Aimée is a cultural producer, writer, and editor based in Brisbane. She has a long history of supporting and promoting community arts, working with industrial organisations, community orchestras, and state and national cultural producers – most recently as Public Programs Manager of Queensland Writers Centre (2013-2016), Festival Coordinator of National Young Writers’ Festival (2012-2013) and as part of the Program Advisory Committee of Emerging Writers Festival (2014-2015). Aimée has worked in various capacities with the QWC since 2009, mentoring in creative writing and cultural production. She is passionate about representation, access, innovation, and development of Australian stories.
She is creator of Whispers salon – a quarterly reading event showcasing emerging Queensland writers – and Queensland Script House – a craft and business development program for screenwriters.
She currently reviews fiction for Aurealis Magazine and has appeared at Gold Coast Film Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Bundaberg WriteFest, Brisbane Writers Festival and Digital Writers’ Festival talking books, publishing, digital futures and Queensland writing.
You ran the Natcon, Contact, in Brisbane earlier this year – what can you tell us about that experience?
So many feels! It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had in cultural and event development, particularly as we were effectively starting from scratch having not hosted a NatCon in Queensland for 10 years. We were fortunate to have so many talented people generously donate their time and expertise to shaping the event, and I found the NatCon audience to be really supportive of our team. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but the team did a hell of a job and I am so proud of our group of volunteers. What it did articulate for me was how much the fan community has changed since my first Con in 2009, particularly in Queensland. Each region’s community is vastly different to another, and no two fandoms are the same. There’s a lot going on in pop culture and fandom in Queensland, and it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to that community.
I understand you are finishing up in your role at the Queensland Writers Centre soon. What are some of your biggest takeaways from working there?
I learnt so much working at QWC. Writers Centres operates at the apex of arts, not-for-profit and community sectors, so the work is inherently different every day, the people you meet are so diverse, and you have to be passionate about what you’re doing because it is also one of the most thankless industries. I was fortunate in working with a truly exceptional team of producers, and participated in some incredible projects while I was there.
Some of the biggest takeaways were the relationships and friendships forged as a result, but what I learnt about being an arts practitioner was endlessly valuable.
- Never stop learning: the best and most successful artists I know are those that continue to challenge their craft and what they know about their artform. This industry is continuously changing and adapting, both in terms of how readers engage, what publishers want, and stylistically, so as an artist you are continually learning, and should be actively seeking new forms, mediums and modes to challenge yourself.
- The worst thing I’ve seen is writers who believe they have nothing to learn. Whether it’s editing, business models, marketing, public speaking, actively learn new skills. It can only ever help.
- Every writer’s definition of success is different: I’ve engaged with many writers at different stages of their process and at different levels of understanding. It doesn’t make anyone’s goal less valuable, but talking about writing is really managing artist expectations and translating desired outcomes into a process of actionable steps.
- Don’t be a dick: if nothing else, this is what I learnt. Everyone engages with their craft differently. Everyone needs different things, but no-one owes you anything. If you cannot be gracious or kind in your interactions with readers, publishers, other writers, hell, the woman who just answered the phone, then none of it matters, because no-one will want to engage with you or help you if you are a dick. So don’t be.
- Further to don’t be a dick: support yourself. The reality of this industry is it makes unlimited demands of your time, your intellectual property, and of your emotional and creative energy, so pick your battles wisely, be prepared to say no to opportunities or to people if it doesn’t feel right, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Can you tell us what are you working on at the moment that we might see in the next year or so?
That’s an interesting prospect! I’m currently working on some smaller projects for production studios, and I’ll be working on some screen projects in the immediate future. Nothing I can talk about publically just yet, but stay tuned!!
I’ve been working with creative collaborator Sophie Overett to redevelop our Lady Parts Podcast and expand into written criticism and events. It’s an exciting time to be discussing representation and access in screen, and we’ll be rolling out some new projects under that banner over the next few months.
I’ve also had a chance to do some of my own writing (shock, horror!) and reengage with my own creative process. It’s been awhile and I have to confess the tools are a bit rusty, but I’m excited to have the time to write!
What Australian work have you loved recently?
Working with so many writers and artists makes this such a hard choice!!
I really enjoyed Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins and am looking forward to reading the second in the series. I’m a big fan of the Kill You Dead Female Character, and Kim writes them so very well. I’m currently reading Orphancorp by Marlee Ward and have heart-eyes everywhere. She writes beautiful prose and such an interesting story. Will keep you posted!
On the art side, I’m ridiculously obsessed with the artwork of Belinda Morris and wish I could wallpaper my house in her current work.
(Due to life circumstances, Aimée couldn’t get her answers back in time for the 2016 Snapshot, but since she gave such interesting ones, I thought I’d share them as a blog interview instead🙂 )