Introducing Jodie, our in-house art therapist

Would you like to look at conservation from another perspective? Try the arts! My name is Jodie, and I’m at NGT as part of my practicum as an art therapist.

Art offers different ways of creating connections, looking at situations, choosing from alternatives, and other things we do when we work with complex natural and human communities. Artwork can be ephemeral, or long-lasting. The art-making process is important, not just the finished artwork. Art is inclusive – all humans can participate in art-making.

Jodie and a Latham’s Snipe, captured as part of The Latham’s Snipe Project

Human beings have used the arts as a way of knowing, communicating, preserving and developing ecological knowledge for millennia. First Nations people have complex and nuanced understandings of their environment and of human relationships. These are expressed through: painting, crafts, poetry, storytelling, theatre, music, movement etc.

My educational background has been varied and I’ve studied chemistry, aquatic biology, art, teaching, and now art therapy. Work-wise I have thirty years of experiences in environmental management (DELWP, ParksVic, consultancy) and education (technical, secondary, re-engaging youth, adults with disabilities, university, all ages interpretation) in the south-west region of Victoria and central Gippsland. Working with representatives of the Gunditjmara people on several projects has been an absolute highlight. I’ve also been volunteering since 1980!

In terms of nature, I love everything, but have been particularly lucky to work on marine invertebrates, migratory birds, native grasslands, Southern Right Whales and habitat restoration. I’m rather fond of environmental history and old maps and records.

Last year, I worked on the Kang-o-meerteek Narrawong Small Town Transformation project for NGT which was my first big arts-based job and a great experience.

Community playing with eco-dyed curtains at the launch of the Kang-o-meerteek Project

Art-wise I’ve experience working with others on: drawing, sculpture, textiles, singing, script writing, directing, book-binding, print-making, dance, song-writing and children’s picture-books. South-west Victoria is my home place.

It will take a little while to find my feet in the new role, the first job is to get out and meet the other NGT staff and see people. If you would like to get in touch, please email me, or ring my mobile: 0418 570 129.

Jodie Honan