Saturday, 11 February 2012


I have just come back from a four-day workshop for Cultural Producers in the South Pacific - a fascinating gathering of musicians, visual artists, craftspeople, fashion designers, and dancers from around our region.  The focus of the presentations and lively discussions that filled the program was on how to empower practitioners in these fields, often working in relative isolation with little visibility and support, to grow their creative enterprises and overcome the fragmentation that exists. 

Inspiring encounters with creative individuals who are often working against enormous odds to follow their dreams and make a living for themselves and their communities from their talents, were the highlight of my week in our capital city.  These included a woodblock printer from the Solomon Islands who makes his own paper from banana tree trunks, using an old exercise bike, converted to double up as a blender, a painter from Vanuatu who creates original designs based on tribal motifs, using paper made from the bark of banyan trees as her canvas, digital artists from Papua New Guinea, a ukelele maker from the Cook Islands, and a mother of six from Samoa who has grown her own handicraft retail business from early, inventive beginnings creating wall-hangings from natural fibers.

I have returned to Nadi refreshed and challenged, excited about the potential our island-based creative enterprises and networks have, in terms of contributing to the cultural vibrancy and economic well-being of Pacific communities....

Participants in the Suva-based workshop Feb 7th to 10th, 2012

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