How should artists and writers respond to the intersecting issues around climate change, water rights and refugees? Join Festival guest curator Ellen van Neerven as she talks to three visionaries about what motivates their work. Wiradjuri woman Hannah Donnelly’s innovative work looks at Indigenous responses to climate change. Author of the popular Whale Rider and Maori Boy, Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished writers. In her award-winning book Overturning aqua nullius Virginia Marshall argues that Aboriginal water rights require legal recognition as property rights.

Supported by The Copyright Agency.

Curated by Ellen van Neervan. 

Hannah Donnelly (Australian)

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Hannah Donnelly is a writer and the creator of Sovereign Trax. Her work experiments with future tense, speculative fiction and Indigenous responses to climate trauma through stories of cultural flows and water. Sovereign Trax is an online platform promoting First Nations music through energising decolonisation conversations and community in music. Hannah is currently working at Next Wave as an associate producer.

Virginia Marshall (Australian)

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Dr Virginia Marshall is the first Aboriginal woman to gain a PhD in Law from Macquarie University, winning the 2015 Stanner Award for her doctoral thesis. Virginia has completed six degrees encompassing law, sociology, communications, and vocational education. Virginia has worked as a civil and criminal lawyer, an associate to Federal Court of Australia judges, a senior legal officer with the Australian Law Reform Commission, a trainer to legal professionals, and as principal solicitor of her own legal firm.

Ellen van Neerven (Australian)

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Ellen van Neerven is a Yugambeh woman from South East Queensland. She is the author of Comfort Food and Heat and Light which won the 2013 David Unaipon Award, the 2015 Dobbie Award and the 2016 NSW Premiers Literary Awards Indigenous Writer's Prize.