Writers Victoria has a state-wide remit, with more than 800 members living in regional areas.
We value the contribution of Victoria’s regional writers and recognise the difficulties they can face in accessing opportunities for professional development, inspiration and engagement. Writers Victoria has a strong history of working in partnership with regional communities and groups. The organisation has provided assistance to regional writers and audiences in a range of different ways, including direct delivery of regional writing workshops and grants to support a range of writing-related activities in regional areas.
In 2018 our Creative Victoria funded 'Writers On The Road' program will see us bring writers to Eltham (March), Port Arlington (April), Queenscliff (May), Traralgon (May), Woodend (June), Mildura (July), Apollo Bay (July), Daylesford (August), Lake Tyers (October), and Ballarat (October).
We will also be offering small regional grants to Writers' Groups throughout the state to deliver writers' workshops, festival panel sessions, and more through an application process that will be promoted in our enews in the first quarter of the year; and we will be hosting our second Regional Ambassadors Forum in February.
If your group is interested in working with us in some way in 2018, we’d love to hear from you.
Write-ability Goes Regional and Online
In April 2017, our new Write-ability Goes Regional and Online program launched in Ballarat. Write-ability Goes Regional and Online is a three-year program for aspiring writers with disability living in regional Victoria. Following the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the program will now move onto the Loddon region, Inner and Outer Gippsland, Ovens Murray, Western Districts, Goulburn and Mallee regions. Our Own Voices Forum: Why Writing Matters will be held in each region to explore how writing and storytelling can help develop new ways of thinking about the self, disability, and community.
Recent regional projects
2017 launched the start of our Touring Victoria 'Writers On The Road' program. With 28 capacity-building activites over 18 months across regional Victoria, these tours are made possible through the support of Creative Victoria. The program launched in Shepparton in September with a blogging workshop with Karen Andrews, followed by Sofie Laguna at the Castlemaine Children's Literature Festival, Arnold Zable in Waurn Ponds and Bacchus Marsh, and Mark Smith in Sorrento.
Through our Grace Marion Wilson Regional Tours program, we delivered workshops and literary activites in Anglesea, Yarram, Apollo Bay, Castlemaine and Woodend; and our GMW Small Grants program saw us partner with regional writers' groups and literary festivals to deliver a further 8 workshops in Echuca, Gippsland, Queenscliff, Ballarat, Apollo Bay, Geelong, Trentham and Daylesford.
2016 saw us deliver 34 regional activities in partnership with 18 regional groups in 14 communities across all regions of Victoria. This included regional tours, local events, member meet-ups and capacity-building activities in Apollo Bay, Ararat, Ballan, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Clunes, Echuca, Geelong, Phillip Island, Port Fairy, Shepparton, Traralgon, Warrnambool and Woodend. We also delivered a range of activities for writers with disability in the Geelong region in the second year of our Write-ability Goes Regional pilot. We received dozens of entries for our second Regional Members Writing Competition and were proud to launch our new Regional Ambassador Program, with five ambassadors already in place within the Surf Coast, Latrobe, Murrindindi, Mildura and Ballarat Shires. Regional members also benefited from our growing online program, with participants joining us from all over the state (and beyond).
In 2015, Writers Victoria deliver its largest regional program ever. From Mildura to East Gippsland, in coastal towns and the mountains, we delivered 50 regional activities in partnership with 22 regional groups in 18 communities across all regions of Victoria. This included national tours, local events, member meet-ups and capacity building activities in Apollo Bay, Ararat, Bairnsdale, Ballan, Ballarat, Baw Baw, Belgrave, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Clunes, Geelong, Harrow, Mildura, Mornington, Newstead, Port Fairy, Shepparton and Woodend. It also included a range of regional activities for writers with disability in Geelong as part of our Write-ability Goes Regional pilot program. We appointed our first regionally-based staff member and hosted our first Regional Ambassador’s Forum. Regional members also benefited from our growing online program of clinics and webinars.
In 2014, Writers Victoria worked in partnership with local communities to program workshops in Clunes, Ballarat, Geelong and Castlemaine. We hosted our first ever Regional Salon and program launch in collaboration with the National Non-Fiction Festival. We launched our first Regional Members Writing Competition and ran seminars, chaired panels and hosted info stalls in Aireys Inlet, Daylesford and Bendigo. Thanks to the support of the Grace Marion Trust, we were able to support a range of literary activities in Inverloch, Port Fairy, Belgrave, Clunes, Ararat and Shepparton. And we launched our first ever online courses to help make our workshop program accessible to everyone, regardless of their location.
In 2013, Writers Victoria presented three residential masterclasses in regional Victoria in partnership with Clunes Booktown. 28 emerging and established writers from within and outside of Victoria worked intensively with memoirist Peter Rose, YA author Kirsty Murray and poet Jordie Albiston.
“… there was something remarkable about getting away from the city, away from regimen and routine and responsibilities. Away from the expectations of others, and the expectations I have of myself. There was something wonderful about shedding all those layers like shrouds until only one remained."
The 2013 Regional Professional Development Program (supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust) presented 10 workshops for writers in four communities in regional Victoria, which were attended by 472 people. In June, the Woodend Winter Arts Festival presented three sessions, with Carmel Bird, Sheila Drummond, Susanne Lobez, Felicity Young, Andrew Grimes, Christine Nagel and Toni Jordan. In August, Apollo Bay Arts Inc presented a seminar at the 20th anniversary of their Warm Winter Words festival on ‘Seeking Asylum’ with Robin de Crespigny, Kooshyar Karimi and Julian Burnside. In September, Write Around the Murray took Tony Birch to Albury-Wodonga and the Ex Libris Festival of Words in Port Fairy presented an author talk with Candice Bruce.
Thanks to a new partnership between Writers Victoria and the National Trust (Victoria), the Melbourne-based ANE Writers group was awarded a week-long residency at Mooramong, a rural heritage property on a working farm in the middle of Victoria’s pastoral Western District in 2013.
In 2012, the Regional Partnerships Program saw Writers Victoria work with Apollo Bay Arts Inc., Castlemaine Word Mine, Castlemaine U3A Inc., Lazy River Writers, Ballarat Writers Inc, 3305 Writers' Group, Portland and Woodend Winter Arts Festival. More than 22 published writers and literary sector experts (including Lee Kofman, Jordie Albiston and Arnold Zable) delivered hands-on professional development activities in regional communities. Participants travelled from all across Victoria to attend.
In 2011, we developed a Regional Partnerships Program and began to work in collaboration with regional writers’ groups and festivals to deliver targeted and relevant professional development activities for their members and broader communities. This led to more effective use of funding and resources, and guaranteed that the subject matter and visiting authors were appropriate for each community.