Six (more) inspiring Gold Coast women | be bold for change

Musicians, artists, activists and more. When it comes to Gold Coast movers and shakers, look no further than the city’s women, cause they’ve got it covered. In honour of International Women’s Day, we took a closer look at the six of the city’s boldest and brightest.

AustenAusten, musician

Austen won’t be completely unknown to Blank GC readers. The young songstress – a graduate of Griffith University’s Bachelor of Popular Music has had triple j airplay, toured Australia, released two singles and hit festivals such as Jungle Love with fervour. Her latest track Faded has more than 300,000 Spotify streams and gained acclaim from Australian tastemakers like us (oh and Pilerats, Project U and AAABackstage). Darkside is Austen’s new single and despite her digital success (and relative youth), Austen has come to terms with the importance of connecting with her audience while acknowledging most of her generation is connected via social media.

“The best way to connect with fans is definitely at shows,” she said. And lucky for you there’s two options for seeing her this month. She’s at Cooly Hotel on 12 March and at Varsity Daze for Bleach* Festival on 31 March. Read her full story here.

Marj OsborneMarj Osborne, food writer

Food writer and teacher-librarian may seem like an unlikely double-barreled existence, but those activities encompass two of Marj’s ‘consuming’ passions: food and literature. And we join her in celebrating both as an integral part of Gold Coast’s growing cultural scene. As well as giving her time to write for Blank Gold Coast (from the very first edition, might I add), Marj has also had voluntary roles that include Chair of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (who manage the Australian Children’s Laureate), National President of The Children’s Book Council of Australia, Advisor for 2012: National Year of Reading, Judge for Nestle Write Around Australia and the Queensland Readers’ Cup, a role she still holds.

But you’ll know her best as a freelance food and travel writer. She runs the city’s premiere, independent food website – Good Food Gold Coast and as well as writing for Blank she’s contracted to write both More Gold Coast, and Gold Coast Tourism and her work has been published by Café Culture, Sunday Telegraph, Cove magazine and on the international site FoodieHub.TV.

Read Marj’s food reviews here.

Tracey Cooper-LaveryTracy Cooper-Lavery, gallery director Gold Coast City Gallery

In 1992, a young Tracy Cooper-Lavery took on the role of curator at the Gold Coast City Gallery. In 2000, she moved to the position of Senior Curator at the Bendigo Art Gallery, one of Australia’s most well-respected regional galleries, before ending up at Rockhampton’s Regional Gallery, where under her watch audiences tripled and sponsorship increased dramatically. In April of 2016, The Gold Coast City Gallery was to again welcome back its prodigal daughter, this time as the gallery’s director.

“In some ways it feels a bit surreal to be coming back to the Gold Coast; like I’ve come full-circle,” Tracy described at the time. With the development of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct underway, it couldn’t be a more exciting time for fresh blood at the Gallery, which most recently has played host to the immensely popular Signs of the Time exhibition. Cooper-Lavery, who holds a Masters in Creative Arts from James Cook University as well as a post-graduate degree in Museum Studies and a Bachelor of Visual Arts, has curated numerous exhibitions on Australian and international art and was instrumental in presenting high-profile international exhibitions. She was appointed President of the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland in 2014 and was recently selected as a Board Member of Museums & Galleries Queensland. You can see what she’s been up to on the gallery’s website.

Libby harwardLibby Harward, artist

Enter The Map is a new exhibition at The Walls which runs 4 – 18 March with a focus on three new maps of the city by local artists. Those artists were charged with interpreting the meaning of place in terms of their own life and experience.  One of those artists is Libby Harward. A woman of Ngugi and Quandamooka heritage, Libby shares First Nation’s cultural ways of knowing and moving through Country. In 2015 Libby undertook a residency at The Walls, and her work for Enter The Map follows from that experience of investigating place as well as her exploration of Traditional language at the Indigenous Artists Camp at South Stradbroke Island.

In this project, Libby is working with the Yugambeh word ‘kunga’ which means to both call out and to listen. Libby’s map involves the spectator exploring sightlines from points along Tallebudgera Creek to Wollumbin (Mt Warning) and Jellurgal (Burleigh Headland).

You can see Libby’s work in Enter The Map, which runs until 18 March at The Walls, Miami.

Terri Lew - LampTerri Lew, gallery director 19Karen

“I have this gallery, I’m not a quitter.” So said 19Karen gallery director Terri Lew, when Blank GC interviewed her late last year. And it really sums up the attitude of this self-starter. Running since 2008, 19Karen is one of the Gold Coast’s best secrets. The Mermaid Beach gallery deals with both international and local artists, but the main thread running through the art that it produces is generally cutting-edge stuff that other galleries are to afraid to take on. Not Terri, however.

“A lot of commercial galleries will not take an emerging artist who’s had no sales record or any exhibitions or art prize on their CV, it’s too risky,” Terri said. Being unafraid to take risks has paid off for Terri, who has gradually increased the profile of the gallery amongst the international art community and created a space where artists feel at home. 19Karen was one of the first – if not the first – gallery in Australia to have originally been a warehouse, a move which has now become quite a trend in art circles. Terri has a simple message for Gold Coast art lovers. “Just come, and be blown away.”

Discover more about the gallery on its website.

Hannah DuncanHannah Duncan, student

Growing up in a family that included Australia’s most prominent Indigenous land rights activist, it is little wonder Hannah Duncan has set her sights on a career advocating for the rights of others. The 21-year-old granddaughter of the late Eddie Mabo is already well on her way to achieving her ultimate ambition, after graduating from Bond University. Hannah has just completed a Bachelor of Laws and is now embarking on her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, also at Bond University, which is the next step in becoming a practising lawyer. She said she aspired to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and is already well on her way, beginning a placement at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane.

“I like the area of public law and the formation of the Tribunal, with its ability to help people,” said Hannah. “I’m excited and nervous to see what is ahead but I am confident that if I work hard I will get where I need to be, and achieve my ultimate goal of making a difference.”

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Blank is managed entirely by women and we acknowledge the incredible contribution they make – not just to us, but to the city’s growing cultural heart.

The theme for International Women’s Day is #beboldforchange, join us in taking bold action to make sure women have a voice and are recognised for the incredible contribution they make every single day.


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