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Contributor profile: Urszula Dawkins

Urszula Dawkins Urszula Dawkins
photo courtesy of the author

I work mostly as an arts journalist and producer, also maintaining my own creative writing practice. I was based in Perth for a while but am back in Melbourne now. Some of my favourite gigs have been with Melbourne Festival, Arts House and Gasworks Arts Park. I co-wrote Melbourne’s successful UNESCO City of Literature bid, and was excited to work as producer for the 2009 Art of Difference deaf and disability arts festival. My training is in creative writing, visual arts and journalism; I occasionally write for Art Monthly Australia as well as RealTime.

My fiction has been published in anthologies and journals in Australia, the UK and the US and I’ve presented countless spoken word performances in several cities. I’ve done artist residencies in Minnesota, Marrickville, Reykjavík and the high Arctic, and am now working on a non-fiction manuscript as well as some collaborative projects with visual and performing artists.


I’ve always loved words—when I was a musician I wrote songs; when I did visual arts, writing was an important element; and eventually words took over completely. I did a postgrad in journalism in 2008 and got especially interested in the blurred spaces between creative writing and explanatory journalism. I do arts journalism because I’m fascinated by the process of creation. I love talking to artists about why and how they make work, and I love it when readers go “oh!” and can share that pleasure. I also like the challenge of reviewing work that I may or may not immediately respond to—it pushes me out of my world and into someone else’s space and ideas.

In my own work, I’m a kind of ‘fractured Romantic,’ obsessed with CD Friedrich-type landscapes full of jagged peaks and broken ships, and curious about my place in them. I’m interested in how the beautifully sublime quickly becomes treacherous when you commit yourself to walking there; and I’m equally fascinated with emotional landscapes, how we negotiate their peaks and their perils. One way or another, it’s all about desire.

Other writing

my ‘arctic blog’ and some recent work-in-progress can be found on my web site Light Blue

basically i don’t… but actually i do, plus a selection of other articles written for arts house, north melbourne

steiner/lenzlinger – the water hole, art monthly australia, no 220, june 2009

allegory in smog—the art of stormie mills, art monthly australia, no 223, september 2009

a promiscuous, fleeting moment: simon terrill’s crowd theory, art monthly australia, no 230, june 2010

RealTime issue #103 June-July 2011 pg. web

© Urszula Dawkins; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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