Dillwynia Correctional Centre 2014
For the third time since the launch of the Unlocked pilot project, The Red Room Company has returned to Dillwynia Correction Centre on the outskirts of Western Sydney. As in the past, we worked with our long-time project developer, the ever-invaluable Noreen Pang. This time the workshops were run by Johanna Featherstone, with a special guest appearance by Nick Bryant-Smith.
The group here was a mix of first-time poets, poets returning to the craf, and long-time poets, who came together to form a supportive group of bold women. Regardless of whether they brought with them a suite of poems they had been working on for years, or were picking up a pen for the first time, the group took to writing poetry seriously and passionately, and built an ideal environment in which to do so.
This collection is very diverse in terms of subject matter and form. Working partly on the theme of the 'disappearing', in conjunction with the Red Room Company's new learning resource based on our 2012 app, there are many images of things, people and places that have vanished from the lives of these poets. There are snapshots of home, poems about and for lovers, several dreams of the places and experiences that for now are only present during sleep. The exercises carried out seem to have encouraged the students to reflect on the question of what poetry is, though unconventional poems which question their own status as poems.
Judging from the output of these poets, they certainly threw themselves into the project, and the process of writing poetry. This speaks once again to the value of the project for the students, and suggests that Unlocked is on the right track.
This Unlocked project was supported by the Department of Industry, The Australia Council's Community Partnerships, and Anne Kantor. We are extremely grateful for their support. Special thanks once again goes to Noreen Pang, for her assistance and professionalism in running the program, as well as in the editing process, and to Harinder Kaur.