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Creative ID: 009

Art form(s): Community Art, Digital Arts, Film, Visual Arts, Craft/Object, Multi-Disciplinary.

Based in: Te Marua.

When I'm available: I am a creative freelancer so I am able to carve out my own schedule. I am looking to personally work with three schools this year as a continuation of the piloting and testing of our program, while simultaneously teaching a train the trainer program so the creative youth programme can be brought to more schools. Times and days will be negotiated with schools to be mutually useful.

Where I'm available: Wellington Region, Porirua, Kapiti, Lower Hutt, and Upper Hutt.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

I will co-develop a programme with your students on how to be peaceful activists for positive creative social change while at the same time develop their self-compassion and ability to work deeply and resiliently. The programme identifies their unique creative superpower and then uses it to help them develop mindfulness, emotional fluency and self-compassion. In 2009 I pressed pause on my work as a holistic nurse consultant and pursued my dream of becoming a full-time artist. Over the past 10 years, I have won New Zealand's Creative Photographer of the Year, started a youth charity and directed a New Zealand Film Commission funded documentary. My art has won awards not only for its creativity but also for its ability to impact social change. Our family lost a very dear young friend to suicide which led to our development of a creative youth programme. This programme has been successfully piloted in a community setting in Upper Hutt for girls ages 11–14 and in a Decile 1 South Auckland High School for both genders. I am the creative director of a photography studio which has underwritten the development of the creative youth programme.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

  • Founder of a creative youth programme.
  • Winner of the Wellington Airport Awards – Health and Wellbeing winner for arts-based mother-daughter workshops.
  • Past Winner of New Zealand's Creative Photographer of the Year. 
  • Documentary film Director – backed by the New Zealand Film Commission.
  • Canon Eyecon Mentor – mentoring the top emerging photographers in New Zealand. 
  • TEDx speaker.
  • Founder of a charitable trust.
  • Award-winning photographic art.
  • Youth worker.
  • BS in Nursing with a specialisation in Holistic Nursing (Helene Fuld Fellowship).
  • Mentor to artists and teachers to work with youth in the mental and creative wellness arena. Propelling question: "How do we crowd/community source a creative cure for suicidal ideation which will drop New Zealand's suicide rate to the lowest in the world?"

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

  • Raised three thriving artists (one son is a tech start-up inventor who at 18 was given a grant to develop his app, my daughter is a professional dancer on cruise ships, and my youngest son is a music producer who has also decided to become one of the first facilitators of the creative youth programme and use the framework to teach wellness through music).
  • Facilitated the award-winning programme for mothers and daughters.
  • Co-developed a creative youth programme with youth in Upper Hutt and South Auckland.
  • Facilitated for eight years in global health change programmes on three continents ... but working with kids makes me laugh more. 
  • Making Friends with Yourself Facilitator Training – the only research-proven programme for developing self-compassion in teens to date.
  • Suicide Prevention Training.
  • Self Harm Prevention Training.
  • Youth Worker Development Training.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

After having experienced the heavy challenge of cold calling and getting into my first school to have a government-sanctioned programme to develop creative growth in youth is brilliant. The creative youth programme and my own creative practice is all about creating positive and respectful community change. I have been working as a systematic change manager on three continents in two sectors over the past 20 years. One needs to have a big fat hairy goal. The goal of our trust is to be a part of the team that finds a solution to our country's suicide crisis and not only reverses it but comes up with a programme that drops our suicide rates down to the lowest in the world.

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