Artist's residency promises rhyme and reflection

7 May 2014

Award-winning Indigenous poet and writer Ali Cobby Eckermann has described her new artistic residency at the University of Sydney as "beyond my wildest dreams".

As the 2014 Artist in Residence (AiR) in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Cobby Eckermann will participate in a series of readings, talks and workshops. She is relishing the chance to bring the culture of the Yankunytjatjara and Kokatha peoples to students, staff, alumni and friends of the university.

"I think the offer of this residency is a little beyond my wildest dreams, because I still consider myself a grassroots writer," she said.

"I've come from a different university of the desert and trees. It will be interesting to see if I can bring that atmosphere into a walled environment."

Professor Robyn Ewing, Acting ProDean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, said Cobby Eckermann brings a wealth of knowledge to the faculty.

"The faculty is indeed privileged to be welcoming Ali Cobby Eckermann as our first Indigenous Artist in Residence. We are delighted that Ali will share her understandings and expertise in a range of conversations, seminars and workshops over the next three weeks," she said.

Further highlights of the 2014 AiR program include Cobby Eckermann featuring in an in-conversation event on May 28 about The Stolen Generations with journalist and human rights advocate Jeff McMullen for National Reconciliation Week, and participating in Turning The Tide at the Sydney Writers' Festival with historian Henry Reynolds and author Anita Heiss.

Cobby Eckermann has become an important voice in Indigenous literature since the publication of her first book of poetry, little bit long time, in 2009. Poems such as Intervention Payback and I Tell Ya True give creative voice to the collective experience of Indigenous people.

Cobby Eckermann anticipates her residency will be a chance to educate and inform people about Indigenous stories and experiences. "I think an educated, well-meaning person shouldn't be afraid to have a look at other people's truth," she said.

This is the fourth year of the AiR program at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, which highlights the importance of the arts and creativity in education. Previous Artists-in-Residence were Libby Gleeson, Nadia Wheatley, Ken Searle, and Andrew Upton.

Media enquiries: Luke O'Neill, (02) 9114 1961, 0481 012 600,