Q&A with Indiah Money
MPavilion’s First Nations Early Career Writers residency—presented in partnership with Footscray Community Arts—is a three-month-long program, designed to enhance the practices of emerging writers in Victoria. For season 2020/21, the five participants in the residency are Ashleigh Millar, Declan Fry, Tristen Harwood, Monique Grbec and Indiah Money.
In the lead-up to MPavilion 2020’s program launch on Thursday 12 November, we caught up with Indiah Money to hear their thoughts on the residency, find out how their dedicated essay is progressing, and chat about the urgent need to have First Nations voices leading conversations in this country.
MP: Firstly, congratulations on being a part of MPavilion 2020’s First Nations Writers Residency! How have you found the process so far? Has it affected your writing practice in any particular ways?
IM: Ah! Thank you so much! It’s been so great to link up with other mob writers and to be mentored by Maddee Clark and Bridget Caldwell. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with them previously on a piece for Archer Magazine. This program is definitely stretching and growing my writing style, which is usually poetry. It’s been a great opportunity to expand my skills and try writing more critically.
MP: As some reading this chat may not know, each writer in the residency has been asked to write an essay that responds to one of the monthly themes of MPavilion 2020. Can you give us a teaser about your theme, and how your essay relates to it? What kind of style or approach are you using for this piece?
IM: I chose February’s theme ‘1+1: Who are we together?’. A teaser for my piece is that my response isn’t as transparent as it might seem. I think it’s incredibly important to be critical and question everything we see. Only by doing so can we listen and learn. While it’s an opinion piece, I’m using news articles, Instagram, and interviews to help assist the conversation I’m raising.
MP: What have you found to be most useful, encouraging or illuminating about being a member of this year’s First Nations Writers Residency?
It’s always great to hear other people’s experiences and ideas; listening to other mob talk about the industry and their stories is always a breath of fresh air. Being part of the program has enabled me to connect up with these talented beauties and talk about some of the hard questions in our community. It’s also encouraged me to want to pursue writing further than my comfort zone of poetry.
MP: As part of MPavilion 2020, you’ll also be reading some of the writing you’ve crafted during quarantine for Deadly Poets Yarn. Can you tell us a little more about what’ll be happening at this virtual event?
IM: Ah yes! Ah so excited for this! While I can’t quite yet reveal who will be part of Deadly Poets Yarn I can assure you that there will be a familiar face in the crowd aside from my own (hehe!). I was fortunate enough to receive an artist’s grant from Creative Victoria to work on a series about goannas. Goanna is Wiradjuri totem animal and someone who I consider very close to my heart. So part of the project is three different poems to contextualise the visual parts of the series. I’m hoping to have all three poems published in different spaces to further the works reach. But I’ll be reading all three pieces in succession at the Deadly Poets Yarn, I’m pretty stoked!
MP: From environmental crises, to COVID-19, to the protests of Black Lives Matter, 2020 has been a year of huge changes and reckoning in Australia, and across the world. What does it mean to you to tell your story and share your thoughts at a time like this?
IM: Hmm, for me to share my story and thoughts. I think it’s important to investigate what they mean to each person. I’m a white passing, caucasian looking, skinny, androgynes, financially secure, safely homed individual who is completing tertiary education. I think it screams privilege that I can speak and be heard during a time of such complexity, pain and power. I’m a deadly lil queer trans blackfella, but I refuse to ignore the immense privilege I have. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the opportunities I have and am very conscious of this. Investigating one’s own privilege means to acknowledge power structures and dynamics in the fight to begin dismantling the colonial overlay.