...and then we are ankle deep in sky
there is no up, no down,
the air no longer a ceiling
our arms flap for balance,
we are flying in the lake, swimming in sky,
there is no edge, just here.

~ from 'Kati Thanda' by Rachael Mead, The Disappearing

 

Vision

The Red Room Company's vision is to make poetry a meaningful part of everyday life. 

 

Mission

The Red Room Company creates unusual and useful ways into poetry to enrich our lives. Our projects and learning programs collaborate with diverse communities, schools and correctional centres to make poetry accessible to all, especially those who face the greatest barriers to creative opportunities.

 

History

Founded by Johanna Featherstone in 2003, The Red Room Company is a not-for-profit that broadens experiences with poetry. By encouraging curiosity, creation, and participation across a range of forms and mediums including radio, live performance, installation, and digital initiatives we transform perceptions of poetry. The Red Room Company is Australia's principal poetry commissioning organisation, providing professional employment to a diversity of poets. Our public projects and education programs have provided professional employment and creative opportunities for more than 700 poets and over 10,000 students across Australia and beyond our shores.

 

View The Red Room Company's 2014 Annual Report.

Our Staff

Artistic Director

Johanna Featherstone

Johanna established The Red Room Company in 2003.  Her poetry has featured in journals such as Quadrant, and the Best Australian Poems. In 2006 she created a series of literary TV shows, The Wordshed, in partnership with The University of Western Sydney where she is a research associate. Johanna is an honorary associate of The University of Sydney's School of Letters Arts and Media. Johanna received a fellowship from the St James Ethics Center in 2008. Her chapbook Felt was released in 2010 by Vagabond Press

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2003.

Executive Director

Tamryn Bennett

Dr. Tamryn Bennett is The Red Room Company's Executive Director. She has a PhD in Literature from the University of New South Wales where she has also taught Creative Writing. Tamryn has designed and delivered poetry workshops for Artspace and El Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico. Her artists books, illustrations and comics poetry have been exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne, Miami and Mexico. Her poetry and essays have been published in Five BellsThe Drunken BoatMascara Literary ReviewTHEthe Poetry, Cordite, English in Australia, ImageText and various academic publications.

External Relations

Sally Marwood

Sally Marwood has a wide range of experience embracing external relations, client and stakeholder relations, development and sponsorship, marketing, corporate communications and design projects. Her work has taken her to London as head of Marketing, Media and Sponsorship for the Design Council, in Sydney as a Manager in 'Look of the City' and as Marketing and Development Manager for the National Art School and more recetnly as External Relations Manager at UNSW Art & Design.


Head of Creative Learning

Lilly Blue

Lilly Blue is Head of Creative Learning at The Red Room Company. She is a visual artist and educator with a background in physical performance, installation and community arts. She has worked Internationally delivering arts residencies, professional development programs, creative commissions and exhibitions, as well as designing arts programming for young audiences driven by a rigorous studio practice. Together with dancer Joanna Pollitt she is the Creative Director of BIG Kids Magazine, an Australian contemporary arts publication that features the work of children and artists side by side and promotes the arts as an everyday way of seeing and responding to the world. 

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Producer - Creative Programs

Micheal Do

Micheal is producing The Disappearing 2.0, a web-based portal of poems that maps traces and spaces. Micheal is a visual-arts curator and program producer based in Western Sydney. He currently holds roles across The Red Room Company, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. 

His passion for the arts and community engagement has taken him across a number of roles at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Liverpool City Library, University of New South Wales Art + Design, Bonhams Auctioneers Australia, Arc UNSW and Kudos Gallery. 

Content Manager

Kristy Wan

Kristy Wan is the content manager, resident tea junkie, and oxford comma enthusiast at The Red Room Company. She also accepts the titles Lead No One Understands What I Do and End of Society Prophet. She is currently finishing her degree in Communications, majoring in Writing & Cultural Studies. Kristy is a fire twirler that dabbles in photography, poetry, and short stories.


Unlocked Producer

Rob Osborne

Rob Osborne is working with us on the Unlocked prison poetry program. His professional background includes teaching English in the secondary education sector, and Media, Communications and Digital Media Production in the tertiary sector with Corrective Services NSW as the Manager of the Audiovisual Production Unit. Rob was instrumental in developing and introducing the "Unlocked" poetry project and is a passionate believer in poetry's transformational potential. Since leaving a full time role in Corrective Services, Rob has undertaken PhD studies in the area of creative work in prison education.

Editor & Copywriter

Joel Scott

Joel Scott is The Red Room's Editor & Copywriter, looking after the website and Unlocked anthologies. His poetry has appeared, for example, in Overland, Heat, Southerly and Cordite.

Project Assistant

Andri Christofides

Andri is a Project Assistant at The Red Room Company. Originally from Cyprus, she moved to England to study English Literature and is now in Australia for her work experience year. Her interests in language, identity and community have led her to work in different multi-disciplinary art organisations, before she enthusiastically joined our Red Room Company team. 


Intern

Tess Ridgway

Rock pool poet and inner west explorer Tess likes writing about the brain, language and sea urchins. For a year she ran Mutts Poetry, a monthly event that gave poets an opportunity to share their poems and also to discuss established poetry and ideas. Recent recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree as an English Major. She has had poems published three times in Sydney University journals; Hermes and ARNA. Tess has also just begun an internship at the NSW Writers’ Centre.

Project Assistant

Melissa Swann

Melissa is currently finishing her first Arts degree, in English and Social & Cultural Analysis, at Western Sydney Univeristy. She has previously -and continues to- volunteer at various literary festivals and other events around Sydney. Melissa has a keen interest in editing and publishing as well as writing some of her own fiction and poetry. Her other interests include the performing arts, online entertainment and production, and live music.

Project Assistant

Winnie Dunn

Winnie Dunn is currently in her third year of studying a Bachelor of Arts Pathway to Secondary Teaching at Western Sydney University. She majors in English and Modern History. A sometimes blogger at winniereads.wordpress.com, she likes to spend most of her time reading books, people and shamelessly sharing a lavender-scented toy bear with her seven year old sister.

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Board of Directors

Bret Walker S.C.

Bret Walker S.C. is The Red Room Company's first ever Chairperson. He has practised as a barrister mainly in Sydney since 1979. His principal areas of advocacy and advice are public (Constitutional and administrative) law and commercial law. Appointed Senior Counsel in 1993. 


Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2010. 

 

Matthew McCarron

Matthew McCarron is a Partner of KPMG based in Sydney and specialises in providing transaction and strategic advisory services.  He has a diverse portfolio of clients which include high net wealth individuals, privately owned and family businesses, mid-cap private equity funds and not-for-profit entities.  Matthew has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of NSW and is a Chartered Accountant.


Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2008. 

Kiersten Fishburn

Kiersten Fishburn is the Director of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre leading the delivery of contemporary and engaging exhibitions, public programs, theatre, performance and community cultural development. Prior to that Kiersten was the Manager of Culture and Libraries for the City of Sydney. Kiersten also acted in the role of Director, City Engagement for the City of Sydney managing media, marketing, communications and events including Sydney New Years Eve. The diversity of the work reflects Kiersten's passion for supporting arts experiences at all levels, in a range of art forms and to diverse audiences.

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2012.


Mary Gillespie

Mary is a senior media professional with extensive experience across content, marketing and communications for digital and other media.

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2015.

Johanna Featherstone

Johanna established The Red Room Company in 2003.  Her poetry has featured in journals such as Quadrant, and the Best Australian Poems. In 2006 she created a series of literary TV shows, The Wordshed, in partnership with The University of Western Sydney where she is a research associate. Johanna is an honorary associate of The University of Sydney's School of Letters Arts and Media. Johanna received a fellowship from the St James Ethics Center in 2008. Her chapbook Felt was released in 2010 by Vagabond Press

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2003.

Judith Pini

Judith has been practising law since 1988.  She originally specialised in criminal defence litigation working in law firms in Brisbane and Melbourne and has since worked as in-house litigation counsel; first with AMP, then Multiplex and now with the Mirvac Group.   During this time Judith also worked for the UK financial services regulator in London, completed a Masters degree in Chinese and Vietnamese law and spent nearly 3 years with the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department with principal responsibility for the passage of anti-money laundering, counter terrorism financing and foreign bribery legislation. Judith is an avid reader of poetry which she finds the most nourishing form of literature.  

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2013. 


Patron

John B Fairfax AO

 

John B Fairfax AO began his career in 1961 as a cadet journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald, joining the Fairfax board in 1979. He is a Director of Marinya Capital and former Chairman of Rural Press. John is President of The Girls & Boys Brigade and an Honorary Vice President of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW. He has acted as Patron to The Red Room Company since 2008.