Monash Arts grad Brodie Turner transforms thesis into action
‘I want work that will sustain my spirit,’ says Brodie Turner, recent graduate of Monash Arts’ Master of Cultural and Creative Industries. ‘Creative, open and honest expression is at the heart of everything I do, and it’s the reason I decided to take up postgraduate study.’
In May, Brodie delivered a presentation for Victoria’s Creative State Summit, leading a workshop informed by the findings of his master’s thesis. Titled ‘Consent in the Creative Industries’, Brodie’s thesis examined the meaning of consent in the sector, and considered how creative workers can sustain the momentum of the #metoo movement.
‘We need to keep our outrage and desire for safety going,” says Brodie. “That’s what I brought to the Summit – an open, vulnerable, non-judgemental space to have really difficult conversations.
‘Honesty is often uncomfortable, but as part of any endeavour or project team, we need to ask what it takes for us to be consensual and equal. That’s what consent delivers: equality and respect.’
A performer and writer with a long history in theatre, Brodie’s decision to study a Master of Cultural and Creative Industries was driven by his passion for the arts and a desire to create meaningful change within the culture of the industry.
‘I didn’t want to start in the industry from the bottom – I wanted to start at a strategic, policy-making level. This degree empowered me to think big and see the industry as a whole rather than an archipelago of different projects.
‘I travelled to China as part of the Shanghai City Lab – which was just incredible – and got to learn from and meet industry experts through guest lectures. I saw the whole breadth of where I might land when I left uni.
‘I took advantage of the thesis option in this coursework master’s to drill down into issues that mattered to me. Around the moment my thesis came together, I realised I could make a difference.’
While writing his thesis, Brodie’s research became a powerful element of his creative practice. Drawing from a personal traumatic experience, he started creating shows inspired by ideas of consent, including telling his story on stage and leading consent practice poetry touch workshops.
Following graduation, Brodie has applied his academic knowledge and theatrical background to create cultural change at a grassroots level. As a Creative Producer at MEAN Projects in Auckland, he facilitates sexual violence prevention education for high school students, while also maintaining his personal practice. ‘The main thrust of my career is working with creative enterprises to establish and sustain consent practices in their content and production,’ says Brodie. ‘It’s meaningful work, and I love it.’
When asked why creative and cultural industries are integral to our world, Brodie answers with eloquent conviction. ‘Creativity is at the core of humanity. Access to creative outlets and instincts is imperative to the satisfaction and fulfilment of the human spirit, from the bohemian painter in their studio to the engineer creating code that hasn’t been invented yet.
‘I loved studying a Master of Cultural and Creative Industries because my lecturers didn’t just assume that wanting to work in the creative industries meant you wanted to be an artist.
‘They knew it meant that you wanted to be a changemaker.’