The Flying Tiger was once again abuzz with ideas people and generous donors for last night’s Awesome Newcastle! We chatted and chomped down on some delicious chips in the venue’s swanky upstairs area and prepared ourselves for another Awesome evening.
Along with our rambunctious regulars, we were happy to welcome returning guest board member Amber Moncrieff from Hunter Plastic Surgery. We also welcomed first time guests Sharyn Swan from The Dot Connector, Rosalind Smith from Centre for 21st Century Humanities (at University of Newcastle) and Kim Oakhill from Helpful Love. Kim is a previous winner of Awesome Newcastle!
Then we welcomed our Awesome Finalists! For September’s Awesome Newcastle we are welcomed Laura Kebby and Amy Lovat from Secret Book Stuff, Jandi McCandless from Waste Not Want Not and Bastian Phelan and David Graham from WE DONT DANCE.
Donned in matching overalls, bibliophiles Laura and Amy told us about Secret Book Stuff first. Secret Book Stuff is a kindness project to spread the love of literature and create a little more magic in the world. For the past twelve months, Amy has been wrapping good condition pre-loved books in sustainable packaging and leaving them as random acts of kindness around Newcastle. Since then she’s created a website where people can cover the cost of postage to have a book sent to a friend anywhere in Australia. She’s also donated books to several charities and sells them at local markets. She and Laura shared the story of how the two of them fell in love over the last year, and how Laura is now also incredibly invested in Secret Book Stuff. They want to take their passion project to the next level and turn it into a business! Next up we welcomed Waste Not Hunter. Jandi told us about the group of six local sustainability leaders brought together by the Centre for Sustainability Leadership for the Hunter. The team have challenged themselves to address problems around waste production and management. She told us how they are in the process of developing a series of podcasts with a target audience of residents from across the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Central Coast regions. Rather than reinventing the wheel, they have decided to use their skills and network to support existing projects and initiatives. They aim to produce informative episodes surrounding the topics of soft plastic recycling, organic waste (Feedback Organics), shared resources (Share Shop) and post-consumer processing and disposal at a local level. They would use the money to pay contributors for their time, and also pay for a website and marketing.
Last but not least David got comfortable and told us all about WE DONT DANCE (WDD). He and Bastian originally applied back in February, so quite a lot has evolved since then for this pilot project. WE DON’T DANCE is a festival that will be a co-presenter at This is Not Art (TiNA) – an annual experimental and emerging arts festival that happens in Newcastle. Made up of three other co-presenting festivals: National Young Writers, Crack X and Critical Animals, This is Not Art has been going strong in Newcastle for over 20 years. During the last weekend of September, WDD will deliver three evenings of music-based performances with other collaborative arts i.e. installations, projections, performance art and artisan stalls. WDD would use the money to pay the event organisers and help better secure WDD for next year too. We thanked the presenters for their amazing ideas and left the judges to the challenging deliberation. We invited guest board member Kim from helpful love up to present, and before she gave the money away, she shared with us how important Awesome Newcastle was for successfully launching her business, which has been going strong for the past several years now.
Kim then gave the money away to Secret Book Stuff! Congratulations, Amy and Laura! And a big thank you again to all our finalists! Please remember that applications never expire, so there’s a good chance we’ll get you back at another Awesome Newcastle!