This series of public events celebrating the rich diversity of writing at RMIT features award-winning writers in conversation, innovative performative events, talks from leading international writers and RMIT Adjunct Professors, as well as spoken word events in partnership with Melbourne’s diverse writers and artists. All events are free and provide an opportunity to mingle and chat over refreshments before and after. Present Tense is co-presented by RMIT Writing and Publishing and the University’s non/fictionLab research group. The series home is the Lecture Theatre in RMIT’s Design Hub.
Since 2010, writers and editors from RMIT have been collaborating with STREAT, a social enterprise who offer disadvantaged youth aged 16-25 a supported pathway from the street to a sustainable livelihood. STORIES MATTER and DISRUPT investigate the connection between stories, belonging and place, and through applied creative writing create a meaningful sense of belonging and interrelatedness through story. Participants from STREAT’s training program work side by side with writers, artists and designers to share stories that have been lived, and stories of imagined futures. In 2015 creative writing workshops resulted in a collection of stories, housed on a map of Melbourne’s CBD by artist Alex Hotchin, which was printed on Christmas wrapping paper used by shoppers. In 2019 a series of workshops inspired by ‘story litter’ from the city’s streets led to the creation of a large-scale map featured as a public exhibition as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week.
The Visiting Poets Program welcomes two poets-in-residence each year to RMIT’s City Campus: a First Nations poet by invitation; and a regional poet selected from a national, open call-out. The program is committed to making opportunities for diverse poets and poetics to utilise the resources of RMIT as a platform for urban networking, creative development, and performance. The residents' events and activities are open to the public. Guests of the program include Amanda Stewart, Natalie Harkin, Stuart Cooke, Lionel Fogarty, Ellen van Neerven, Andy Jackson, Mindy Gill and Ali Cobby Eckermann.
Women Writers in the City supports writers of excellence to research and create new work through residencies, mentorships and funding. Established and emerging writers participate in public readings and talks exploring what it means to be a woman writer in the city of Melbourne. Participating writers are offered residencies at RMIT's Urban Writing House, and Mccraith House in Dromana, with public events that invite writers, readers, students, researchers, and the community to explore craft, art, living, thinking and writing. Past participants have included Sophie Cunningham, Emily Bitto, Kat Clarke, Ellena Savage, and Rebecca Harkins-Cross.
Led by RMIT poet and creative writing lecturer Jessica Wilkinson, the Poetic Portraits project captures the lives of Australian Elders and Seniors through poetry. Funded jointly by Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria, and in collaboration with writers from Deakin, Monash and Melbourne Universities, this project engages with and appreciates the lives of Australian Elders/Seniors by providing enduring snapshots of their memories through poetry. The project celebrates the value that Seniors/Elders bring to our communities, showcasing individual life stories and recognising the vital connection elderly members of the community make between past and future generations. Visual artist Sierra McManus will also create watercolour impressions of each subject, which will accompany the poems in a published book, to be produced by RMIT student-led publishing house.
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.