Tropics of the Imagination 2011

A conference on writing and the arts in the tropics

Monday 31st October - Tuesday 1st November 2011

Rydges Esplanade Resort
Cnr. Kerwin Street & The Esplanade, Cairns, QLD.


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Tropics of the Imagination

31st October – 1st November, 2011



Monday, 31st October, 2011

8:30am to 9:00am

 Joseph Banks Room

  • Welcome to Country
  • Opening by Professor Stephen Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, James Cook University
  • Directions and acknowledgements by Associate Professor Stephen Torre, Convenor, Tropics of the Imagination

9:00am to 9:45am

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Stephen Torre

Keynote Address 1
Nicholas Rothwell, The Australian Newspaper: “When the Sacred Shatters: Experiences in the Desert and the High Tatra Mountains”

9:45am to 10:00am

Morning Tea, Level 1 Foyer

10:00am to 11:30am

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Stephen Torre

Dr. Stephen Carleton, University of Queensland: “Hidden Tropics: Australian Theatre and the Northern Gothic”

Dr. Jessica Gildersleeve, University of Queensland and Griffith University: “Jean Rhys’ Tropography”

Dr. Bhama Daly, James Cook University: “Ecosublimity in Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip

Crystal Twig Room
Chair: Dr. Jan Wegner

Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Director, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University: “’Multi Is My Culture’: Critical Reflections on Multicultural Arts in Tropical Australia”

Coral Neave, James Cook University: “Finding a Voice and a Place in the Contemporary Indigenous Art World”

Michael Johnson: “My identity is shaped by my work experiences; my identity is and will be shaped by my art’: Auto Ethnography of Michael Johnson”

11:30am to 1:00pm

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Stephen Torre

Professor Barbara Creed, Head, University of Melbourne: “Tropical Malady: Film & the Dream of Becoming Animal”

Dr. Allison Craven, James Cook University: “Parables of Pacific Shores: Locations, Caves and Coastal Masculinities in Cast Away and Sanctum

Jessica Balanzategui, James Cook University: “The Receptacle for all that is Monstrous and Vile: The Island Asylum in Scorsese’s Shutter Island

Crystal Twig Room
Chair: Carol Libke

Dr. Victoria Kuttainen, Lecturer in English, School of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University: “Maps, Boats, and Currents: Slumming it in the Tropics in the Interwar Years”

Dr. Reesa Sorin, James Cook University, with Tamara Brooks, James Cook University: “’All of the places I’ve been to [in the tropics] are not really a special place’ – Investigating Children’s Place Attachments through Collage and Stories”

Dr. Jillian Thiele, Pacific Adventist University (Dr. Thiele will be assisted by Dr. David Thiele, Dean of the School of Theology): “Colonial Voice Reinterpreted through words and pictures”

1:00pm to 1:45pm

Lunch, Level 1 Foyer

1:45pm to 2:30pm

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Professor Hurriyet Babacan

Keynote Address 2
Dr. Geraldine Dyer, Psychiatrist Remote Area Child & Youth Mental Health Service: “Creative Recovery – a Work In Progress: Exploring the potential for participatory arts engagement to support wellbeing and livelihoods in remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland”

2:30pm to 4:00pm

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Cheryl Taylor

Dr. David Salisbury, James Cook University: “Sweet Crush: A Multimedia Virtual Heritage Portrait of the North Queensland Sugar Industry”

Adam Brown, James Cook University: “Barefoot in the Overlay: The Perfect Digital City and the Ruins of Public Space”

Katja Fleischmann, James Cook University: “Lettering and Signage in the Urban Environment of the Capital of North Queensland: Tropical Flair or Univernacular?”

Crystal Twig Room
Chair: Dr. Reesa Sorin

Hazel Menehira, Fellow of Trinity College, London, Member Book Creator’s Circle: “Spiritual Poetry in the Tropics”

Carol Libke, Tropical Writers Group: “Critical Self-reflection on the Writing of the Fifty-year History of the Ellis Beach Surf Lifesaving Club: Our Club

Dr. Lindsay Simpson, James Cook University: “’Read All About It’: Sources of News in the Tropics”

4:00pm to 4:30pm

Afternoon Tea, Level 1 Foyer

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Joseph Banks Room

Readers Writing 1 (45 mins): Creative Non-fiction presented by postgraduate students from the Write in the Tropics program at JCU

Chair: Dr. Lindsay Simpson

  • Maryke Buttrose
  • Tim Dyson
  • Claire Furniss
  • Mike Hawney
  • Rod Owens

Readers Writing 2 (45 mins): Creative Writing by members of the Tropical Writers Group
Chair: Carol Libke, President of Tropical Writers Group

  • Ken Cotterill
  • Rob Farquhar
  • Bee McIntyre
  • Elizabeth Martin

Crystal Twig Room
Chair: Katja Fleischmann

Dr. Robyn Glade-Wright, James Cook University: “A Fragile Life: Vulnerable species in the Torrid Zone”

Dr. Janice Wegner, James Cook University: “Weed or not?: Attitudes to Weeds in the Queensland tropics”


Malcolm Cole: “Tropical Sounds: Music Education within the Cultures and Locations of Cairns and Yarrabah: 1930 to 1970”

Tuesday, 1st November, 2011

8:30am – 10:00am

Joseph Banks Room

Industry Panel
Chair: Eve Stafford OAM, Director Savvy Arts

  • Eric Holowacz, Festival Producer, Cairns Festival: “Building A New Kind of Festival for Tropical Queensland”
  • Gayle Cargill, Executive Officer, Arts Nexus
  • Gaby Thomasz, Organiser Cairns Ukelele Festival
  • Jack Wilkie-Jans, Cell Art Space: “Aboriginal Art Developing”
  • Guillaume ‘Willem’ Brugman, International Theatre Practitioner & Director Centre for Australasian Theatre


Crystal Twig Room
Chair: Dr. Allison Craven

Professor Jeanette Hoorn, University of Melbourne: “Henri Rousseau’s Jungle Paintings: Imagining the Tropics”

Dr. Susan Hawthorne, James Cook University: “The Effect of Living in the Tropics on the Imaginary Worlds of Susan Hawthorne’s Tropical Writings”


10:00am to 10:30am

Morning Tea, Level 1 Foyer

10:30am – 12:00pm

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Stephen Torre

Associate Professor Cheryl Taylor, James Cook University: “The Evolution of Thea Astley’s Multiple Effects of Rainshadow”

Dr. Deborah Jordan, Research Fellow University of Queensland: “Tropical Cyclones and the Literary Imagination”

Dr. Christopher Mann, James Cook University: “Sacred and Profaned: Trees in Films of the Australian Tropics”


Crystal Twig Room
Overflow session if needed


12:00pm to 1:00pm

Joseph Banks Room
Chair: Associate Professor Stephen Torre

Keynote Address 3
Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, University of the South Pacific: “Creative Intersections: Integrating Creativity and Academic Research at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies at USP in Fiji”


1:00pm to 2:45pm


Melbourne Cup Lunch, Crystal Twig Room



Tropics of the Imagination


Index of Presenters and Papers

Including Abstracts and Biographical Details


Presenter: Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Director Cairns Institute, James Cook University
Title of Paper: ‘Multi Is My Culture': Critical Reflections on Multicultural Arts in Tropical Australia
Abstract: Australia is known as a multicultural country with over 40 percent of its population being either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.   Tropical Australia is unique in its landscapes, psyches and cultures.   It is also a place of cultural diversity, with some areas where people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds make up to 15 percent of the population.   When people migrate, they bring along their cultures- reflected in language, poetry, music, fine arts and other creative mediums.   The settlement process of immigrants in complex and multi-dimensional. The transplantation of multicultural arts in host society poses challenges and opportunities. This paper explores some of the key issues in multicultural arts in Tropical Australia.  Particularly the policy context, recognition and display of multicultural art and role of artists in communities will be examined.
Biography: Professor Hurriyet Babacan is the Foundation Director of The Cairns Institute, a new research centre based on James Cook University’s Cairns campus that focuses on advanced studies in the social sciences, humanities, law and business studies. Professor Babacan was formerly Director of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives at Victoria University in Melbourne. Professor Babacan has served as the Executive Director, Multicultural Affairs, Women’s Policy and Community Outcomes in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland; Manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Victoria; Head of Social and Community Studies and Associate Director of the Centre for Multicultural and Community Development at the University of the Sunshine Coast; and Commissioner in the inaugural Ethnic Affairs Commission (Victoria).
She is a leading international scholar in cultural diversity, multiculturalism, immigration, citizenship, identity, racism, health and wellbeing, social inclusion-exclusion, international development, and gender. With degrees in Commerce, Social Work, and a Master of Arts (Social Policy), her PhD thesis explored the issues of ethnicity and migration in the making of the Australian national identity and provided an analysis of critical issues for minorities in Australia in the context of globalisation, social policy and citizenship rights.  She has consulted to government, industry and community agencies in Australia and overseas and been a member of numerous Ministerial advisory and/or specialist committees, inquiries and reviews. Her contributions to academic and public life were recognised by a Bi-centennial Medal awarded by the Prime Minister in 2002 and a Multicultural Services Award from the Premier of Queensland in 1999.
Session: 2b

Presenter: Jessica Balanzategui, James Cook University
Title of Paper: The Receptacle forAll that is Monstrous and Vile: The Island Asylum in Scorsese's Shutter Island
Abstract: In Shutter Island (Scorsese, 2010), the gothic mental asylum metonymises the symbolic powers of madness. The asylum's position on an isolated island encodes a dichotomy between nature and culture homologous to the film's depiction of madness and rationality, while marking the asylum as an uncanny domain subversive of the rational structures of mainland society.
Biography: Jessica Balanzategui grew up in Townsville and is a PhD student at JCU. She is carrying out research on the "uncanny child" in American, Spanish and Japanese horror film.
Session: 3a

Presenter: Adam Brown, Lecturer in Photomedia in the School of Creative Arts at James Cook University
Title of Paper: Barefoot in the Overlay: The Perfect Digital City and the Ruins of Public Space
Abstract: Digitally generated views of Townsville's recent city centre redevelopment attempt to overlay visions of a European urban space on the contested territory of the tropical city.  Such views obscure the site of an uneven relationship between the various communities which inhabit the city space, by representing a space of apparent completeness and fixity. Applying insights from critical spatial studies and psychogeography, such representations of the city appear to ossify public discourse rather than work towards the creation of genuine multi user spaces, which are always problematic to successfully design and visualise.

Biography: Adam Brown is lecturer in Photomedia in the School of Creative Arts at James Cook University, Townsville.  His research includes an ongoing investigation into the politics of the representation of the built environment, and he has presented papers on this subject to conferences organised by the Design History Society and the Association of Art Historians in the UK.  His paper "Time Travel on the Installment Plan" will be published in October 2011 in the book Spatialities, edited by Judith Rugg and Craig Martin (Intellect Books, UK).
Session: 5a

Presenter: Guillaume ‘Willem’ Brugman
Title of Paper: Industry Panel: Devised Theatre
Abstract: Guillaume 'Willem’ Brugman is a theatre artist/practitioner with over 30 years experience in the international Cutting Edge/Avant Garde movement. He has become specialised in devised Theatre/Performance making (“I make it, make it happen and then I play my part in it”), creating his own unique methodology and performance practice. He is now based in Cairns FNQ with the specific purpose of establishing The Centre for Australasian Theatre Research and its professional intracultural performing ensemble
Biography: Born in the Netherlands, permanent resident in Australia since 1990, Guillaume ‘Willem’ Brugman has more than 30 years of experience in the practice and theory of the performing arts, as a Performer, Director, Dramaturge and Creative Producer. ‘Willem’ has built, trained and developed performing and inter-disciplinary ensembles in Europe, the United States and Australia. He has also worked extensively in the fields of cultural research, dramaturgy anthropology and interdisciplinary art-science projects in various parts of the world as a community, cultural catalyst, establishing several successful companies and art collectives. He was the founding director of Culture Lab International Inc. , a cultural research theatre laboratory (NSW 1998-2008). He is an historical ‘insider’ of Plexus International, an international community based art project (1980-2000). Career highlights: “Kiss Oresteia” and “Kiss Divina Comedia” (International Performance Research Group “Kiss”), The Image of None (the Performing Garage NYC) with Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Plexus Art Co-Operas (NYC, Roma, A’dam, Dakar, Sardinia), Book Three “The New Media” (John Cage Project, The Hague, the Netherlands), The Drunken Boat (Sidetrack Performance Group, Sydney), The Last Travelling Medicine Show (Culture Lab International, Sydney, Newcastle, Woodford).
Session: 7a

Presenter: Maryke Buttrose, Write in the Tropics Program, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Readers Writing: Creative Non-fiction
Session: 6a

Presenter: Gayle Cargill, Executive Officer Arts Nexus
Title of Paper: Industry Panel
Biography: Gayle Cargill was recently appointed as the Executive Officer of Arts Nexus, the peak development agency for the creative sectors and communities of Tropical North Queensland. Through strategic programs, research and advocacy Gayle’s brief is to grow and raise awareness of North Queenlsand’s arts and cultural development. Arts Nexus connects artists, creative producers, organisations, enterprises and communities, especially through Festlinx, an initiative for  organisers, performers, production people and volunteers to access information, resources and participate in discussions.
Session: 7a

Presenter: Dr Stephen Carleton, Major Convenor and Area Moderator of Drama at the University of Queensland
Title of Paper: Hidden Tropics: Australian Theatre and the Northern Gothic
Abstract: This paper identifies a recent ‘Northern turn’ in Australian imaginative articulations of the Gothic. I will provide a brief historical overview of Australian Gothic as it has manifested in literature and film in the C19th and C20th respectively before turning my attention to the Northward turn in the C21st. I will draw attention to the sudden proliferation of creative Gothic works in the Australian tropics that have taken place using theatre as the medium. ‘Why theatre?’, this paper will ask, ‘and why the North?’ The Gothic, specialising as it does in history’s haunting of the present, and in the return of the repressed, would appear to be the genre par excellence for engaging with the imaginative representation of the Australian tropic zones as the current repository of the nation’s collective abject and repressed.
Biography: Stephen Carleton is the Major Convenor and Area Moderator of Drama at the University of Queensland, where he convenes courses in Australian theatre studies, contemporary performance, Dramaturgy and Playwriting. He is the winner of the  2004/5 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award with his play ‘Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset’.
Session: 2a

Presenter: Malcolm Cole, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Tropical Sounds: Music Education within the Cultures and Locations of Cairns and Yarrabah 1930 to 1970
Abstract: The paper begins with a brief background of the musical history of Cairns and Yarrabah followed by cultural case studies of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Anglo/Euro music. Music education/transmission processes of these case studies are then analysed.
Biography: Malcolm Cole is a part-time PhD student enrolled in the Schools of History and Education at James Cook University in Cairns. His thesis concerns a history of music education methods as practised by different cultural groups in Cairns and Yarrabah from 1930 to 1970. Malcolm works full time as a music teacher in Cairns after multiple careers as a professional violinist, violist, performer, conductor, instrumental and classroom music teacher and education administrator. He has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Queensland, a Certificate of Music Education from the Kodaly Institute in Hungary and a Masters of Music Education from the University of Western Australia and has also studied in the USA and Vienna.
Session: 6b

Presenter: Ken Cotterill, Tropical Writers Group
Title of Paper: Writers Reading: Creative Writing
Session: 6a

Presenter: Allison Craven, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Parables of Pacific Shores:  Locations, caves and coastal masculinities in Cast Away and Sanctum
Abstract: In Cast Away (Zemeckis 2000), Chuck is plane-wrecked on an uninhabited island and lives in a cave but, upon rescue, disavows the cave-dweller, saying that a package saved his life. In Sanctum (Grierson 2011), the deep cave system is setting for a sub-marine Oedipal struggle.  A place of ancient healing cults, and Plato’s metaphor for perception, the cave or grotto persists in postmodern culture (Nelson 2001), not least as performance sites for Pacific masculinities.  
Biography: Dr Allison Craven is a Senior Lecturer at JCU, where she teaches Film, Communication and Children’s Literature.  This paper is from her project, “Paradise Post-National” concerning films made or set in Queensland since the 1960s. 
Session: 3a

Presenter: Professor Barbara Creed
Title of Paper: Tropical Malady: Film & the Dream of Becoming Animal.
Abstract: The acclaimed Thai film, Tropical Malady (2004), represents the tropics as a surreal place where conscious and unconscious are as inextricably entwined. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tropical Malady presents two interconnected stories: one a quirky gay love story; the other a strange disconnected narrative about a shape-shifting shaman, a man-beast and a ghostly tiger. This paper will argue that many films about the tropics represent this imaginary zone as an uncanny place where human and animal merge and dream logic is the dominant mode of perception.
Biography: Dr Barbara Creed MA, PhD (La Trobe), BA, Dip Ed (Monash) is Professor of Cinema Studies and Head, School of Culture & Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral thesis on the cinema of horror, feminism and psychoanalysis was published as The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 1993) and has been republished five times. Her areas of research include feminist and psychoanalytic theory, horror and surrealism, the impact of Darwinian theory on the cinema, the representation of the animal in film and the cinema of human rights. She has been the co-recipient of five ARC research grants. She has recently published Phallic Panic: Film, Horror & the Primal Uncanny (MUP, 2005) and Darwin’s Screens: Evolutionary Aesthetics, Time and Sexual Display in the Cinema (MUP, 2009). She has also co-edited the anthologies Body Trade (2001) and Don't Shoot Darling (1987). Her articles have been translated into various foreign languages including Swedish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and German. She has been invited to speak at the Universities of Oxford, Paris, UCLA, Frankfurt, Lancaster, Manchester, Hawaii, Hanoi and the Courtauld and Freud Institutes, London.
She is on a number of international editorial boards and acts as a Reader for various international publishing houses and journals. She is an international assessor for the Australian Research Council. Barbara is an active figure in the film community as a film reviewer, speaker and writer. She has served on the Boards of Writers Week, the Melbourne International Film Festival and the VCA School of Film and Television.
Session: 3a

Presenter: Dr Bhama Daly, Teaching and Learning Development, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Ecosublimity in Lloyd Jones's Mister Pip
Abstract: Literature is the ideal medium for understanding the importance of the creative flow of energy that occurs through reading and interpretation and the way in which it may provide interpretations of culture, language and the creative imagination. This paper analyses Lloyd Jones’s novel, Mister Pip (2006), from an ecosublime perspective of the crucial link between place, literature, and the creative imagination in mediating transformations of culture and identity. Ecosublimity  can be defined as “the awe and terror that occurs when literary figures experience the infinite complexity and contingency of place” (Rozelle, p.1). In Mr Pip, Lloyd Jones explores subtle ways in which literature mediates personal and cultural transformations through the unspoken and invisible and through voices of places and habitus. The setting is Bougainville in 1990 at the height of Papua New Guinea’s blockade of the beautiful, but copper -mine dependant, island.  The physical setting of the novel plays a major role in the plot, with the jungle environment and military metaphors of conquest used to narrate the chaos and terror following the blockade.  The awe and terror of the physical destruction of the environment is offset by the power of the creative imagination to provide an escape from the nightmare world of the physical and psychological destruction wrought by the blockade. Told through the eyes of a young native girl, Matilda, Mister Pip is a stunning portrayal of an island at the mercy of outside forces.  With all western contact withdrawn, the one remaining white man, Mr Watts, re-opens the school to restore hope to the villagers. Unqualified and armed with only a copy of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, he begins to narrate the story of Pip to the children, and through this narration Matilda finds a friend in Pip. This paper will discuss how Lloyd Jones uses the creative space of literature to explore the personal and cultural transformations of a society besieged by a repressive political regime.
Biography: Bhama Daly (nee Gopal) was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She completed her nursing registration in London in the  1970s, and emigrated to Cairns with her partner in 1978. She has worked in Indigenous Health as a registered nurse,  lecturer and researcher. She completed her BA (Hons) and PhD in English Literature at James Cook University, Cairns. Currently she is a Learning Adviser. Her research interests are in literature, creative writing  and academic skills writing.
Session: 2a

Presenter: Dr Geraldine Dyer
Title of Paper: KEYNOTE PAPER 2: Creative Recovery - a Work In Progress: Exploring the potential for participatory arts engagement to support wellbeing and livelihoods in remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland
Abstract: Creative arts initiatives have the ability to promote the health and wellbeing of people suffering from a range of mental health problems.  Such initiatives can also provide an opportunity for employment in remote communities which traditionally have a limited scope for gainful employment.  This presentation will highlight the challenges and opportunities of using collaborative, innovative arts and health partnership models to address social and emotional wellbeing, in remote Indigenous communities in Cape York, Queensland.  Creative Recovery is a community arts based approach to mental health recovery in remote Indigenous communities, originally launched in Lockhart River in 2008.  The success of, and key learnings from the pilot phase have enabled expansion not only to other communities (Aurukun, Mornington Island and Doomadgee), but also to the development of relationships with other creative projects throughout the Torres Strait and Cape York. These types of projects offer unique opportunities in remote Indigenous communities for social enterprise, utilising creativity as the tool for meaningful engagement. They are best practice examples of projects which respond to challenging environmental and social changes.  There is enormous potential for this concept to contribute to the wider social and economic future of remote Indigenous communities by encouraging creative livelihoods.This presentation will also feature some documentary footage highlighting the voices and stories of community members who have participated in the project.
Biography: Dr Geraldine Dyer (Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist – Remote Area Mental Health) completed her medical degree as a graduate student at the University of Queensland.  She also has an undergraduate degree and postgraduate qualifications in psychology and public health.  Her particular interests are indigenous mental health, child and adolescent mental health, and public health.  Art and creativity are ways of linking all these interests together as a means of addressing the social determinants of health. She was one of the instigators of the Creative Recovery Project, and continues to work with the Project Officer to ensure effective delivery of services.
Session: 4

Presenter: Tim Dyson, Write in the Tropics Program, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Readers Writing: Creative Non-fiction
Session: 6a

Presenter: Katja Fleischmann, School of Creative Arts, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Lettering and Signage in the Urban Environment of the Capital of North Queensland: Tropical Flair or Univernacular?
Abstract: Many typefaces possess next to stylistic qualities also cultural and connotative properties. This paper describes an exploration of signage and lettering in the capital of North Queensland in the quest for a tropical typographic resonance. Is the vernacular typography alive or a vanishing art form?
Biography: Katja Fleischmann is a senior digital media design and new media arts educator at the School of Creative Arts at James Cook University, Australia. Her international experience gained while working in the UK, USA and Germany as designer and design educator informs a variety of research interests which include interrelations of interactivity and visual language, design thinking and her current doctoral research: the development and implementation of an alternative learning and teaching model for undergraduate digital media design education. She has received international recognition for her work as designer and national recognition from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for her work as design educator.
Session: 5a

Presenter: Rob Farquhar, Tropical Writers Group
Title of Paper: Writers Reading: Creative Writing
Session: 6a

Presenter: Claire Furniss, Write in the Tropics Program, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Readers Writing: Creative Non-fiction
Session: 6a

Presenter: Dr Jessica Gildersleeve, University of Queensland and Griffith University
Title of Paper: Jean Rhys’ Tropography
Abstract: The proposed paper examines Jean Rhys’ work (including Wide Sargasso Sea and selected short fiction) as literature of the tropics. The uncanny landscape of Rhys’ fiction infuses a simultaneous headiness and claustrophobia of language itself; to read Rhys is to experience the literary sensation of the tropics.
Biography: Jessica Gildersleeve recently gained a PhD from the University of Bristol for a thesis on Elizabeth Bowen and trauma. She has published work on writers including Rhys, Bowen, Rosamond Lehmann and Pat Barker, and now teaches literature at the University of Queensland and Griffith University.
Session: 2a

Presenter: Dr Robyn Glade-Wright, School of Creative Arts, James Cook University
Title of Paper: A Fragile Life: Vulnerable species in the Torrid Zone
Abstract: This paper will examine the potential for visual art to communicate concerns about vulnerable species in the Torrid Zone. The processes of selecting materials and symbolic forms to articulate these concerns will be described. Aesthetics considerations will be discussed along with an examination of the capacity artworks to induce reflection.
Biography:  Robyn Glade-Wright is a lecturer in the School of Creative Arts, James Cook University. Her research in the visual arts focuses on plant and animal extinction. Glade-Wright's work is held in national public and private collections.
Session: 6b

Presenter: Mike Hawney, Write in the Tropics Program, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Readers Writing: Creative Non-fiction
Session: 6a

Presenter: Adjunct Professor Susan Hawthorne, James Cook University
Title of Paper: The Effect of Living in the Tropics on the Imaginary Words of Susan Hawthorne's Tropical Writings
Abstract: Living in the Torrid Zone opens one up to a world of literatures from the Indian classics to the magical realism of Latin America. Australia’s torrid zone is inhabited by a wondrous range of animals and plants as well as extreme weather events. I will talk about the effect living in the tropics has had on my imaginary world. I will illustrate my work with readings from my two tropical books: Earth’s Breath: and Cow:
Biography: Susan Hawthorne is a poet and author of the collection, Earth’s Breath (2009) which was shortlisted for the 2010 Judith Wright Poetry Award (based on the author's experience of Cyclone Larry) and also of Cow (2011) which takes its inspiration from time spent by the author in Chennai during 2009 on an Asialink Literature Residency. She is Adjunct Professor in the Writing Program at James Cook University, Townsville.
Session: 7b

Presenter: Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, University of the South Pacific
Title of Paper: KEYNOTE PAPER 3: Creative Intersections: Integrating Creativity and Academic Research at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies at USP in Fiji
Biography: Originally from Rotuma, Professor Hereniko is the author of Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma and co-editor of Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politics, and Identity in the New Pacific, as well as numerous scholarly articles, essays, and plays. He was also the editor of the award-winning journal The Contemporary Pacific from 2002-2008. Many of Hereniko’s plays have been produced in Oceania, the United States, and England. His feature film The Land Has Eyes premiered at the Sundance Film Festival followed by screenings at international and indigenous film festivals around the world as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. An award-winning teacher, he has taught at the University of the South Pacific, the University of Washington, and for the University of Pittsburgh (semester-at-sea). He was also a Fellow of Corpus Christi at the University of Cambridge in England.
Session: 9

Presenter: Eric Holowacz, Festival Producer, Cairns Festival.
Title of Paper: Industry Panel: Building a New Kind of Festival for Tropical Queensland
Abstract: This presentation will focus on a range of innovative projects and partnerships that Cairns Regional Council has engineered to help redefine the Cairns Festival and set it apart from other creative celebrations around the country. Related local projects such as Opening Notes, Posters to the People, the Woodfordian Gremlin project, Far North Mobile Ukulele Unit, and others will be detailed, and a larger cultural engineering framework will be discussed.
Biography: Eric Holowacz has been involved in creative production and cultural engineering for over 20 years, and began his career as an intern at the state arts agency in South Carolina. He has been operations manager of Spoleto Festival, CEO of a local arts council, founding executive director of an artists colony in Key West, and arts programs and services manager for the City of Wellington, New Zealand. He currently serves as Festival Producer at Cairns Regional Council, and manages over 100 events, dozens of external partnerships, and audiences of nearly 100,000 over a 17-day celebration in Far North Queensland. Mr Holowacz is a non-profit management specialist, and has served on dozens of arts and community boards, engineered significant partnerships and collaborations, and works to contribute to cultural identity, expression, sense of place, and local histories. He is dedicated to the unfettered creative process, community leadership, and the advancement of the organisations he is privileged to serve.
Session: 7a

Presenter: Professor Jeanette Hoorn, Head of the Screen and Cultural Studies Program in the School of Culture and Communication and Director of Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne.
Title of Paper: Henri Rousseau's Jungle Paintings: Imagining the Tropics
Abstract: Henri Rousseau is famous for his dream-like jungle paintings in which he portrayed human and animal in a luxuriant primitive paradise. Yet, Rousseau never left the city; he based his jungle creatures on visits to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and its caged animals. What emotions do Rousseau's 'wild' animals express? What factors shaped Rousseau's vision of his imaginary tropical jungles and its disturbing exoticism?
Biography: Professor Jeanette Hoorn PhD (UniMelb) MA (Calif. Berkeley) BA Hons (UNSW) was educated at the University of New South Wales, University of California, Berkeley and University of Melbourne. She has undertaken periods of post-doctoral research at Berkeley, Yale the ANU and London University and is currently Head of the Screen and Cultural Studies Program in the School of Culture and Communication and Director of Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Research encompasses the history of European visual cultures especially as they have manifested in British and French colonial cultures in Australia and the Pacific region. Specialisations include colonialism and race in European, Australian and New Zealand film and painting; pastoralism in Australian painting; contemporary Indigenous art; portraiture; gender and modernism; Darwinian theory in film and painting; Orientalism and Australian art; Europe’s ‘civilising mission’ in colonial film. Professor Hoorn’s most recent book of essays, Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 2009 accompanied the major exhibition of the same title, shown at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, as part of the celebrations for the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin in July-September 2009. The exhibition and book received notices in a number of international journals including Nature.
Session: 7b

Presenter: Michael Johnson
Title of Paper: ‘My identity is shaped by my work experiences; my identity is and will be shaped by my art’: Auto Ethnography of Michael Johnson
Abstract: In this presentation Michael Johnson reflects on the experiences which have formed his identity as a person and as an artist.
Biography: Michael Johnson has worked as an artist, a television host, a cultural heritage protector, a park ranger, taxi driver, public servant, cleaner, negotiator, waiter, and consultant. He has worked in various acting and production roles in the City Acting Studio, the Nimrod Theatre, the Toe Truck Theatre, and Main street Theatre. He was involved in the World Expo’ 88 Australian Pavilion Multimedia Piece By Kath Walker and Vivian Walker. Michael is a Founding Member of the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust and was a Work shop and Actor participant in the 1st and 2nd National Black Playwrights Conference and Workshop 1987 and 1989. Recently he was the curator of traditional and contemporary artefacts for an Interpretive Gallery of a Cultural Centre.
Session: 2b

Presenter: Dr Deborah Jordan, Research Fellow University of Queensland
Title of Paper: Tropical Cyclones and the Literary Imagination
Abstract: Eco-centric ideologies recognise humans as an interdependent part of a larger biotic community and the biophysical systems that support them. In context of increasing extreme weather events, this paper will begin to investigate how the literary and environmental imaginations have addressed tropical cyclones in key Australian texts. Various different discourses and genres can be identified in narratives of climate change. This paper will address how firstly constructions of one’s ‘spiritual home’ in the environment in so called ‘socialist realism’, and secondly Indigenous ‘authenticity’ by authors and critics challenge postcolonial and scientific understandings. Vance Palmer, Australia’s leading man of letters of the interwar period, claimed his was a generation seeking to find harmony with the environment; Nettie Palmer believed that writers’ powers depended on their capacity to find a ‘spiritual’ home in place. It is timely to re-visit in particular Vance Palmer’s Cyclone (and Katharine Prichard’s Hurricane) in context of recent discourses on ecological sensibilities, identities of place and transnational cosmopolitanism, home and homecoming in the literary imagination, and rapid change through climate change. Through his failure to fully endorse Indigenous sovereignty, Palmer’s work has been criticized in the last two decades. A point of comparison will be Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and its concepts of anthropogenic climate change.
Biography: Dr Deborah Jordan is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. She is conducting research into publisher's archives which are full of scandal and intrique, and also provide a powerful insight into understanding ourselves and what we read and what we will pay for. She is transcribing the love letter of the Palmers ( 909-1964) and also working on a  reading of their work in terms of the environmental imagination. Nettie Palmer: Search for an Aesthetic - came out in 1999. The inter-relationships of ideas, place, community and spirituality resonate with Deborah's other recent projects. Deborah has worked as researcher, professional historian, writer and teacher in the university, government and private sectors - in local history, maritime heritage, disabilities, cultural heritage, Queensland women's history and so on. Publications include The World of Work in South Australia, EastCoast Shipwrecks, The Independent Schools of South Australia. She contributed to Onkaparinga Heritage and has written and reviewed widely in women's history and the environment. Recent publications include Hibiscus and Ti-Tree: Women in Queensland (Hecate Press 2009) and 'Emerging Black Writing and the University of Queensland Press' in Robert Dixon and Katherine Bode(eds) Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture, Sydney University Press 2009. She has just published 'Island Writing: Writing Islands' LinQ
Session: 8a

Presenter: Dr Victoria Kuttainen, Lecturer in English, School of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Maps, Boats, and Currents:  Slumming it in the Tropics in the Interwar Years
Abstract: In groundbreaking 2005 book Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History, Franco Moretti proposes an entirely different approach to literature as a corrective to steer away from myopic close readings in which literary scholars acted as secular priests decoding and canonising a small set of novels for the reading public. This paper is an overview of a larger research project that adopts Franco Moretti's approach of distant reading, placing texts back in their context of world currents and returning texts to the ways in which they were circulated and read.  In this case, these currents are the currents of Pacific Ocean Liners and the ephemera of Print Magazines during the heyday of magazines and passenger liner travel in the interwar years.  By focusing on the actual currents of ideas and movements of people and print, this study foregrounds the industrial conditions and material modes of cultural production--things like transport networks and economics which are often entirely pushed to the background or overlooked in close readings of texts. Between the sunset of English literature and the sunrise of national literatures after the war, the currents of culture were highly cosmopolitan, and they were networked across the tropical Pacific on passenger liner routes that criss-crossed the ocean. Anthropologists relied on passenger liners to get to their fieldwork. Filmmakers took the same ships to make the first Tiki films.  And writers slummed around the Pacific in much the same way that expats trod the backstreets of Paris, London, and Madrid in the days of the Moveable Feast. Much of the tropical writing and cultural production from this period has been overlooked in the subsequent phase of national canon building. This paper maps the beginning of this research project and resurrects lost interwar tropical ephemera in print magazines to showcase the networked before the rise of the national agenda in the 40s through to the 90s.
Biography: Victoria Kuttainen is a lecturer in English at JCU. She focuses on short stories, print culture, and postcolonialism.  Her book Unsettling Stories: Settler Postcolonialism and the Short Story Composite was published by Cambridge Scholars Press in 2010.  She is Chief Investigator of a Collaboration Across Boundaries grant Pacific Imaginings, out of which this project emerges.
Session: 3b

Presenter: Carol Libke, Tropical Writers Group
Title of Paper: Critical Self-reflection on the Writing of the Fifty-year History of the Ellis Beach Surf Lifesaving Club: Our Club
Abstract: Constant questioning of one's own assumptions, together with the capacity to analyse and synthesise the information gathered, contributes to creating new perspectives and understanding. With the aid of in-text referencing, this critical self-reflection will show linguistic, cognitive, social and creative factors at play.  
Biography: Carol Libke is the president of the Tropical Writers group. She holds a journalism degree and has written a narrative non-fiction history of the Ellis Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Her first play Angus was shortlisted for Short&Sweet in Brisbane and Sydney. Carol is excited about the release of the Tropical Writers 5th anthology, Category 5, which has a strong sense of place and is a reflection of life in the tropics.
Session: 5b

Presenter: Bec McIntyre, Tropical Writers Group
Title of Paper: Writers Reading: Creative Writing
Session: 6a

Presenter: Dr Christopher Mann, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Sacred and Profaned: Trees in Films of the Australian Tropics.
Abstract: An examination of what has been considered over the years as good and bad behaviour towards trees in films featuring the Australian tropics.
Biography: Chris Mann taught cinema studies at JCU from 1987 till 2010. His last publication, with Allison Craven, was in etropic following the 2009 Tropics of the Imagination conference.
Session: 8a

Presenter: Elizabeth Martin, Tropical Writers Group
Title of Paper: Writers Reading: Creative Writing
Session: 6a  

Presenter: Hazel Menehira, FTCL. LTCL. ANZDA Fellow of Trinity College, London, Member Book Creator’s Circle
Title of Paper: Spiritual Poetry in the Tropics
Abstract: A personal perspective overview of the development of spiritual poetry in Queensland set against background of the general development of this in Australia and parallels in New Zealand lit. The main thrust of the presentation will be the current grassroot trends of poets writing in the tropics with specific examples, indicating the richness ahead for this multi cultural society writing in a lush tropical environment.
Biography: Hazel Menehira - FTCL. LTCL. ANZDA is a Fellow of Trinity College, London. Born in 1933 and educated in England, she is an internationally recognized speech and drama teacher, theatre director, published writer, examiner and adjudicator.  A member of both the New Zealand and the Australian Society of Authors, Hazel's writing background includes 50 years in journalism, teaching and educational text books. Her 12 published books include commissioned non-fiction, an historical novel and collections of short stories and poetry. Living in Cairns since 2001 Hazel is a contributor of Book Creator's Circle, a mentor and workshop tutor for new and aspiring writers and a reviewer of all genres for Media/Culture web page through Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology. Her passions are whanau, theosophy, poetry, tropical beaches, mangoes and pineapple.
Session: 5b

Presenter: Coral Neave, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Finding a Voice and a Place in the Contemporary Indigenous Art
Abstract: This paper arises from my research on the fine art market by Indigenous artists in Far North Queensland. I will focus on my interviews with the artists, their views of the fine
art industry, and how their relationships rely on interdependency and interconnectedness
to bring artworks by Indigenous artists to an art market. 

Biography: Carol Neave is a PhD student in Anthropology at James Cook University, Townsville. The development of Indigenous fine art in Far North Queensland is a late-starter compared to other areas of Australia, but it is now making its mark on the world stage. How this art has developed and what will drive its future prospects are the issues of interest in her work.
Session: 2b 

Presenter: Rod Owens,  Write in the Tropics Program, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Readers Writing: Creative Non-fiction
Session: 6a

Presenter: Nicolas Rothwell, The Australian Newspaper
Title of Paper: KEYNOTE PAPER 1: When the Sacred Shatters: Experiences in the Desert and the High Tatra Mountains
Biography: Nicolas Rothwell was educated in European schools and was a classical scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, before becoming a foreign correspondent. He is now the northern correspondent for The Australian newspaper. His many writings include several books. Wings of the Kite-Hawk (2003), is a set of linked journeys into the Australian landscape: its past and its present, its people and its half-remembered secrets. Another Country (2007) tells the story of desert journeys and encounters with mystics and artists, explorers and healers during travels in Northern and Central Australia. It also gathers together groundbreaking pieces on Aboriginal art and society, and on Darwin and the lure of the North. The Red Highway (2009), a fiction set in the far reaches of the continent, is a sequel to Wings of the Kite-Hawk. Journeys to the Interior (2010) consist of essays, portraits, and landscape accounts, with a core series of four explorations: of the story of literature in the Australian landscape; the relationship between consciousness, thought and wilderness; fragments and man’s need for coherence, and musical form in the bush.
Session: 1

Presenter: Dr David Salisbury, School of Creative Arts, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Sweet Crush: A Multimedia Virtual Heritage Portrait of the North Queensland Sugar Industry.
Abstract: The sugar industry underpins the economic and social fabric of a cross section of North Queensland. The aim of this paper is to recontextualize the ambient sounds and visual narratives embedded within the crushing process. This study demonstrates to workers and the wider community, undiscovered meaning in these everyday events.
Biography: Dr David Salisbury (BMus, MA, PhD, Grad. Dip. Ed.) currently lectures in music and digital sound at James Cook University School of Creative Arts (SoCA).  David’s doctoral work focused on the talempong musical tradition of West Sumatra and he was a contributing author to the 1999 publication Walk In Splendor Part I (Ceremonies And Their Traditional Music And Drama), for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. His current research interests include North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait performers of contemporary and traditional music.
Session:  5a

Presenter: Dr Lindsay Simpson, Head of Journalism, School of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University
Title of Paper: ‘Read All About It’: Sources of News in the Tropics
Abstract: Country (and regional) newspapers are a central part of the news and information network in towns and regions providing a wide range of information from birth notices to weather reports and sports results. They also act as agenda setters, framing events and privileging particular news sources. North Queensland’s newspaper dailies are both owned by the Murdoch News Limited empire. This paper explores the diversity of sources in both the Cairns Post and the Townsville Bulletin in 2008. It also attempts to evaluate how many of these sources were driven by public relations companies. The research for this paper includes a content analysis of both newspapers and qualitative interviews with some of the journalists who wrote the newspaper stories which formed part of the content analysis research.
Biography: Dr Lindsay Simpson is the Head of Journalism at James Cook University and the Co-ordinator of the postgraduate writing program Write in the Tropics. She is the author and co-author of eight books and was the founding member of the Journalism & Media Studies major at the University of Tasmania. Her first book, Brothers in Arms, is being made into a six-part teleseries produced by Screentime, producers of Underbelly, and will be screened next year.
Session: 5b

Presenter: Dr Reesa Sorin, Senior Lecturer in Education, James Cook University, with Tamara Brooks, James Cook University.
Title of Paper: ‘All of the places I’ve been to [in the tropics] are not really a special place’ -  Investigating Children’s Place Attachments through Collage and Stories
Abstract: Research has suggested a growing divide between children and their local, natural environments. Even living in far north Queensland, some children seem to prefer electronic gadgets, places far away or places imagined to the natural environment of the tropics.  This paper explores young children's place attachments, using arts-based methods. 

Biography: This paper is being presented by Reesa Sorin and Tamara Brooks. Reesa is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, in Early Childhood and Arts Education. Tamara holds a Bachelor of Education Honours, and this paper is based on her research for her Honours thesis.
Session: 3b

Presenter: Associate Professor Cheryl Taylor
Title of Paper: The Evolution of Thea Astley's Multiple Effects of Rainshadow
Abstract: The paper explores radical political and other adaptations that the author made to her sources in writing this novel, which is set on Palm Island. The paper surveys newspaper cuttings, drafts and revisions preserved in the Fryer Library at UQ; influential books; and the role of Penguin editor, Meredith Rose.
Biography: Associate Professor Cheryl Taylor received her B.A. from the University of Queensland in 1968, her M.A. from the University of Leeds in 1974, and her PhD from James Cook University in 2000. Before retiring in December 2006, she taught in a variety of subject areas at James Cook University, Townsville. Her research interests include the literature of spirituality, Middle English and Medieval Latin religious literature and Queensland writing. She was the winner of the Fryer Library Award at University of Queensland, 2010, for a research project on the novelist Thea Astley, and was also a research consultant on J.S.D. Melllick's Writers’ Footprints: A Queensland Literary Companion. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2010. Notably, A/Prof Taylor is the co-founder of Writing the Tropical North in AustLit, the leading electronic bibliography and teaching and research resource for Australian literature; launched 6 May 2005 and ongoing with ARC LIEF grants into 2011. ISBN 0 9750867 3 1.
Session: 8a

Presenter: Dr Jillian Thiele, Pacific Adventist University
Title of Paper: Colonial Voice Reinterpreted through Words and Pictures
Abstract: Father and daughter inhabit the same space but interpret it differently. A colonial and a present-day educator see Papua New Guinea life through new lenses - the curriculum and the academic goals; students with new ambitions and diverse lifestyle issues; family and the extended wantok system; all factors affecting one’s world view.
Biography: I was born in PNG to Australian missionaries involved in education.  For the last twenty years my husband and I have taught at tertiary level in PNG.  Bryan and I hope to present a paper comparing colonial and post colonial times.  My words will be accompanied by art work by Bryan Paul.
Session: 3b

Presenter: Gaby Thomasz LL.M MBA, President Cairns Ukulele Club
Title of Paper: Industry Panel
Biography: Gaby Thomasz is the Festival organiser at Cairns Ukulele Festival and the owner / manager at Music City Cairns. She was educated at James Cook University, TAFE, and      Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Session: 7a

Presenter: Dr Janice Wegner, School of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University
Title of Paper: Weed or Not?: Attitudes to Weeds in the Queensland Tropics
Abstract: Weeds were introduced to tropical Queensland through human agency, and were spread by animals, wind and water. However they were also spread by people, or their spread was not checked, because of conflicting attitudes towards them. The history of a selection of weeds will be examined to illustrate the phenomenon.
Biography: Jan Wegner B.Ed/B.A. (Hons), M.A., PhD teaches history and heritage at Cairns Campus from first year to PhD level. She volunteers in history activities off campus as well, principally with the Far North Queensland branch of the National Trust and the Cairns Historical Society museum. Her major research area is in mining history and heritage which has made her much in demand by various levels of government, the media and the public. She also researches North Queensland regional history and environmental history, and her current project is a history of weeds in Queensland. She is the author of The Etheridge (1990) and her most recent publication is ."Why Garden?: gardening on mining fields in the dry tropics of Queensland, 1860 to 1960", Journal of Australian Studies Vol. 34 No. 3 September 2010 pp. 347-362.
Session: 6b

Presenter: Jack Wilkie-Jans, Cell Art Space
Title of Paper: Industry Panel: Aboriginal Art Developing
Abstract: I was involved with the 2011 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Before its opening I said to the Creative Director how much I’d like to see an art fair such as this acknowledge the change in Aboriginal Art. I was so pleased to see that more traditional style pieces were displayed alongside some very contemporary styled artworks. The most contemporary, in my opinion, were those of a woman well past her 70s. Scores of modern Aboriginal artists are making a name for themselves with their newer styles and the markets are responding in cash! This goes to show that nothing stays the same, and while the Aboriginal Art boom may not be as strong as it was a few decades ago, its integrity is even stronger. More and more Indigenous people are expressing themselves to the world in a medium that Aboriginals are famous for and that is pictures and art. The fact that Aboriginal artists no longer feel the need to, nor are told by their managers, to paint only dot paintings and that they are reaching out to more European techniques, all demonstrates that Aboriginal pride and culture is facing up to a sustainable future in a global community.
Biography: I am an artist myself, artsworker with Cell Art Space having coordinated exhibitions alongside and in partnership with Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and other Cairns based galleries and art spaces. I am also a commentator/advocate on and for Indigenous Affairs. This paper, Aboriginal Art Developing, is from an artist\'s and artworker\'s perspective on how I see the Australian Industry changing and where Aboriginal Art fitting in in the development; as well as developing trends within Aboriginal Art and artworks.
Session: 7a

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