Regional Arts WA Project Officer Hannah Chambers has been kicking around the regional arts scene for a while now.
Hannah’s journey as an arts worker began at the age of 18 when she took on a traineeship with the Country Music Club of Boyup Brook. There, she helped organise a youth Festival called Get Unleashed in the Brook.
The festival was a one-day event running a car simulation, urban art workshops, a silent disco, and BMX, FMX, and skateboarding demonstrations and performances by San Cisco, Minute 36, Sons of Rico, and Split Seconds.
For months, Hannah worked closely with local stakeholders to ensure the event was community orientated, she worked with West Australian Music (WAM) to select acts for the festival and the local Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was invited for input. Even the local police were supportive from the initial planning stage, going as far as offering to act as a crash test dummy for the event’s car simulation.
However, running a youth festival required a lot of financial help and she looked towards grants that could work for her, such as the Drug Away YCulture Regional. What happened next helped put her entire career in motion.
“Since then, I have gone on to become one of the Panel Members to assess the Drug Aware YCulture Regional funding applications, and now I manage the program!”
Get Unleashed in the Brook was a success, and Hannah was nominated as the Rural Ambassador for Boyup Brook in 2012 for the Upper Blackwood Dinninup Show. This led to a sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Busselton to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Program.
Hannah was invited to join Drug Aware YCulture Regional panel, where there were many more networking opportunities available. One allowed the entire panel to go to Perth to meet with peak organisations and participate in professional development opportunities. There, she participated in photography workshops and completed a certificate in Project Management while networking with creatives from all around WA.
Soon, Hannah moved to Perth where she undertook a mentorship with Nigel Bird from WAM. She worked with the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit, helped coordinate regional artists for the 2015 Dowerin Field Day, and mapped radio airplays for the Sounds of the Wheatbelt tours.
This led to a part-time job with Regional Arts WA, which she has now turned into her full-time career.
At Regional Arts WA, Hannah works as a Project Officer – supporting regional artists, individuals, and organisations with their funding applications. This could be through having a phone conversation, face to face or a zoom meeting to discuss project ideas and the specific program they are looking at applying to.
“I get to help artists and arts workers who are emerging deliver their projects. I love to get to know people and their projects, and to develop them as an artist or arts worker along their own journeys.”
Currently, she manages the Drug Aware YCulture Regional, Next Level Regional Grant and Regional Artist Fellowships. Hannah says she is often asked a lot of different questions about the application process for the programs and grants:
What can I apply for? How much can I apply for? Is my project eligible? When can I start my project?
Really, there is no dumb question. She is happy to answer them all, and who else better to? After all, she has been through it herself.
Hannah has since moved back home to Boyup Brook, in the South West, where she grew up and first started her career as an arts worker. However, she continues to work for Regional Arts WA remotely and, in her spare time, works for her family business Youanme.
“Anyone can find me in the shop at Christmas time wrapping presents – I love to wrap presents. In my down time I love to cook, whether it be savoury or sweet, read a good book, watch a movie, or listen to music. I love music, but don’t ask me what my favourite artist is!”
When you ask Hannah if she has any advice for young creatives looking to start their career, she will tell you to consider applying to grants like the Drug Aware YCulture Regional or Next Level Regional Grant.
“They are amazing opportunities to focus on your own arts journey, whether as an artist or arts worker, and a fantastic steppingstone to help you advance your career. Take every opportunity you can to develop your own networks and partnerships that you can utilise in the future.