Reflection on Working with June

Jenni Pictured on a Trip to China.  Wonderful Artist, mentor and humanitarian

I have known June Perkins in my capacity as a Community Development Facilitator since 1999.

From 2000 to 2002 June worked extensively with the ACT Indigenous Writers Group in recording their Oral Story Project through monitoring and evaluating the successive stages of the project, interviewing participants and providing an evaluative report which was invaluable to the group in re-structuring the project for future participants.

During the progress of June’s work with us she at all times followed appropriate cultural and ethical protocols for working collaboratively with, and interviewing Aboriginal people, including Elders.

When June and her family moved to the South Coast she retained contact with the group, made contact with Aboriginal Elders and writers in her new location and became a conduit between our two groups to enable collaborative cross-community projects to be planned.

Her continued commitment to community, in particular Indigenous, isolated and lower socio-economic rural and regional people, and the development of culturally appropriate, sustainable forms of personal and social outcomes for those people over decades clearly demonstrates that this is June’s life work, and her skills across a arrange of disciplines, both creative and academic have grown proportionally.

June has made several moves to increasingly distant rural locations, following her family’s commitment to broadening the educative and life experiences. This has impacted considerably on her capacity to follow a more normalised academic pathway. Nevertheless, with each move she has continues to develop her own skills in creative writing, photography and film making. She has been able to draw to her groups of like-minded individuals whose development has been considerably enhanced by June’s capacity to transmit her skills and propensity for exploration and experimentation across multiple media.

It is to her credit that she has been able to do this in both community based, face to face interactions, and through her extensive use of social media.

Some examples I have been involved in with June through the creative and collaborative cyberspaces she has created have included her various blogs, including Pearlz Dreaming, Licuala Writers, online collaborative projects including Conversations international women’s art project, the Gumboots project, photographic social and environmental online documentation, conversations and gallery, and several collaborative e-book  publishing projects in the Out of Australia series, and the Cassowary Coast community recovery project after Cyclone Yasi. Also to be included in this list is June’s Art/Writer Discussion blog which has art practitioners from all over Australia and the world sharing their work, ideas and critical discussion.

More recently June has moved into short film as a creative form of documenting community based solutions to needs, such as her Dance for Recovery; Behind the Scenes (2012) which was chosen as a feature short film for ABC Open. This short film was the latest in a growing list of film works, all of which demonstrate June’s capcity to bring together community dialogue and activism with a finely honed ability to tell story through creative photographic techniques. Her dedication and skills have been recognised by ABC Open and rewarded with an Australia Day Award for Services to Writing.

JuneAustraliaDay (2)
From the Tully Times 2012

Jennifer Martiniello

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