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Speaker biographies

Speakers at Critical Undercurrents: One River symposium

Malcolm McKinnon

Malcolm McKinnon

Malcolm McKinnon is an artist, filmmaker and ghost-wrangler working mainly in the realms of social history and multimedia. As Curator of Stories for the One River project, Malcolm has convened a series of critical symposia, commissioned and edited critical essays about local art projects, and produced a series of short films telling a variety of instructive river stories.

Daniel Connell

Dr Daniel Connell

Dr Daniel Connell is a historian, teacher and public policy analyst who has written extensively about politics and policy issues in the Murray-Darling Basin. His work includes the 2007 book Water Politics in the Murray-Darling Basin. Daniel has a particular interest in governance issues relating to rivers that span and divide different political constituencies, both in Australia and internationally. This covers issues including water reform, environmental justice, public participation, cultural change, water markets and risk created by the interaction of different levels of government.

Daniel is currently a Research Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Sarah Moles

Sarah Moles

Sarah Moles trained as a photographer and worked in the advertising industry before moving to a small property on the Darling Downs in Queensland. She has spent almost 20 years working in community-based natural resource management. Sarah has a passion for freshwater environments and has worked extensively on the conservation of wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin. She was a member of the Community Advisory Committee to the former Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council and The Living Murray Community Reference Group. Sarah is currently a Director of the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee and the Ethos Foundation, a member of two Great Artesian Basin advisory groups and a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

In 2006, Sarah and her partner, visual artist Michael Pospischil, travelled extensively throughout the Darling Basin to produce an exhibition and book entitled The Dying Darling.

Kim Chalmers

Kim Chalmers

Kim Chalmers is an artisan winegrower, composer, musician, festival director and environmental activist based primarily in the regional Victorian city of Mildura.

Kim’s family company, Chalmers Wines, has introduced Italian avant-garde grape varieties new to Australia, but well-suited to the climate and environment in which they are now being grown. The winery has also worked to greatly reduce its consumption of irrigation water from the Murray River. As a musician and composer, Kim’s catalogue of compositions ranges from acoustic piano solos to large scale electronic and multimedia performance art pieces. Her most recent major works Riverlife and Elements both focus on environmental stewardship, climate change and water issues in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Kim is Artistic Director for the 2013 Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival.

Major Sumner

Major Sumner

Major Sumner (or Uncle Moogy as he is known to many) is a Ngarrindjeri elder from the Coorong region at the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia. A teacher and mentor to many of his people, Major has for several years now been working to revive ceremonial journeys (or Ringbalin in the Ngarrindjeri language) along vast stretches of the Murray and Darling rivers, to summon the river spirits and encourage the return of freshwater to depleted and damaged country.

Drawing together different Aboriginal peoples from along the rivers, the Ringbalin have become a powerful representation of Indigenous interests across the Murray-Darling Basin.

Vic McEwan
Tipping Point project, Narrandera old brewery
Tipping Point projection,
Narrandera

Vic McEwan

Vic McEwan is one half of the Cad Factory, a dynamic artist-run space located in the Riverina region of New South Wales. Cad Factory develops and presents an ambitious range of projects in diverse creative media.

For One River, Vic and Sarah McEwan have developed a project called Tipping Point, exploring the interconnectedness of lives and places across the Murray-Darling Basin. The climax of Tipping Point was a projection and installation event using the ruins of an historic brewery at Narrandera.

John Shortis

John Shortis

John Shortis writes songs and scripts, plays keyboard instruments and spends many hours reading newspapers and delving into libraries and archives. For One River, John has researched historic songs and poems about rivers and towns across the Murray-Darling Basin. He's also explored Canberra's place in the Basin to produce an original work for performance with Moya Simpson, a large choir, a ukulele ensemble and Canberra's Aspen Island bell-ringers.

Bill 'Swampy' Marsh

Bill Marsh

Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh is a celebrated author, storyteller, performer and playwright, best known for his popular collections of Great Australian Stories focused on various aspects of outback life.

For One River, Bill has developed a compelling series of ‘first-voice’ stories recording diverse perspectives from people with lifelong connections to the Coorong and Murray Lakes region of South Australia, presented as part of a multi-faceted project called Alluvial Connections.

Carmel Wallace
Lake Suite
Lake Suite installation.

Carmel Wallace

Carmel Wallace’s creative practice is focused on a multidisciplinary exploration of place and its ramifications for environmental awareness and ethics.

Carmel creates sculpture, installations, prints, drawings, artist’s books and large-scale public artworks, often through collaborative relationships with other artists and local communities.

For One River, Carmel has created a work called Lake Suite, a visual and musical interpretation of life around lakes Mungo, Hattah and Hawthorn in northwest Victoria and southwest New South Wales.

Jude Roberts
Unravelling the Maranoa
The creation of Unravelling the Maranoa.

Jude Roberts

Jude Roberts is a visual artist whose work is often informed by a preoccupation with the ever-changing landscapes and water courses of the Murray-Darling Basin and the Great Artesian Basin.

Currently based in Brisbane, Jude lived for many years on a pastoral property near Mitchell in western Queensland, where she worked on her project called Unravelling the Maranoa for One River. Jude's large-scale works on paper were created through soaking and direct physical contact with sites along the Maranoa River and its tributaries, and informed by conversation and interactions with a diverse range of people across the region.

Andrew Hull
Notes on a river
Notes on a River scene, 6 July 2013.

Andrew Hull

Andrew Hull is a prolific artist, news columnist, poet, songwriter and photographer, based in Bourke in western New South Wales.

For One River, Andrew has undertaken an ambitious project called Notes on a River, capturing stories from remote communities across the upper catchment of the Darling River.

He has been involved in several creative teaching and community-based arts projects in outback New South Wales and Western Australia.