Palmerston, Waikouaiti, Karitane, Waitati, and possibly Dunedin or Oamaru if the fit was right.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I have two branches of creative practice: visual art, and creative writing. My writing focus is on speculative (fantasy) fiction for children, but I have also published non-fiction in the subjects of art and writing, as well as anthologies with a wide range of contributors. My background in visual arts is in painting, which I still practice, but my primary artwork is in bookbinding and collage art.
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
My speculative fiction series, a collection of four stories in a fantasy world, includes two titles that were finalists in a national award for 'Best Youth Novel' 2016. The first book in this series also sold over 100 copies on launch day. I have had a solo exhibition in Auckland for my paintings in 2016, and in more recently in 2018 received 'Highly Commended' at the inaugural Books as Art show. Outside of direct success, I have also had opportunities for media interviews or features, including Eastlife Magazine, The Otago Daily Times, Stuff, Wellington Access Radio, and the Pantograph Punch. I have been a guest speaker, or panelist, at the Booksellers NZ Conference, Auckland Libraries, Hamilton Zinefest, and the Annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. In addition, I have a Bachelor of Education (Teaching – Primary Specialisation), experience teaching a range of students, and many successful school presentations/workshops as a visiting author.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
I have a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching), and taught in schools for just over two years, first as a relief teacher with Years 1–8, and then as a classroom teacher with Years 5–6. While I was studying towards my BEd, I worked for an Out Of School Care Programme, which included some art/craft sessions. After that, I was a Maths and English tutor for five years working with Years 4–12. During this time, I also taught creative classes (privately, and through the Council) to small groups of both children and adults, primarily drawing and painting, and fiction writing and publishing. Since publishing my own fiction several years ago, I have done many interactive school author visits with outstanding feedback from teachers, particularly around student engagement and enthusiasm. Book publishing (and especially zine making) have been of high interest with students, and I would love to work more deeply in these areas with a group of students. I also create handmade books with a strong environmental ethos (reducing and reusing waste to create something beautiful or useful) which is of particular relevance.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I have a passion for learning and teaching. It is a joy to be a part of someone's journey as they learn new skills, to foster new skills, and to help them grow in confidence.