forms of creative expression. Gabrielle was born on Gadigal land, Sydney and is from Maori and African American bloodlines.
Contributing to diverse poetry communities is one of Gabrielle’s greatest passions. Involvement includes: the South Coast Writers Centre – Board member; Red Room Poetry Company – workshop facilitator and performer; Unspoken Words festival – performer (2017) and organising team (2018); Children’s Book Club Australia Illawarra-South Coast Branch – guest poet; StayFly Sydney – rapper; and Word Travel’s Storyfest (2017) – performer and panellist. Her Social Work background specialising in not-for-profit organisational governance has been a valuable resource in the literary world.
Gabrielle has shared her poetry on open mics and by invitation at local, national and international events for over 20 years. Her first collection of poetry “Spoken Medicine” was published in October 2017 by Ginninderra Press. Intersectional feminism underpins Gabrielle’s spoken word poetry and rap. In October 2017, Gabrielle was honoured to receive an Edna Ryan Award for “Art for Creative Feminism” at the 20th anniversary awards ceremony. You can find out more about Gabrielle’s work at www.creativewomyn.net.
Innovation Manager: Wil Roach
My father a (Trinidadian through and through) had a selection of cryptic sayings; a favourite of mine is ‘never trust a shadow after dark!’ It has a certain ring to it, but could be applied to any situation requiring a considered view. For me writing is like breathing, inhaling dirty and exhaling clean air removing darkness and confusion; anything that obstructs the airway of my creativity is fatal to the written or spoken word. I enjoy using the spoken word in poetry and prose through performance to enlighten and provide a fresh set of eyes to the subject being addressed. For me to perform is about connecting with a small part of every audience members’ soul. It will always be an unimaginable privilege for instance to read Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise at the birthday party of 102 year-old friend in 2016. To share Year at Sea, a 40-minute memoir performance piece, before an estimated audience of 50 people at Poets Corner, North Sydney, November 2017. There was the first time I and other poets collaborated with other seasoned First Nations Poets in reading a themed poem Give Me Back My Mother’s Heart at the Sydney Writers Festival, May 2015 and reprising it at Barangaroo, September, 2015. Lastly (for now) finishing the first manuscript of my three-part memoir trilogy, finishing it and pressing the send button to my editor for her to cast her seasoned eye over it, with no doubt many edits to follow! The art and practice of writing is with me in my sleep and when I hear the dawn chorus loving and caring for it unconditionally.
External Relations Manager: Emma Rose Smith
Emma is a writer, editor and arts organiser living and working on Gadigal and Wangal land. She is interested in accountability, queerness, mental health, and the politics of representation. As well as working on Unspoken Words, she co-organises the monthly storytelling event Word in Hand. By weekend she gardens haphazardly.
Production Manager: Emily Crocker
Emily writes poetry for both print and performance. She really enjoys collaborating with artists working in different mediums. Emily grew up in south-western Sydney but is has since found a home in the Wollongong spoken word community. Here, she has made a name for herself as the resident bee-enthusiast.