Abbotsleigh School for Girls, NSW
Toilet Doors, 2009
Abbotsleigh is a private girls' school with junior and senior campuses located on Sydney's north shore. As a metropolitan, single-sex private school, it reflected one element of the broad education sector that we wish Red Room Education to appeal to.
Abbotsleigh Schools for Girls was one of the first schools to work with the new Toilet Doors learning resource in the Red Room Education program. Year 9 students from across General and GAT English classes met with poet Anna Kerdijk Nicholson for the second time. Kerdijk Nicholson made her first visit in late August; and in September she held an online workshop with a core group of students. In November, an "Avid Poetry Group", drawn from different social and class circles within the year, responded to Macquarie Fields High School's "epic poem" to create a new collaborative work. Kerdijk Nicholson guided the process, which was read by the Avid girls to their peers and families at a "Celebrating Year 9" service.
The students loosely interpreted the Toilet Doors poem poster concept by creating posters of their work illustrated by fellow students, allowing collaborative response and exchange to take place. The students created a Powerpoint text and graphic version of their poems for presentation to the school, and posters of selected poems were exhibited for the local community at Next Chapter Books in Wahroonga in October 2009.
The collaborative epic poem was created by alternating lines posted by each school on their shared blog, with Kerdijk Nicholson and Lachlan Brown helping to shape the work through a virtual conference.
Anna Kerdijk Nicholson's first book of poetry, The Bundanon Cantos (Five Islands Press, 2003) was mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Books of 2003. Also in that year, the Australia Council for the Arts awarded Anna funding to write a poetry manuscript on appropriation, through the eyes of Captain Cook. This latest work, Possession, was released in 2010 by Five Islands Press.
She featured on Red Room Radio in 2003 and 2006, starring in the literary TV series ‘The Wordshed’. Anna is also a Sydney based lawyer.
Listen to the interview with Anna and hear her read the poem written for Red Room Remains - 'Sustainable Sydney' project.
Anna's poems are also featured on our free app, The Disappearing.