Q&A with Adelaide Fisher, EWF15 Creative Producer

Else Fitzgerald  

Ever thought you’d like to be part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival team? Here’s your chance! We are on the lookout for the next round of amazing individuals to join us as Creative Producers for EWF 2016. We spoke to Adelaide Fisher, one of our fantastic Creative Producers from EWF15, about what it was like to be a part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

How did you find the experience of being a Creative Producer?

Lots of the time internships can be just about picking up administrative slack, and it can be hard to convince people to let you do the hard stuff – managing negotiations and relationships, coordinating staff, liaising with artists and troubleshooting when things go wrong. EWF gives you real responsibility and that responsibility is exhilarating. You are encouraged to make creative choices about the content of your events and really take ownership. The events that you program are inspiring and rewarding and well attended because you made them so! You can confidently and honestly say “I am a creative producer”.

What are some of the things you learnt in your time as an EWF Creative Producer?

One of the best things about working with EWF was Kate, Bec and Sam making me realise that everything can’t be perfect on a festival of this scale. That’s not realistic. Being an excellent creative producer is more about learning to juggle multiple responsibilities, and troubleshoot as things come up. Because things WILL come up! And it’s more important to be able to deal with artists running late and suppliers falling through at the last minute than to hold yourself to an unrealistic ideal. Of course it’s great to aim for perfection but the job is most interesting when all your careful plans go wrong and you step in and just problem solve! It’s less of an internship and more of a crash-course in arts management! This internship is a way for you to have a chance to discover how great you are, to give others the chance to discover how great you are.

What were some of your highlights of the festival experience?

During my time working on the festival I felt so charged with ideas, thoughts and inspiration, and I could measure that by how much writing I was doing. Even though I was so busy, I was still writing so much!

Working with such a small team was invaluable, they really get to know you and you have the opportunity to take on challenges which wouldn’t be available to you in a bigger festival or organisation

Your fellow creative producers are such an important part of the experience too, because they are the future of the arts. You are forging connections right now that will be invaluable in the future.

I had a beautiful moment during Queer Tales – an LGBTQIA panel (which was one of the events I was most proud of – I want to say that I had the initial idea for this – Sam basically said we need three morning panel discussions – what are they gonna be? And I was like what about an LGBTQIA panel? And he said sure make it happen. So it was really my baby and having creative babies like that is one of the coolest thing about this internship)

So anyway, I had this moment during Queer Tales, where an audience member asked a question about how to encourage dialogue around LGBTQIA issues when there is a lot of fear about getting it wrong and saying the wrong thing. One of the artists on the panel who is also a radio host on Joy FM said that as a gay man, when he is interviewing a trans person for example, he will say on air to his guest, ‘if I get something wrong, use the wrong terminology or accidentally say or do something offensive, please tell me! I want you to correct me and I want all our listeners to hear you correct me.’ He explained the importance of giving people permission to correct us and being open to receiving this information. And I had this moment where I realised that we were doing real good for the real world right here.

What are you doing now, and how did the Creative Producer program help you get there?

I’m now working as the Executive Assistant & Memberships Administrator for Regional Arts Victoria. The experience of working as an EWF Creative Producer is so applicable to future positions; I have applied the skills that I developed at EWF to my new role at Regional Arts Victoria. The internship gave me so much confidence, so that I was able to go into the interview for my current role really feeling like I had something to offer. At the beginning of my EWF internship, Kate said that this should be our last internship, that it should be the stepping stone to paid work doing what we love. At the time, I was sceptical – my dream job seemed so far away. But now here I am thanks to EWF!!

Applications for our Creative Producer roles for EWF16 close Friday 18 December 2015. To apply download a job pack here.