Curious creative community during COVID-19
Thursday 1 October 2020
This week, artist and maker Trina Gaskell introduces herself in Meet Polyglot, and artist Leisa Prowd offers the career advice she’d love to share with her younger self in Brain Food.
Photograph: Sarah Walker
Meet the team that powers Polyglot. CEOS, creatives, production, admin, board. We work together to keep the colourful cogs turning!
Name: Trina Gaskell
Years with Polyglot: 2 years stretched over 20!
What is the ‘elevator pitch’ description of your role at Polyglot?
My role at Polyglot has been working as designer and maker on projects, usually in the form of collaborating with a team of Polyglot artists and kids in residency-based projects such as 5678 Film Club in 2019, Shadow Bus, Trailblazer, and way-back-when on The Noise Factory in Mallacoota. My role has also included many hours alone in a workshop making things, like the Ants costumes. Or working alongside other makers on earlier puppet-based works such as The Floating Zoo and Headhunter. And I’d have to add that there’s been a fair bit of work fixing puppets and props over the 20 years of being a Polyglot Artist.
What is something about being a Polyglot artist that would surprise someone who doesn’t work in the arts?
Something that is important as a Polyglot artist is being flexible and creative to deal with the many unexpected things that can happen when making art with kids. You need to be able to go with the flow, see how things unfold. If you have a fixed idea of how something will run, you may be in for a shock! But that’s kind of life isn’t it? So, I’m not sure if you’d say it’s surprising.
What part of your work with Polyglot do you most look forward to?
I really love working with other artists during the development of a new project, also the early stages of a project with a team of Polyglot artists and kids. It’s the life blood to be in a creative space to brainstorm. No ideas are bad at that stage, everyone is just in the moment, mining the gold of creative thought and activity, trusting and supporting each other. Birthing new ideas can be hard work, scary, exciting, and you might even feel like vomiting. There’s no baby at the end, but the beginning of a project that will be nurtured by the company and end up having a life of its own.
What and where did you study?
I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at Lincoln School of Health Sciences, Carlton and then Latrobe University, Bundoora when they amalgamated. The informal study path of workshops, classes and volunteer work for theatre companies is how I began the journey from health sciences to work in the arts.
Considered commentary – Polyglot and beyond
What is the career advice that you’d like to share with your younger self?
Leisa Prowd, Artist
Photograph: Carla Gottgens