Local festival’s head start in digital world

By Meg Hill

Across the world festivals, businesses and workplaces are moving their operations online.  But some were more prepared than others.

While most festival directors have had to issue sorry statements of cancellations, the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) announced in early April that this year’s festival – which is usually held across the CBD and surrounds – would go ahead.

Years of running the EWF’s Digital Writers’ Festival and EWF digital stream had stood the festival in good stead and the team were confident to move the festival online – scheduling it for June 16 – June 23.

EWF artistic director Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh said it was important the festival continued to develop and promote Australia’s new writing talent and create platforms for connecting writing communities and their audiences.

“We are excited to be able to move forward with an online festival, as we feel that now – more than ever – it is vitally important to provide platforms for art and artists, and to also provide inspiration and opportunities to our audiences,” she said.

“A digital festival is a very different beast to a live festival, particularly in the literary sector, but it is an exciting one. Digital story telling is rich and extends beyond a lot of barriers in terms of both access and imagination.”

She also said that EWF had learnt through the Digital Writers’ Festival that being effective in an online festival didn’t have to be overly complicated or overwhelming.

“We are familiar with trying out new platforms, technologies and expressions and are constantly questioning and challenging our programming and production.”

“This has made us especially agile in this time and space. I think above everything else, the experience of having run the Digital Writers’ Festival has equipped us with the knowledge that this can work and the confidence that it will work well.” 

Writers Alistair Baldwin, Bridget Caldwell, Jamie Marina Lau and Panda Wong will feature in the full online program launch on June 2, speaking about the times they found (or failed to find) connection.

Alistair Baldwin, a writer and comedian who lives in Southbank and works for multiple television shows produced by the ABC, featured in CBD News’ sister publication Southbank News’ June 2019 edition.

The full program will be announced in early June •

For more information visit emergingwritersfestival.com.au

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