Post by Adriana Alvarez.
Justine Walsh, our Autumn guest editor, is a familiar face around the hillscene and many other community projects. She has been both a writer and an interview subject in the hillscene for her varied talents. Justine has also been involved in the hillsceneLIVE festival and has a wealth of creative ideas she’s happy to share. She’s fearless and a huge advocate for creating and facilitating culture in the hills. We talk to her about her many projects and love of writing.
Tell us a little bit about your writing journey?
I have always written poetry and songs, making art with text and finding playful and experimental ways to use language. I also ran a poetry night in the hills for 5 years, To the Ends of the ‘Verse, which was beautiful and powerful in equal measure.
Why did you want to become an editor/writer/poet?
As a young person I realized a big part of me was storytelling, which has over the years emerged in so many different ways. I’d say ‘artist’ works best as I have a broad set of skills, dreams and projects… I can’t say I ever aimed to become an artist as such, I just had to do it and I followed my nose, testing many forms and methodologies, learning my cycles of creativity and fallow periods, allowing for it to change as it needs.
What is an editor’s role in this era of fake news and alternative facts?
To be discerning but also to do your best not to flavour the stories with your individual values. And to fact check, of course.
How did you become involved with the hillscene?
I was originally interviewed back in 2013 as a musician I think… I have done a few articles for the mag since then and still have a solid back catalogue in my possession!
In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?
I work in a leadership capacity for the arts & cultural events of the Dandenongs, helping to run projects such as hillsceneLIVE, Belgrave Survival Day and up until recently, Belgrave Lantern Parade. It’s very intense and often unpaid (mostly underpaid) work, but I have done it for the love of the community and the arts, and have learnt unbelievable amounts along the way. I am so grateful for the community up here, there are so many artists and members of the public who have put endless hours into the arts in the region. I started out working on End of the Line festival 2012, began the poetry night, was an artist/mentor at tiffaney bishop COLLECTIVE, and everything unfolded from there… it’s been the most tumultuous and spectacular time I must say!
Who are your creative heroes?
People like Gareth Hart, Leisa Shelton, Tiffaney Bishop, Ross Farnell, Toni Main, Renate Crow, people who I am close to and work with tend to be the ones who inspire me the most. Pretty lucky to have such amazing friends and peers!
What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?
I can never get enough of that air. The moss and the lichens, the incredible worlds of forested beauty, I am always discovering new little tracks to walk. The land here has held me in such a deep and enduring way, I can’t express how grateful I am for these green places.
Where can people find more information about you?
You can find me on instagram @justinelwalsh and my website is www.entwinearts.com.au.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, I am very excited to be Co-Directing hillsceneLIVE again this year, and working on the committee of Belgrave Survival Day. Both of these teams are looking for new people to be a part of them too so get in touch!!
Apart from my events work, I have been learning about herbalism and collaborating with plants! Very exciting to spend time with them in a new way. I have also been working with sound school to run and help organize free workshops for young/queer/POC/femme people to access resources and learn about sound, which is awesome and very important. Also I am working on some sounds to be released mid-year on bandcamp through my project radiant/resonant… and of course there are some other projects in the pipeline haha… always 🙂