In March 2023, we were thrilled to bring together an extraordinary cohort of female and gender-diverse musicians and environmental activists from around the country as part of our very first Sound Country Artists' Leadership Retreat.
Gathered on Spring Bay Mill on palawa Country in lutruwita/Tasmania, artists spent four days together to step up their role as leaders in enacting positive environmental change.
Participants included a wide range of artists Àine Tyrrell, Alice Skye, Angie McMahon, Alice Ivy, Beatrice of Haiku Hands, Eliza Hull, Kee'ahn, Kira Puru, Jess Ribeiro, Little Green, Milan Ring, MpathSoul, monnie, Moreton, Nix Gross, Simone Slattery of Bowerbird Collective and Thea Rossen.
Watch our video about the transformative retreat below.
The program co-designed by Green Music Australia and Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) explored modules focused on building capacity for artists to effect change.
Participants joined together to share stories, gain critical skills, and build community at the intersection of environment, climate, system change, and music. Artists gained insights and learnings from Green Music Australia’s Sound Country Green Artist Guide, aimed at educating musicians on how to green their practice and undertake practical climate action in their artistry.
Expert guests and leaders including Tracee Hutchison (GMA chair and veteran broadcaster), Nidala Barker (GMA board member, Djugun singer-songwriter), Rhoda Roberts AO (Bundjalung elder and revered arts producer), Sue Lewis, Asmaa Guedira (WELA) and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg (WELA), shared their experiences and provided guidance for artists to explore how they can accelerate their impact as leaders.
Through a range of interactive sessions, musicians explored concepts and ideas on how to become better allies and use their voices for the planet. Photo credit: Anna Brozek
“I feel like I have a lot of tools, drive and inspiration to use my music as activism and a platform to build community. [The retreat] has been really revitalising” said Kee’ahn, one of the participants.
Singer songwriter Áine Tyrrell agreed, “Everything was very safe. We could speak to truths and speak to the things we are all really passionate about changing.’”
“We came together on beautiful palawa land to learn and share about how we as musical artists can lead when it comes to the environment. I learnt so much through listening. Was such a beautiful week. Forever grateful to connect with these incredible people” said Eliza Hull, musician, writer, speaker and disability advocate.
“What we see now is that this isn’t just a climate or biodiversity crisis. This is absolutely a leadership crisis,” said Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Strategic Director at Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia. “If we want different outcomes on the key issues that matter to our communities, we need different leaders at the table, and that has to include women from all walks of life.”
Artists will now take their experience and learnings into their career where they can use their music and platform to advocate for change. Thank you to all the participants who made the retreat such a powerful success.
This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Graeme Wood Foundation, Lara Goodridge, Water Dragon Endowment, Tina Kothari, Worrowing Fund, Oranges & Sardines Foundation and many others.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share more stories from Sound Country.