SPEAKERS AT GROUNDSWELL!
Jonathon Bolitho is an interactive media artist working with light, sound and emerging technologies to create tactile and engaging experiences. He has exhibited several large scale interactive works for Vivid Sydney as well as internationally. With a background in Permaculture, his work often takes inspiration from the natural world, drawing parallels between seemingly disparate phenomena in a playful and inquisitive way. He holds a Bachelor of Media Arts majoring in Interactive Media from UNSW Art and Design.
Adam Blakester (MC)
Adam has had a diverse career in terms of the range of roles, sectors and responsibilities. It was this diversity that led to his professional focus on sustainability ~ integrating environmental, community and economic needs ~ and particularly on enabling strategic and social change for rural, regional and remote communities.
Adam's current work is largely with Starfish Initiatives, though some freelance too, and spans regenerative farming, renewable energy, reconciliation, social housing, collaborative governance and evolutionary human development.
Farming, food systems and productive landscapes are a pivotal part of this work, including The Carbon Farm and Living Classroom initiatives in Bingara.
Diego Bonetto is a forager, artist, storyteller and an expert on identifying the nutritious plants that grow under our feet that most people call ‘weeds’.
Building on the knowledge acquired while growing up on a farm in Italy, Diego introduces people to the ever-present food and medicine plants that surround us. He collaborates extensively with chefs, herbalists, environmentalists and cultural workers promoting a new understanding of what the environment has to offer. He also works with council and institutions to provide content for community engagement projects. You see weeds, Diego sees food.
Diego is now launching wildfood.store, a company that offers foraging services for farmers, market gardeners and chefs. Diego is a founding member of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.
Tim Cavagnaro is an Associate Professor of Soil Ecology, and Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching), in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide. His teaching and research interests are in soil ecology and plant-microbe interactions. Members of his research group investigate the impacts of land management and environmental change on soil microbial communities, nutrient cycling and plant growth and nutrition. Ultimately, the goal of Tim’s research is to help to increase global food production by harnessing the life in the soil. You can learn more about this research at soilecology.org or at @IDigSoil.
Karla Dickens is a Lismore-based Wiradjuri woman who works with collage, assemblage, installation and painting, exploring the complexity of Australian history, contemporary Aboriginal experience, and working on grassroots community initiatives. An accomplished contemporary artist, her work was recently included in the multi-venue major Australian survey exhibition The National in Sydney. Dickens has shown in many solo and group exhibitions, at Prague Quadrennial of Space and Design, Museum of Brisbane, Old Parliament House, Canberra in, Hogarth Galleries, Perspecta, Columbia University, Tin Sheds Gallery, 24HR Art, Darwin, Northern Territory, Lismore Regional Art Gallery, Carriageworks, Ray Hughes Gallery. Dickens’ artworks are held in many collections including Lismore Regional Art Gallery, Grafton Regional Art Gallery, and Campbelltown City Art Centre, UTS Art Collection, the National Museum of Australia, Artbank, Maritime Museum Sydney, Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences, Black Fellas Dreaming Museum, and the Syron collection.
Dickens has undertaken numerous artist-in-residency programs, including at Brewarrina in 1995 where she worked with 10 local children on a 16-metre mural, and with Asialink in Java and Alice Springs. In 1997 she was the artist in residence at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney and spent three months in Cape York, Queensland. In 1998 she had a two-month residency in Guardella, Italy. In 2006 Dickens was the recipient of the Bundjalung Art Award and the People’s Choice Award for her work in the Our Spirit, Our Country exhibition.
Laura is an artist and sociologist. She has worked on projects around urban cycling cultures, cross-cultural exchange, contemporary Aboriginal art and socially engaged art. Laura hopes a time will come when people work together across the city/country divide to support land regeneration and a sustainable food system, and create new economic avenues for rural communities in transition. She recently explored the role artists are playing in this in Russia, Sweden, Japan and Australia while a post-doctoral research associate at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney. Laura is a founding member of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, and is the coordinator of An artist, a farmer and a scientist walk into a bar…
Lee Fieldhouse + Kirsty Hughes - ISLAND BIOLOGICALS
Lee Fieldhouse and Kirsty Hughes own and manage Island Biologicals. We aim to utilise the magic of worms to create products which maximise the health and vigour of soils and plants. Our philosophy is that Nature knows best, and we have a passion for regenerative systems that enhance not only the plants, but also animals, landscapes, businesses and people.
We run an industrial compost and worm system fuelled entirely by upcycled waste products on Oxley Island NSW, which Lee started in 2013. Our signature product is a high quality liquid vermicast extract called ʻBiocast+ʼ. It has been through developing this product, and trying to make it as microbially diverse and abundant as possible, that Lee has developed a fascination for soil microbes and the integral role they play in soils and the life of a plant.
Ananth is a facilitator, geographer and actor. He’s an associate artist with Melbourne Playback Theatre Company (itching to get back to performing once he submits his PhD) and a doctoral candidate at the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities at the University of Wollongong. He has completed adaptive facilitation training at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and uses those insights in his work with Polykala, an experiential training/facilitation business he co-directs. His work focuses on how communities, organisations and individuals can develop adaptive heart/mindsets - he reckon reflective practice is central to this. Ananth loves swapping characters from social-scientist to improv actor to facilitator and finding no static middle ground. He prefers the playfulness of costumes changes and the opportunity this provides to learn from people from many walks of life.
David is a partner at Soil Land Food. He is an experienced agroecologist and is one of Australia's leading extension professionals working in soils, regenerative and ecological agriculture. Working right across Australia he uses creative adult learning activities that build skills and capacity in farmers and graziers to make a change towards a more regenerative agriculture. Soils, cover cropping, food systems, composting and biofertilisers and organic farming systems are some of the areas he works in. His " Day in the life of a soil" role play activity is a highly successful soil education activities. David is committed to helping develop farming and food systems in Australia that are good for the planet, good for the community and good for us! He believes that this will lead to a more resilient and thriving rural Australia.
After growing up on a wool farm in Tasmania - that probably wouldn't have been considered regenerative - Rachel has followed a curvy path to be working among an agricultural community striving to achieve sustainability goals - both for themselves and for the broader landscape. Rachel works for Southern New England Landcare, is a local ecologist and is close to completing a PhD thesis aiming at clarifying some ecological benefits (or otherwise) from managing livestock with planned rest and a reduced reliance on fossil fuel-derived inputs. Rachel has also been involved with the Living Classroom/Carbon Farm for several years. Post-PhD, when Rachel has more time – she is hoping to spend more time practising pottery and working on projects that link art, science and ecological agriculture.
Lucas Ihlein is an artist, academic and ARC DECRA Research Fellow in Creative Arts at University of Wollongong. His research uses socially-engaged art to explore cultural innovations in farming – principally in the sugar cane industry in Central Queensland. Utilising a creative practice-based research methodology (including blogging, printmaking, public events and scholarly publication) to explore complex environmental management issues, his current research project, Sugar vs the Reef – Socially Engaged Art and Urgent Environmental Problems, is the focus of his ARC DECRA Fellowship from 2016–18. Ihlein is a founding member of Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, which in November 2016 hosted Futurelands2, a public forum in rural NSW about transformations in human relationships to land. He is also a founding member of artists’ collectives SquatSpace, Big Fag Press, and Teaching and Learning Cinema.
Charles Massy gained a BSc (Zoology, Human Ecology) at ANU (1976), before going farming and developing a prominent Merino sheep stud business. His concern about land degradation and humanity’s future led to him completing a PhD in Human Ecology (ANU) in 2012.
He has chaired and served as a Director on a number of national and international review panels and boards of business, research organisations and statutory wool bodies, involving garment manufacture, wool marketing, R&D, molecular genetics and genomics.
Charles has engaged in freelance journalism since 1977, widely publishing across a range of subjects including mountaineering, history, ecology and the environment, plus fiction and poetry. His first three books concerned the history of the Australian Merino and wool industries. His book on the wool industry, Breaking the Sheep’s Back (2011), was short listed in 2012 for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History. His latest book, Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture - A New Earth, is about the regenerative farming revolution and its capacity to heal both Earth and human health. While managing the family’s grazing property in NSW, Charles occasionally teaches at universities and consults in the fields of Merino breeding, landscape design, and regenerative agriculture.
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.
Glenn Morris is an organic cattle farmer based in Inverell, Northern NSW. Since completing a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture through The University of Sydney in 2005, Morris has dedicated himself to researching and practising advanced land stewardship models. Glennwon the 2014 State Landcare award for Innovation in Sustainable Farm Practices and recently received Highly Commended at the National Landcare awards in this category. Since 1998, Morris has been the farm manager for FigTrees Organic Farms, which is highly regarded as one of the premium organic ethical brands on the market. Morris is an active member of Farmers for Climate Change Action.
Georgina Pollard studied Theatre theory and practice at the University of Western Sydney and Painting at the National Art School. She has participated in numerous group shows in Sydney and regional NSW and has had 5 solo shows, the most recent being at Western Plains Cultural Centre in Dubbo. Pollard has also worked and founded artist run initiatives such as INDEX. space in St Peters and Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival in Kandos. Residencies include Hill End and Kandos. She is also a member of KSCA participating in one of the residencies with The Living Classroom. She left Sydney to live and work in Kandos, NSW in 2013.
Imogen Semmler is a creative producer, artist and emerging scientist completing a degree in Ecology at the University of New England. She is passionate about the science of ecological agriculture with a focus on soil and landscape ecology. Her programming and producing work has spanned festivals, theatre, public art, panels, conferences and interdisciplinary art projects. Imogen was founding Artistic Director of Underbelly Arts, an event for emerging and experimental artists in Sydney. She has also worked with a range of arts and media organisations including Sydney Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Creative Sydney, the Australian International Documentary Conference, Art and About, The Great Escape Festival and the Indigenous Remote Communications Association.
Dr Bjorn Sturmberg is a Research Leader in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at The Australian National University where he is designing and implementing the building blocks of our future electricity system.
He holds a PhD from The University of Sydney for his research on nanostructured solar cells, which earnt him a scholarship from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. He is passionate about open source science and has written multiple software packages that are used internationally.
He is a former Myer Innovation Fellow and founder of SunTenants, a social enterprise that makes solar work for rental properties. He spearheaded the Stucco Solar + Storage project that transformed an apartment building into a solar and storage powered microgrid.
Mark Swartz has been working independently and collaboratively with various collectives since 2010. The unifying feature of his work is the exploration of inherent connections between organic and industrial products. Mark has exhibited widely and received several awards, including first prize at Harbour Sculpture 2014 Woolwich and the Australian Bamboo Sculpture prize in 2015. In addition, he has been project managing and fabricating large scale creative projects for many years, including community engagement and development workshops that have taken place in the remote Northern Territory, rural NSW and Sydney.
ANITA TAYLOR + SARAH BURROWS - Red 8 Produce
Red 8 Produce was founded by Anita Taylor and Sarah Burrows. Anita and Sarah are both married to producers in the New England. With the welfare of their farms (The Hill and Balala Station), families and livestock at heart,together they have developed a new way of producing meat, enabling on-farm commercial processing at scale. Being lightweight and modular, the mobile abattoir system can go to any farm to process multiple species. It enables producers to vertically integrate the supply chain, reduce inputs, increase farm returns, and share infrastructure, resources and skills to operate locally within their community. The business model includes the use of local butchers, workers and suppliers.
Sharon Windsor is the founder of Indigiearth, a 100% Aboriginal owned and operated company, well established in the great wine country of Central West NSW, Mudgee. Born in Gunnedah, Sharon is a Ngemba Weilwan woman of Western NSW. Sharon spent the first 10 years of childhood growing up in Rocky Glen when her greatest past time was collecting bush fruits and catching yabbies, and collecting cans to cash in for pocket money. Eating bush foods in the wild was a necessity during childhood, now she has pure pride and passion in being able to bring what Mother Earth has provided for everyone, in many different ways. Battling against all odds and struggling through many life challenges with her first child being stillborn and some years later being the victim of severe domestic violence that resulted in severe depression and despair. Sharon used her darkest moments to turn life around, and is now a single mum of 2 healthy teenage children. Sharon began her first business venture in 1996 in Western Sydney & Indigiearth has been a result of evolving a business with continued learning, growth and confidence.
Indigiearth is a showcase of Australian native products at its best. Defying all trends this small, determined Aboriginal business demonstrated longevity, diversity, survival and success. Sharon has been awarded Winner NSW Business Leader of the Year 2013 (first ever Aboriginal recipient), Winner of NSW Central West Business Leader Awards in 2013, Winner of the 2010 AIMSC Supplier Diversity Award for work done with Marriott Hotels, and also a finalist in the Gnunkai Indigenous Tourism Award 2007 & 2009. Indigiearth has touched the lives of many, through employment and educating the wider community about Indigenous Australia and culture. Indigiearth, continues to grow, expand, achieve, educate and bring Natural Earth products and services to people wherever they are. Indigiearth is more than just business for Sharon. It’s her connection to culture, identity, language, spirituality that continues to provide healing and strength.
Erika Watson + Hayden Druce - Epicurean Harvest
Erika and Hayden are first generation young farmers, and owners of Epicurean Harvest, growing organic vegetables for Sydney restaurants (such as Quay, Ester, Freds and more) on 2.5 acres of their 120-acre farm, Bula Mirri. Bula Mirri is located on Wiradjuri Country, Hartley, NSW, bordering the Blue Mountains and Central West. They have relied on the weather and land for an income for five years, only two years at Bula Mirri, a place they are dedicating to regenerative and collaborative practices to provide people with connection to land, provenance, arts and food. They are part of a global movement to monitor agricultural practice and measure the regeneration of the environment for ecological improvement. Erika and Hayden both have a Diploma of Holistic Management in Sustainable Rural Lands, Business and Communities; Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons1); Hayden a Masters in Flavour and Aroma; Erika is experienced in project management, outreach and extension and both have backgrounds in art and music. Now at Bula Mirri and with the combination of art and science, they are farmers reigniting their creative focus towards art based on regenerative land management, climate, biology and ecosystem processes.
Their farming and produce has gained great recognition though numerous Gold Medals in the delicious. produce awards, and appeared in ABC Organic Gardener Magazine, ABC TV Gardening Australia, Gourmet Traveller magazine, Country Style Magazine.
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, founding and acting as co-director at a number of art spaces and initiatives in Sydney. In 2013, Alex co-founded Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival in Kandos NSW. This festival engages artists with the social, environmental, and cultural context of the small town that hosts it. Alex’s individual arts practice originates in photomedia but he also works in installation and performance. His work has recently developed through large scale, long term projects like Cementa and KSCA into a cross disciplinary, community engaged practice exploring the potential of art to participate in everyday cultural contexts, especially the regional context in which he lives and works. He has exhibited widely across Sydney and has been selected for numerous prizes including Redlands Konica Minolta Emerging Artist Prize, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Prize (highly commended), Fisher’s Ghost and The Bowness Photographic Prize, amongst others.
Allan Yeomans is the Managing Director of the Yeomans Plow Co, and author of the book PRIORITY ONE: Together We Can Beat Global Warming (2005). Allan’s main concern for the last 30 years has been the prevention of global warming and the halting of climate change. He sees this as the most urgent problem facing humanity this century. His invention of the Yeomans Carbon Still aims to contribute to the collective effort to draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere using agricultural soils as a carbon sink. http://yeomansplow.com.au/