The future needs imagining before it can become real. With the inimitable Candy Bowers leading the charge, steel yourself for Melbourne’s finest and fiercest as they share their manifestos for change through words, bodies and music: from female leadership and the legacy of Elders to the gender pay gap and the politics of privilege.
Candy Bowers, Host/ Collaborator
Candy Bowers is a passionate activist, writer, comedian, playwright and budding filmmaker. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of contemporary performance that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming and earned her the 2018 Geoffrey Milne- Green Room Award for outstanding contribution to Independent Theatre. She has achieved extraordinary critical and popular acclaim worldwide for her original works for stage including Hot Brown Honey, Who’s That Chik?, Australian Booty, MC Platypus & Queen Koala’s Hip Hop Jamboree, Sista She and One The Bear- A Fairytale for the Hip Hop Generation. She has featured on the small screen in “Get Krack!n” and as a contributor on “Tonightly” with Tom Ballard for the ABC. She’s been published in The Lifted Brow, SBS Voices, Junkee and PerilMag, Yours Truly- Women of Letters (Penguin), She’s Having A Laugh (Affirm), Queerstories and Growing up African in Australia (Hachette). Candy is one of the 2019 recipients of the Australians In Film/ Screen Australia LA Mentorship Program, working on Blackish with showrunner Peter Saji and she has landed her first independent feature film with Robert Connolly’s Arena Media.
Akec Makur Chuot, Multicultural Development Officer- Female Talent and Promotion Victoria and VFLW Player
Akec Makur Chuot is a South Sudanese former AFLW player and Richmond FC VFLW player. She also works for AFL Victoria as a multicultural development officer- Talent and Promotion Victoria. She was raised by her single mother in a family of seven and for twelve years they lived in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Alice Pung, Writer/ Lawyer
Alice Pung is a writer and lawyer who loves teaching. Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as the United States, and she has taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80 in Australia, China and the States. Alice is also an Ambassador for the 100 Story Building Projects, a social enterprise which helps promote literature and literacy skills to young people in the Western suburbs.
Faye Bendrups, VICSES Volunteer Controller
Faye is a VICSES volunteer Controller with extensive operational experience, including as an Operations Officer, Safety Officer, Staging Area Manager and Base Camp Manager for numerous fire support deployments. She is the Secretary (formerly Chair) of the Victoria SES Volunteers Association and serves on various local, state and national EM reference groups. She has a Cert IV in Frontline Management, received an Emergency Services Foundation scholarship for research into earthquake and tsunami response in Peru, and is recipient of the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champion Award for Leadership
Jamaica, Rapper/ Writer
Jamaica is a Sydney-based artist, rapper and writer – descending from Maori (Ngapuhi/Tainui) and Samoan lineage. Spiritually entwined with Hokianga & Waikato, fueling the inner creativity to shine. “I’m always allowing real life experience and overcoming to constantly motivate my work”. Jamaica brings the fire through a uniquely flavoured fresh twist of rap paired with a sexy, fierce, determined image. The up and coming.
Jess Knight, Writer/Performer
Jessica Knight is a Melbourne based writer/performer and conflicted heathen. She is the recipient of a Creative Partnerships grant (2014) Besen Family Play Writing Fellowship (2017) Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship (2017 and a Creative Victoria’s VicArts Grants funding program (2018). Jessica is the author of three zines: Tongue Between Teeth, WHITE AND RED CELLS and All The Pretty People And A Fussy Little Sick. Her writing has been published in The Victorian Writer magazine, Meanjin, SCUM Mag and Archer Magazine. Jessica’s key interests are how the personal and political intersect.
Lay the Mystic, Artist/ Lyrical Poet
A mystic is a truth seeker and Lay seeks answers in emotions, motions and peripheral noise. Lay the Mystic is a lyrical poet, musician and performance installation artist based in Birraranga (Melbourne). Lay blends music, poetry and varying other artistic mediums to create a performance space that is both magnetic and utterly unique. Reaffirming the opinion that we are defining the cultures we are born into by simply existing, Lay interrogates his position within that, publicly, with performance. His current works explore what it means to be a queer, trans, femme-boy of Tongan and Lebanese descent, and learning his ancestors through his body.
Lil’ Mama (Emma Edwardes), Dancer/Performer/Working Mum/Life Coach
For six years I have grown from being a casual class dance student to a performer with Jungle City Studios in Brunswick, performing the style of Dancehall. I have performed at many events in my dance group however April this year was the first time I performed on my own in the Australian National Dancehall Queen Competition 2019. I came third out of an amazing group of talented performers. My piece that I am performing at the Work It: New Manifestos event is dedicated to all women out there who have to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities that life throws at them. I have an 18 month old son and I wanted to create a dance piece that celebrates this amazing journey of being a mum but also acknowledges the craziness and business of everyday life juggling multiple roles of mother, wife, career woman etc. I wanted to show all the amazing women out there to never neglect and hide away your inner queen…own your power!
Maude Davey, Performer/ Director
Maude Davey is an award-winning actor working across theatre, variety, film and television. She also writes, directs and teaches. As one of the core performers in Finucane & Smith’s phenomenal The Burlesque Hour/Glory Box she has performed nationally and internationally, and her autobiographical retrospective, My Life in the Nude has been performed to acclaim all over Australia. Her contemporary variety show Retro Futurismus, created with Anni Davey, Gabi Barton, Anna Lumb and Teresa Blake has toured to Sydney, Darwin, Western Australia and Brisbane and was nominated for five Green Room Awards in 2016.
Pilepileta (Sheree Stewart), Midwife/ Koori Health Worker/ Performer
Pilepileta (Sheree Stewart) is a proud Wergaia woman from the red dust and stark blue sky of Mallee Victoria. She is a registered midwife, regularly sitting in the space between life, death, past, present, future. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, including those who are pregnant and incarcerated is where Pilepileta focuses her time and space to create change. To stand alongside and support mob to move forward in the lives with healing, strength, resilience and fierceness is the way Pilepileta believes we can create something beautiful and powerful for generations to come.
Simona Castricum, Musician/ Architecture Academic
Simona Castricum is musician, designer and architecture academic from Melbourne. As an educator and PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, her work explores gender nonconforming and queer intersections in architecture, the city and public space. Simona is one of Melbourne’s unique underground live music performers; both as a solo artist and one half of the duo SaD. She is a community radio broadcaster on PBS FM and is active in trans and gender diverse advocacy in music and the built environment.
Speaks thru the songs of others.