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Kia Ora!

I’m Issy, I am the founder of Awkward Talks and a 22 yo Wahine who grew up on and around the stage. All throughout my schooling you could find me in the music practice rooms writing, rehearsing lines in english, or making lighting plots in the auditorium. I’m lucky to have experienced the arts from many different perspectives. And through those experiences I have gained an understanding of the needs of a technician verses a singer, dancer, actor, stage manager, and more.

Being exposed to the opportunities brought to different artists also comes with the awareness of the barriers and adversities that creative people face, not just on a grand scale, but on a day to day basis.

I have always been the kid in the back of the class asking why? And the answer 'because that’s just how it’s done’ was never satisfactory in any context, especially when ‘the way it’s done’ meant that the people in that community were hurt or disadvantaged in some way. But, no matter what adversities an individual was facing on the projects I was working on, the thing that held everyone together was the creative endeavor in front of them. Thus the core belief of “Creativity = Connection” was carved into my life.

When I moved to Wellington everything was amplified. More creative people in one place meant the community power

was greater, but so were the social and structural issues. From venues & artists, to audiences issues of accessibility, equality, the ‘starving artist’ trope, lack of universal standards, and, bands stepping over bands. All of these behaviors are so deeply ingrained and subconsciously perpetuated by our community and wider industry. And once I got to the 100th ‘that’s just how it's done’ Awkward talks was born.

My past in pastoral care and youth work sparked a passion for bringing people together through shared experience and

courageous vulnerability. Although I don’t have the answers, I realised, part of my power is having the courage to ask the Awkward questions, hold space for authentic and, at times, uncomfortable conversation around these destructive behaviors, and brainstorm the small changes that could compound into socially positive industry growth. Along with Cae I hope to inspire people to start the work, and advocate for those who are already on this same path alongside us. Having personally felt that feeling of drowning in a place you so greatly care about, I hope that Awkward Talks will be somewhat of a lifeline to those who are feeling the same way, and an invitation for those who feel differently.

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