My life as an Australian sheep-farmer / Irish Poet

Roxanne Bodsworth (Presenter)

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


It was when I while hand-rearing 17 merino lambs, all colour-coded with cat collars to tell me what formula they were on, that I was screaming this was not what I wanted to be doing with my life. I made the decision then to return to post-grad study and undertake a PhD by Creative Project – a feminist reconstruction of Irish mythology using a hybrid combination of poetry and prose. Though I achieved my PhD in 2020, I am still also a merino sheep farmer raising orphaned lambs. There has been a great dearth of support and resources for my academic and creative pursuits yet I feel this need to exist in both worlds to survive, and to flourish, and to demonstrate that it is possible to do so. As a feminist, a poet, and a sheep farmer, I have found a way to flourish in the cracks and crevices in-between the rural/city divide, and the creative/academic divide. But the journey has made me aware just how tough it is in the bush, with very limited resources for study, creativity, mental and physical health, we have to be tough to survive. We do survive, we flourish, and our creativity has the particular subtleties, the colours of camouflage and shadow and light, the nuances of life lived in the crevices. In this paper, I present an autoethnographic study considering the particular challenges faced by those who take on creative and academic challenges in rural communities, and what can be gained by giving us a bit more space and looking at what we have to offer that is very different to the mainstream.


SeminarSymposium 2022
Abbreviated titleCreative Practice Circle Creative practice as research, based in regional Australia
CityWagga Wagga
OtherThe Stories from the Crevice Communities Symposium was held in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia, December 7-8, 2022, with associated activities in the days before and afterwards. The Symposium took place in-person on the Charles Sturt University campus (Building 21) and online via Zoom. One associated event – a live multimedia performance by Jacqui O’Reilly – took place at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. All of these events were free and open to the public.
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