Author residency to tackle teens and their connection with nature
  • Tuesday 30 June 2020
creative spaces, crows nest, artist residency

Juggling work, study, motherhood and family life while trying to write a book can be tricky, so for local author and educator Carly Garner, escaping to her Crows Nest residency on Chambers Island in Maroochydore is a blessing.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Creative Spaces program, Carly is enjoying a three-month residency to work on her new book.

Carly is an environmental advocate with 17 years’ experience in the non-government, community and education sectors and she is the founding director and teacher at Natureweavers Forest School.

Through this residency, Carly will explore the idea of teenagers in nature, parenting children in nature, place-based education, nature as mentor and friend, local wildspaces, rites of passage, indigenous considerations and how to make this accessible to all people.

“This dedicated writing space in the natural environment is ideal for my writing; many of my ponderings arise and are explored in wildspace,” Carly said.

“My years of experience have led me to understand that as children become adolescents, there is a change from the outdoor world to the indoor. There is a transition from the lovely, inner-world loneliness of early childhood to the externally-focussed, social world of peers.

“There is a separation from parents that is inevitable and appropriate. Their social world grows and becomes more important than spending sunset by the sea with mum, or climbing the Poinciana with dad. They spend more time inside, because that’s where their crew is, either in-person or on-tech.

“But these natural, human developmental processes don’t negate the need for a relationship with nature. I wonder if they even inflate it?

“Their engagement with nature has shifted, and their need for risk, relevance, autonomy – and for their mates to join them – has increased.

“I found that the sharing of my ponderings on the topic of teenagers in nature has been some of the most well received work I have ever done – and this has led to the development of my book.

“My vision is for the book to support teenagers, parents, teachers, mentors, community leaders, decision makers and other stakeholders.”

Community Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said providing appropriate spaces for artists to accelerate their practice was a key ‘call to action’ in the Sunshine Coast Arts Plan 2018-2038.

“The appeal from our local arts sector for more places to practice, connect and be more visible to the broader community has become even more critical in the COVID-19 environment and fortunately we’re seeing excellent engagement through Creative Spaces, both from artists looking for space and from people who have space to provide,” Cr Baberowski said.

“Providing space and opportunity for our artists, such as Carly Garner, to create locally on the Sunshine Coast will help grow our local arts sector and see more locally produced work shared with our community and beyond.

“I’m intrigued by Carly’s determination to better understand how to maintain a connection with natural surroundings throughout life, which is so important. I wish Carly all the best with her writing and look forward to reading her book in the future.”

Learn more about Carly Garner’s work

Find out more about the Crows Nest and Creative Spaces.

Creative Spaces Sunshine Coast is a place where artists can find affordable space to practice, exhibit, perform and collaborate, and where hosts can list space for free.

Creative Spaces is a key outcome of council’s Sunshine Coast Arts Plan 2018-2038.