By Emma Townsend
In Episode 5 of Creativity Talks, Emma Townsend talks to Dr Sarah Woodland, Dean’s Research Fellow at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne. A researcher, practitioner and educator in applied theatre and participatory arts, Dr Woodland's experience spans more than 25 years in Australia and the United Kingdom. Her work centres on engaging communities and groups from diverse cultural and social backgrounds, and those with experience of the criminal justice system. The episode focuses on Dr Woodland’s research in audio drama and soundscapes in women’s prisons.
In Part 1, Dr Woodland provides an overview of her research. This podcast section contains excerpts from Listening to Country, an original soundscape created with women in Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and produced by Leah Barclay. Excerpts of this soundscape are heard throughout the podcast; a lengthier section can be found towards the bottom of this webpage.
Part 2 focuses on Daughters of the Floating Brothel, an audio drama project that explores the experience of women’s prisons through the prism of history. Further information about this project, including an edited version of the docudrama, is located here.
Part 3 also explores the Daughters of the Floating Brothel project; however, it considers the significance of a particularly compelling moment centred on the creation of Foley effects and sound's aesthetic potential in an institutional space.
Part 4 delves into the Lowitja Institute soundscape project Listening to Country and the increasing presence of indigenous knowledges within Dr Woodland’s work. In this section, Dr Woodland mentions dadirri, a traditional deep listening and still awareness practice brought to prominence by Aboriginal educator, activist and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr. The Miriam-Rose Foundation’s website contains a wonderful reflection by Dr Ungunmerr about dadirri. It can be found here.
In the final part of this podcast, Dr Woodland discusses her current role at the University of Melbourne leading the project 'Performing Justice: Arts-Led Approaches to Cultural Rights and Wellbeing in Prison' and how this research draws on creativity to foster wellbeing. Dr Woodland also talks about her future research directions.
Sections from the original soundscape Listening to Country are heard throughout the episode. Listening to Country was created with women in Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and produced by Leah Barclay. Here’s an uninterrupted excerpt for your interest, enjoyment and relaxation.
Header image: Hydrophones record the sound of waves, Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Country, Sunshine Coast. Image credit: Leah Barclay.
Main podcast thumbnail image: Leah Barclay recording in Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre. Image credit: Sarah Woodland.
Emma Townsend is a Research Assistant at the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative (CAWRI), University of Melbourne.