The Role of Artists/Writers


I am deeply interested in roles writers, and for that matter artists in general, can play in their community. Obviously their first obligation is to their art/craft, but there are times when we all want to help out. How can I best do this? I’m not much good at unblocking drains or filling sand bags in floods, or helping to drive trucks or beat out fires. And since I overdid the strength in the coffee I have not be allowed back onto kitchen duty –  but I can do other things.

I have written about this in the following two articles.

Download my Ballarat Courier feature article >

Download my article for the Victorian Writers’ Centre >

Watch an episode of Back Roads on Clunes, Series 5, Episode 12, 2020

I have spent a good deal of time trying to work out – among other things –

  • What can I, as a writer/artist, bring?
  • How do communities embrace change?
  • What lessons am I taught?
  • What is the role of the knockers, the timid and the planners?
  • How do the parts of a community work together?
  • How do these different types of people with different hopes, dreams, histories and abilities all find a meaningful role to play?
  • How do we build in succession and long levity?
  • What is sustainability and how do we measure it?

I firmly believe that no idea, no matter how spectacular, can work if it doesn’t bring the group along for the ride… and that’s really where all the work is. Having the idea is easy, what is difficult, time consuming and just hard work, is working with a group to make the idea happen.

Working in my community has taught me that a united difference is eminently more powerful than a united sameness.

The Town Path

For many of us walking is  an important part of  exercise and health management so I’m pleased to be working with others, including the local shire, to slowly develop the idea of a park/walking paths that loop around and through the town. It’s early days.

Writing About Clunes Booktown


I am currently working on an almost true  story of my coming to Clunes in 2003 and how we made the  first Booktown festival in 2007.

Like any new project, it’s the hardest thing I have ever taken on and it’s taking its own time to write.