Stuart Andrews is the director of Tarwyn Park Training, the principle education wing for the Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) method. NSF is internationally recognised as a significant innovation in sustainable agriculture and land care, and was developed in Australian conditions (one of the driest and oldest continents on earth) with the ability to be utilised anywhere in the world.
Andrews has four decades of experience as a farmer, working with his father Peter Andrews (the inventor of NSF) at Tarwyn Park in rural NSW. Tarwyn Park and the Andrews family have featured on the ABC program Australian Story on three occasions, a double episode each time (these can be viewed here, here, and here). Stuart Andrews continues the innovative work of NSF, and has recently acquired a degraded agricultural property near Kandos, Marloo, which he is regenerating to demonstrate what can be achieved with NSF. For the past four years he has operated Tarwyn Park Training (TPT) with two colleagues. During that time TPT has educated 200 landowners the techniques of NSF. Andrews has also delivered talks at agricultural events in Victoria and New South Wales and run TPT courses in Queensland with a focus on saving the Great Barrier Reef.
Artist As Family
Artist as Family is a performance collective that lives in Dja Dja Wurrung country. Their practice has been widely documented and surveyed in art anthologies, journals, videos, exhibitions and online media. In 2010 they produced Food Forest, which was commissioned by the MCA in Sydney, and in 2014 Food Forest featured in Art & Ecology Now (Thames & Hudson). In 2015 Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman from the collective published The Art of Free Travel (NewSouth), an ecological memoir of their 400 day cycle trip from their home to Cape York. The book was shortlisted for an ABIA award in 2016.
Su Ballard is an art writer and academic specialising in the ways in which art intersects with ideas about nature, technology, and cultural politics. Her recent writing has focused on artistic and other cultural engagements with species extinctions, loss of biodiversity, natural disaster, affect, and the machine. Through collaborative partnerships and projects she facilitates discussions of the role of creative practice in the Anthropocene. Su is the convener of MECO: The Material Ecology Network at the University of Wollongong.
Adam’s passion and work is focused on rural and regional sustainability ~ improving community wellbeing in ways that are environmentally sustainable and economically equitable. With qualifications originally in commerce and taxation law Adam blends strong business and organisational acumen with expertise in social change, social leadership, social marketing, community psychology, consciousness, facilitation, strategic planning, human development and wellness.
Kirsten Bradley is a grower, educator and storyteller whose work focuses on permaculture. Following an early career as a musician and visual artist, Kirsten established Milkwood in 2007 with her husband Nick Ritar. Milkwood’s focus since that time has been on regenerative agriculture and permaculture design education, to enable communities to design resilient futures and local food systems, from the home scale upwards. In Kirsten’s spare time, she pickles whatever she can get her hands on or goes exploring + foraging with Nick and her 7 year old, Ashar.
Mark Branson & Siobhan Isherwood
Mark Branson and Siobhan Isherwood are Development Managers with CWP Renewables, an Australian renewable energy development company headquartered in Adelaide. They are part of a Newcastle-based team with a renewables portfolio spanning NSW from Eden Monaro to the Northern Tablelands. The Crudine Ridge Wind Farm, 30km west of Kandos near Pyramul, achieved approval for up to 77 wind turbines in 2016. Construction of the wind farm is expected to begin in 2017.
Mark Branson has a background in ecology, land management and sustainability and has worked on major infrastructure projects for over 12 years in Australia, Asia and North America. Mark has experienced the energy industry through coal projects, major oil and gas projects and wind farms. As the Australian energy market is transitioning away from fossil fuels, Mark can see regional NSW being at the forefront of investment in new wind and solar projects.
Siobhan Isherwood studied Environmental Science at Monash University and has worked in the wind industry in NSW for over 5 years, and is a strong believer in the need for a just transition away from conventional energy generation. Unlike fossil fuels, wind power can complement existing land uses and provide greater benefits to regional communities. Siobhan is dedicated to finding the balance between existing land uses, community expectations and optimal power generation.
Ann Finegan in an arts writer and educator who has taught in Australia and France. Originally a lecturer in literature and philosophy, she has been teaching contemporary art theory for the past twenty years. In 2010 she founded Kandos Projects as an artist residency, and in she co-founded Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival in 2012. Futurelands is one of her festival initiatives. Futurelands1 evolved out of Williams River Valley Artists Projects residency in 2011, which included a field trip to Tarwyn Park, home of Natural Sequence Farming. This visit was hosted by Craig Shaw, and culminated in an exhibition at Kandos Projects and Articulate, Sydney, with a feature in Artlink. In 2014, Futurelands 1: art and activism brought together local stakeholders Bev Smiles, Craig Shaw and Nell Schofield with Cementa 15 artists, including Williams River Valley Artists Projects and Ian Milliss to collaborate on a series of works for the festival (features in Southerly and Artlink). Futurelands 2: art and agricultural innovation is the sequel. A recent Artlink review of Fieldwork covers a protest exhibition on the sale and hand-over of Tarwyn Park, an agricultural education facility of national significance on prime agricultural land, to a Korean coal company.
Laura Fisher is an arts researcher and sociologist whose interests include socially engaged art, urban cycling cultures, Australian Indigenous art and cross-cultural encounters. Her forthcoming book Aboriginal Art in Australian Society: Hope and Disenchantment (Anthem Press) explores the ethical issues that have shaped the Aboriginal art phenomenon in the post-Whitlam era. In 2015 Laura was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship at Sydney College of the Arts, to pursue a project called ‘New Visions of the Rural’. This study is about the contribution artists are making in rural communities around the world that are facing challenges such depopulation, changes in agriculture, urgent environmental concerns and conflicts over land use (mining vs. farming). This study includes the Yeomans Project and Cementa Festival in Australia, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial in Japan, the Archstoyanie Festival of Landscape Objects in Russia and the art/agriculture collective Kultivator in Sweden.
Gilbert Grace is a multi-disciplinary artist, curator and researcher. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from RMIT and has just completed a Masters of Fine Art at Sydney College of the Arts. Gilbert’s current practice traverses urban ecology and mobility, Sydney’s Indigenous history, models of self-sufficiency and retro-innovation, the science of clean energy and plant systems, and his family’s farming heritage in NSW. In recent years these concerns have found expression through painting, video, mapping and a range of socially engaged activities associated with urban cycling. Gilbert co-founded ARTcycle in 2010 and has led hundreds of inclusive rides that introduce the public to features of Sydney’s Indigenous, colonial and industrial history and bring riders to artists’ talks, festivals and other arts events. He has also contributed to sustainable urban planning policy with the NSW State government, Marrickville Council and other bodies as an advocate for both cycling infrastructure and the multiple benefits of linking Sydney’s green spaces. Recent exhibitions include ‘Documenting the Sydney Green Ring’, Cementa13, ‘Site Lines’, Hazelhurst Art Centre (2015), and the Culture at Work (Pyrmont) ‘Bright Sparks’ public outreach program on Art/Science collaboration (2015).
Lucas Ihlein is a Wollongong-based artist whose current work explores the relationship between socially engaged art, agriculture and ecological management. He is a founding member of artists’ collectives SquatSpace, Big Fag Press, and Teaching and Learning Cinema. Exhibitions include The Yeomans Project (with Ian Milliss), Art Gallery of New South Wales (2013-14); Green Bans Art Walk, The Cross Arts Projects & Big Fag Press, Sydney (2011); In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2010); There Goes the Neighbourhood, Performance Space, Sydney (2009); The Bon Scott Project, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth (2008); and Bilateral, Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide (2002). In 2015 Ihlein was awarded an Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship for Emerging and Experimental Arts. He is currently an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at University of Wollongong, Australia.
Klara Marosszeky has been involved in the Australian Hemp industry for 17 years in both the farming and construction sectors. She is President of the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance, Secretary of Northern Rivers Hemp and Director of the Australian Hemp Masonry Company (AHMC). Klara is a qualified workplace trainer and assessor, with a background in sustainability education as well as in hemp construction and delivers workshops and training for Owner builders, Builders, Building designers and Architects.
Her research at the Australian Centre for Construction Innovation at UNSW between 2000 and 2006 resulted in the development of low embodied energy, BCA compliant Hemp Lime building materials. AHMC has supplied materials and training and in some cases project management, for 50 plus builds in Australia – investigating it’s the materials applications in new homes, retrofits and extensions across Australia’s climate zones, as well as for Singapore’s first zero-energy public building, the CDL Green Gallery in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Since her first research crop on 2 hectares in Wollombi in the NSW Hunter Valley in 1999, Klara has grown hemp for fibre on dryland as well as irrigated farms in several regions of NSW. Once commercialisation became a reality in 2009, she went on to work with other hemp farmers to investigate harvesting and processing options.
Klara is a passionate advocate for the ecological benefits of hemp, its potential for contributing to sustainable community and regional development and the major potential for carbon sequestration that is available through the combination of sustainable hemp farming and carbon storage in hemp masonry buildings. She recently presented at the International Soil not Oil Conference in Richmond California on the value of hemp in farm crop rotations and visited Trinidad, where she ran a workshop for Native Indian communities interested in social housing, regenerative farming and carbon sequestration with hemp.
I am a 49 year old grower living and farming near Marian on the banks of the Pioneer River. Married to my lovely wife Sue and we have two beautiful children, Luke and Sophie. Have been farming all my life but only the last 20 years as a sugar cane grower. We have also farmed cattle in CQ both on the coast at Seaforth as well as near Moranbah and in the Northern Territory near Katherine. I was awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship to study soil health in 2014. The Australian Nuffield Foundation is a world renowned organisation promoting learning in agriculture across the world. As part of my Nuffield studies, I travelled in March and April of 2014 to South Africa, Kenya, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and the USA. In 2015 my travels began again with trips to New Zealand, Chile, Peru and Brazil. My study topic revolves around all aspects of soil health and what new ideas I can find to bring home, not only to make my industry more environmentally sustainable but also economically viable. I actively promote soil health on a local level and have organised and hosted three field days on my farm over the last three years. I am a passionate soil health advocate believing that good Regenerative Agricultural practices have the ability to restore our farm lands to more productive capacity while at the same time reducing impact on the surrounding environment. You can learn about my recent interspecies cropping trials with sunflowers and other species here and here.
Ian Milliss began exhibiting in 1967 as the youngest member of the Central Street Gallery group and one of Australia’s first conceptual artists. From 1971 he developed a practice based on cultural activism working with community and political groups, arguing that the artist’s role is the adaptation and innovation of cultural memes rather than content production for the art market. He has worked in the Green Bans, prison reform and trade union movements and has dealt with a wide range of cultural issues including workers and artists rights, sustainable farming, heritage and conservation, and climate change.
Jill was born in England & educated in Canberra & at the Uni. of NSW. She has had a long & varied interest in both productive & restorative land practices, centred around the Northern Tablelands. From her base on the family property “Bai-Yai” – which is largely under Permanent Covenant to protect its Box Gum Grassy Woodland endangered community – she organises field days on soil health issues through Southern New England Landcare.
Small business owner, would-be (or more accurately will-be) farmer and Managing Director of the Dungog Festival. With an interest in tourism, a degree in Ecological Agriculture a strong will and a desire to see local sustainable agricultural enterprises thrive, Tracy has ambitious plans for her recent property purchase, with mixed enterprise farming, a cheese factory, eco-tourism resort and an education centre for ecological agriculture agroforestry pursuits. As MD of the Dungog Festival, Tracy oversees the eclectic mix of film, food events, artisan markets and music events that make up the Festival, which aims to showcase the beautiful Shire of Dungog.
Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning author, playwrite, farmer and school teacher (among many other things). He is a Bunarong, Tasmanian and Yuin man based in Far East Gippsland, Victoria. Pascoe has written a number of celebrated works of fiction for children, young people and adults, as well as resource books to support the retrieval of the Wathaurong language of south western Victoria. His historical works include the acclaimed Dark Emu, Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident ? which was recently awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Book of the Year. Dark Emu is a revolutionary account of Indigenous agriculture, aquaculture and land governance that overturns much accepted knowledge about pre-colonial Indigenous society.
Gerda Roelvink is a senior lecturer in Geography and Urban Studies in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University. Her research expertise is in the field of diverse economies, focusing in particular on collective action and economic transformation. Gerda’s work on diverse economies includes the book Building Dignified Worlds: Geographies of Collective Action (University of Minnesota Press 2016) and the co-edited volume Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies (University of Minnesota Press 2015). In addition to her work on the geography of collective action, Gerda has conducted research on the affective dimensions of collective action and is the co-editor of special issues of the journals Angelaki (2015) and Emotion, Space and Society (2015) on posthumanism and affect. She has published research in various scholarly books and journals includingAntipode, the Journal of Cultural Economy, Emotion, Space and Society, Progress in Human Geography, and Rethinking Marxism. She is currently working on a project investigating farm-led collectives responding to landscape degradation in rural Australia.
Larry Towney is a Wiradjuri man based in Orange, NSW. He is currently Senior Land Services Officer (Aboriginal) at the Central Tablelands Local Land Services. In recent years he has played a leading role in a variety of community health and wellbeing initiatives and projects dedicated to managing Aboriginal cultural landscapes. In April 2016 he contributed to housing construction in Nepal as a member of the Nepal Friendship Community Development and Training project, organised by Rotary, Orange. Towney is currently working on traditional fire management methodologies and a Wiradjuri seasonal calendar mobile app.
Jason Tuckwell is a theorist who researches creative practice in arts and technology. His recent work examines Aristotle, Descartes, Heidegger, Simondon and Deleuze. This work will appear in a forthcoming monograph Deviant Techné: Creation and the Function of Art published by Bloomsbury in 2017.
Haydn is an environmental scientist and writer and activist with a 40 year history in environmental science. He is a Visiting Fellow in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at UNSW, and has worked in CSIRO, environmental NGOs (e.g. Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW), and as Director of Sustainability Projects in a Sydney Council. His interests are sustainability (in all its forms), solving the environmental crisis and a sense of wonder at nature. His books include ‘A Sense of Wonder’ (2002) and ‘Human Dependence on Nature’ (2013). Haydn lives on the edge of Wollemi NP near Rylstone and is also fascinated with the unique ‘pagoda’ rock formations nearby. In the 1970s Washington was Hon. Secretary of the Colo Committee, which campaigned successfully for the formation of what is now the Wollemi National Park, at a time when parts of this region were the subject of dam and power station plans. The Wollemi National park is 502, 000 hectares.
Alex Wisser is an artist and creative producer. After graduating Honors from the National Art School, he became an active member of the Sydney ARI scene. First completing a year’s directorship at ATVP in Newtown, Alex went on to co-found the ARI space INDEX. in St. Peters. Alex is a co-founder and co-director of Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival in Kandos NSW. He is currently curating Future/Public for Artlands Dubbo and the Homeground series of solo exhibitions for regional emerging artists at The Western Plains Cultural Centre. His individual arts practice is based in photomedia but he also works in installation and performance. He has exhibited widely across Sydney and has been selected for numerous prizes including Redlands Knoica Minolta Emerging Artist Prize, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Prize, Fisher’s Ghost and The Bowness Photographic Prize, among others.