Retracing the steps of the PhD journey, I come across memories of: reading with Indigenous writers in Sydney, meeting with an interviewing an esteemed-passed -away Indigenous actor, visiting a women’s dreaming camp with Aunty Anne Thomas, and typing whilst rocking a baby on my lap, and more.
The Phd was a massive quest, spanning three countries, three universities, four supervisors, the birth of three children, a year off for full time work, living in three states of Australia and my husband completing his PhD. I look back and wonder that it was ever completed.
The journey of the Phd included: conversations with artists, carvers, writers, actors, about how their creativity empowered them, travelling overseas and attending conferences where friends were made, including an international playwright’s conference as a delegate for Australia, and the getting of wisdom and courage.
Because I chose to interview, the thesis empowered me to have the courage to have conversations with many people I would possibly have been too shy to speak with otherwise. Some of the people I met even became mentors and have remained lifelong friends.
On that journey I met te Wahiri Heteraka (carver), Witi Ihimaera (author and opera librettist), Jennifer Martiniello (writer and glass artist), Anita Heiss (academic and later chick lit author and so much more), Ruby Langford Ginibi, (author), Anne Marshall, members of the Ella family from La Perouse, Bob Maza (actor, playwright) and later his daughters Lisa and Rachel, and several other interesting people such as the starting out and rising star actress Debbie Mailman, and the mother of Cathy Freeman Cecilia Barber, who I worked closely with on a committee.
There was wisdom gained in so many of those conversations and journeys that will remain with me in an empowering way always. The Phd was a journey of connecting to the Indigenous soul of this country where the gems of my journey included events like giving a tape of one of the women I interviewed to her family who treasured it when she passed away. They loved that recording and treasured it. There are many other memories that I feel it is time to revisit and treasure.
(c) June Perkins