Creative connectors urge women to value skills

Women need to value creative skills: QRRRWN high tea message


Ekka 2019 News
Panelists at the high tea, led by MC Nicole Bond, who had just flown in from Boston in the US.

Panelists at the high tea, led by MC Nicole Bond, who had just flown in from Boston in the US.

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"Build a longer table, not a higher fence" - this comment by well-known Queensland photographer Edwina Robertson was one of the offerings from four talented speakers sharing insights in how to connect through creativity at the annual Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network high tea in Brisbane.

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"Build a longer table, not a higher fence" - this comment by well-known Queensland photographer Edwina Robertson was one of the offerings from four talented speakers sharing insights in how to connect through creativity at the annual Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network high tea in Brisbane.

Together with former Australian newspaper reporter, now Country Style columnist Annabelle Hickson; West Australian Bec Bignall, the creator of freelance promotional platform Rural Room; and branding and marketing with an agricultural perspective business owner, Charlotte Durack, Ms Robertson spoke about the development of relationships as a way to bridge city-country gaps in understanding.

She told the crowded Ithaca auditorium in Brisbane's City Hall that to help people connect, it was important to humanise a problem by putting a person behind an issue.

Using her two social media 'passion projects', Wander of the West and One Bucket as examples, she said she'd found city people did care about rural issues but were unsure about how to best connect.

"They are just not told enough about what happens in the bush," she said.

Related: Creative connections at QRRRWN High Tea

Ms Bignall, one of the Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence, said story-telling was part of the bush's culture, which she was working with through reverse engineering, by getting skilled in the city and bringing that knowledge back.

"We don't go over to the city side of the bridge enough," she said.

"Our story is a connection; it doesn't need to be a social media picture.

"Go calmly - city people are interested but they've got no access."

She also suggested that 'cross-pollination' was needed, describing social media as an echo chamber a lot of the time and urging people not to just go out to their own network all the time.

Ms Bignall cautioned against thinking social media was always the answer, reminding people their digital footprint was there forever.

Strong relationships at the heart of work value

Building strong relationships with businesses is one way women can finally start being paid properly for the work they are contributing, work that is often undervalued as 'arty'.

How women can combine their desire to advocate for rural Australia, and their professional abilities, with society's assumption that it will be free, was one of the curly questions faced by the QRRRWN high tea panel in Brisbane.

Charlotte Durack, the owner of Agri Creative, said women themselves were not great at putting a value on their skills.

"Think about the problem you are solving and the value it will have on lives, and feel comfortable with that," she suggested. "Business will pay us if they value what we offer, and we have to build relations to do that."

According to Annabelle Hickson, who married to a Tenterfield pecan farmer, became a published florist, and co-hosts the Dispatch to a Friend podcast, she gets leaned on all the time.

"My criteria for a job is that it has to meet two of the following - be fun, interesting and make money. Plus in small rural communities, it has to benefit the community."

Bec Bignall suggested flipping the issue.

"In film and TV there is funding for city organisations to go to the regions but the money stays in the city.

"I want to develop points for stringers to monetise their story. There should be pathways."

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