Dr June Perkins is a multi-arts creative born to a Papua New Guinean Indigenous mother and Australian father. She was raised in Tasmania as a Bahá’i and combines poetry, blogging, photography, story and more to explore themes interesting her – peace, ecology, spirituality, cultural diversity, resilience and empowerment.
In 2020 she was invited to share her poems in the Panacea Poetry project of the Queensland Poetry Festival on youtube as well as having work included in a Red Room Digital Anthology.
In the last six year years she has been resident in Brisbane and collaborating with artists such Ruha and Minaira Fifita and Helene Magisson, on workshops, exhibitions and poetry books. She has self published two collections Illuminations (2020) and Magic Fish Dreaming (2016). Magic Fish Dreaming received a number of Dragon Fly Awards. Her short stories for children have been published in several anthologies as well as Kookie Magazine.
She has closely connected with the kids lit community in Brisbane and Australia and considers herself an emerging writer for children. She has won mentorships to work on her writing for children, and worked for one year with Robyn Sheehan Bright on an ASA mentorship. She is currently working on her first novel. She especially loves SCBWI Australia New Zealand and Globally for all they do to champion diversity in the literary community and Baha’i Blog for their support of Baha’i creatives across the globe. She has been impressed by many of the new poets in Queensland, who champion this genre.
A wonderful highlight of the last few years was writing poetry and short fiction in response to the Australia Art Collection at the QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art). She was invited to share stories and poems at the APT 9 (Asia Pacific Triennial 9) Festival and participate in a literary festival for young people, which included writers (and illustrators) such as Gregg Dreisse, Candice Lemon-Scott, Morris Glietzman and Katrin Dreiling.
She contributes regularly to Tokens, a Baha’i publication in America and over the years has submitted work to a number of Baha’i publications, but ever a bridge builder and connector she does not feel limited to one space, or one genre.
Similarly June continues to mentor Indigenous students of creative writing in the university sector, but also facilitates many workshops in libraries, schools, and online but is interested in working with anyone who likes to work across all cultures and genres and has been connecting with her Pasifika background. Her services to writing and regional communities culminated in an Australia Day Award from the Cassowary Coastal Council in 2012.
She continues to champion unity in diversity and is moving into consultancy work on this.
For fifteen years Dr June Perkins was an academic, honing her skills as a writer, educator, poet, workshop facilitator, and creative thinker.
She travelled across Australia, New Zealand and Kiribati to meet and engage in discussions or conferences with well known creatives – spanning academia, drama, poetry, novel writing, and fine arts: many of them are now continuing their spiritual journey to the next worlds. Those still alive include Jennifer Martiniello, Marcia Langton, Jackie Huggins, Adam Shoemaker, Debbie Mailman, Helen Anu, Cathy Craigie, and Rachel, and Lisa Maza.
Then she spent a decade living in a regional area of Queensland, developing as a writer, mentor and artist, often in service to the community, and raising three beautiful children. The highlight of this decade was being part of ABC Open projects, such as Aftermath, furthering the cause of poetry in many projects within the community and being a producer on the 500 words project. Her time in Far North Queensland led to a love of photography which continues to this day. She is a regular contributor on Nineteen Months, connecting inspiring soulful writings with photographic expression.
In the 1990s June Perkins was one of five Australian playwright delegates at Interplay in Townsville and took workshops by Nick Enright and other international playwrights and directors and was mentored by Lydia Miller. She began working as a community facilitator and writer on women’s storytelling and radio projects under the mentorship of Dr Daphne Cazalet, who at that time was an actor and community arts worker based in Townsville.
Dr June Perkins met grass –roots-creatives in the arenas of circus, weaving, poetry, folk music and theatre in Townsville, Canberra, Wollongong, and small towns on the South Coast of New South Wales as well as the Cassowary Coast. These people were and are still using creative expression such as weaving, painting, music and oral history to empower their communities and themselves. Their insights have enhanced Dr. Perkins development as a writer. She attended many inspiring performances at the Festival of the Dreaming.
Since graduating as a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2004, Dr. Perkins devoted herself to community engagement, writing, photography, the education and encouragement of keen, bright, creative children and the mentoring of writers, youth and women. Since 2005 she has maintained blogs reflecting on life, writing, art and education in North Queensland. She curated and participated in group blog spaces evolving her writing and arts practice internationally.
In 2010 she began forming publishing opportunities for local Cassowary Coast writers. The intent was to outreach to the world, reflecting on their global connections and valuing their local community and environment. She inspired a team, and worked with them to find support, funding, and local sponsorship for establishing a community anthology, Under One Sky. This book was presented to Prince William, the Governor General and several other dignitaries visiting the Cassowary Coastal area. She participated in an online seminar presented by Professor Nell Arnold for the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women at the invitation of Lydia Valeriano.
Dr Perkins was invited to participate in women’s empowerment programs both locally and in the Pacific during 2012. In these programs she assisted in creating spaces and avenues for women and youth to develop skills and build their dreams into reality. These invitations recognised her efforts to inspire others, and her own personal journey of empowerment.