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You can’t contain the beasts.

The artistic force PollyannaR has returned with a whole new line-up of TOPshelf creative beasts.

Jun 4, 2020

Words: PollyannaR
Images: PollyannaR

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Brace yourselves Gippsland!

The artistic force PollyannaR has returned with a whole new line-up of TOPshelf creative beasts who are eager to unleash themselves on an exciting creative path towards their Soul Goal.

Gippslandia: What is TOPshelf?

TOPshelf is a non-traditional entrepreneurship for creatives, minorities and those who want to make their passion project a reality. TOPshelf helps participants reach their Soul Goal, from idea to realisation.

So, what’s a Soul Goal then?

Your Soul Goal is your extreme passion. The thing you’d want to achieve if you were to die tomorrow. It can be anything from having an exhibition, starting a company or becoming a freelancer, to getting off the dole or getting into a university course.

What does TOPshelf look like?

TOPshelf is a 12-week program, facilitated by PollyannaR, that arms creative beasts with a mean set of tools, sweet hook-ups to local resources, networking and grant opportunities, employment pathways and mentorship.

TOPshelf will guide you through a program to make your Soul Goal a reality, while teaching you methods to better support yourself and your life. Guest facilitators will include a Gunaikurnai artist, a mixed-ability artist and a mental health professional.

Creative Beast: Todd Lambourn
Species: Social provocateur and coffee bar owner
Description: A beautiful, neurotically thoughtful Cont
Soul Goal: Breaking down misogyny

BIG win: Stepping away from work to pursue my Soul Goal

For more than four years, I have owned and operated a successful coffee bar in Morwell. I’m passionate about challenging people’s perceptions and preconceived ideals, and Cont (coffee bar) has always been about this: from the name, to calling out any kind of micro racist or misogynistic language, and making sure we are public allies to our community’s marginalised members.

My Soul Goal is to create art pieces of inspirational women around Morwell. Not only will this show our younger generations that women are publicly celebrated, but it is also a more subtle and approachable way to challenge people’s thinking. Look, it’s basically trying to trick men into having positive thoughts about women. Misogyny is a male issue and fixing it is not the responsibility of women.

Creative Beast: Esther Lloyd
Species: Decipherer of science
Description/Values: Find the simple within the complex
Soul Goal: Learn, share, inspire and grow.

BIG Win: Already being involved in work that is literally helping to shape the future of our region. Working for various renewable energy, sustainability and climate-based community groups or projects within Gippsland, while I continue to expand my skillset.

I’m one of those people who enjoy eating hot soup in summer. I know, right? What went wrong?! But honestly, I have spent my life finding the cracks between social expectations and exploring the possibilities within the unknown. I was always too much of an arts student for my science labs, too much of a scientist for my journalism lectures. My answer has been to become a science communicator, unbound to explore the diversity and variety within science, while also free to use my newfound knowledge to bring joy and inspiration to others.

Everything in life is connected. The chemistry of water influences its behaviour; how it forms rivers that bend and branch. The same physics determine how blood vessels spread and connect. The biological flow of nutrients powers our brains as we build social relationships and expand our towns into cities. The best locations are fertile lands rich in nutrients deposited by rivers as they bend and branch through the landscape. My goal is to discover and understand connections within science. To inform, educate and inspire, so that together we can maintain healthy environments, thriving people and resilient communities, now and into the future.

Creative Beast: Kellie Willis
Species: Writer
Description/Values: Curious, storyteller, integrity, awareness, unity, kindness and empathy
Soul Goal: WillGrow Global

BIG Win: Nailed my branding and launched my blog!

I love a good story and have been writing them for as long as I can remember. After 15 years working as a journalist, I moved into public relations, mostly in the tourism and events industry. A mother of four, I see storytelling as a way to encourage people to treat the planet, and each other, better.

I have created WillGrow Global, a platform where I can collate and tell the good news stories — local, national and global — around climate action in a way that avoids the cringe factors of guilt and blame, and promotes the understanding that every little thing we can do as individuals helps.

I want to contribute to a conversation that doesn’t debate whether or not man-made climate change is real, but that promotes the ethos of ‘let’s just work towards a better planet, regardless’. This is one way I can contribute to leaving the planet in a better place for my children than it was in when they arrived on it.

Creative Beast: River Mayman
Species: Visual artist
Description/Values: Accepting, kind and compassionate
Soul Goal: Feel IX

BIG Win: Finding a co-founder! And, taking the initiative to work on my Soul Goal!

I use they/them pronouns and am a local queer artist. I spend most of my free time listening to podcasts and doing anything creative. I’m a youth counsellor and enjoy doing community-based work to support youth. I love playing video games when I get the time, mainly playing story-based games. I absolutely love Dungeons and Dragons, playing it whenever I can. It’s really helped me grow my leadership and team-building skills, and creative problem-solving. I have a little tiny dog named Willow, who I love very much. She’s very energetic and cute!

Feel IX is a for-profit, for-purpose platform that aims to help trans youth who feel they can’t get support from home. We support them by providing life-saving gender affirming gear, like binders. We also provide information on a variety of trans issues, such as how to bind safely or how to navigate high school as a trans teen, etc. We also aim to help the cisgender community by supplying sensitivity training on trans issues.

Creative Beast: Rosemary Hamilton
Species: Author
Description/Values: Truth-teller, listener, purposeful, wild and love
Soul Goal: A novel of myriad secret truths

BIG Win: I discovered that to write a book, you just have to write it.

I’m a diligent writer, indulgent reader, amateur beekeeper and determined human rights advocate. I run Alchemy, a communications agency, with talented friends that create a spectrum of global brand identities, communications and public relations. I have long worked with fashion, music and lifestyle brands, and, in recent years, have discovered tech geniuses from fintech and traveltech
to audio.

My peace comes with travel, close to home adventures and faraway explorations. I’ve fallen in love with people, beaches and dance floors in many corners of the world. I adore language and craft English obsessively, speak French fluently, Spanish and German badly, and can hear Cantonese. I come from a long line of women who got it done.

My novel will be a voice for people who cannot or have not spoken, sharing their secrets, and the world those secrets beget. A mosaic of different voices and perspectives. Expect to be startled as those who are normally described in passing take centre stage and tell their own tales. Multiple themes and characters are fighting to be brought to life as I begin to write, influenced by the stories I have lived and heard in many places and times. Queer and HIV communities in the 90s, child refugees on Nauru, domestic violence in suburban Burleigh Heads, and many more. As the story unfurls, many truths are being told, sadness meets kindness, hope and love. The truth shall make you free.

Creative Beast: Mark Hooper (
Species: Sound designer, composer, field recordist and digital artist.
Description/Values: Professional, research-based, experimental, passionate, organised and determined.
Soul Goal: Found Sounds Gippsland and Paddock Digital

BIG Win: Regional Arts Victoria Toe In The Water grant (2019). Sound designer for multi-award-winning animation Urbanality (2020)

I’m a sound designer, percussionist, composer and digital artist, currently finishing my studies in a Bachelor of Design: Digital Media at RMIT. Through research and practise, I have developed an intense interest in the psychological and physiological effects of sound and music on the individual. These ideas have been further extended through work as a composer and researcher at the RMIT Audiokinetic Lab.

In 2019, I actualised one of my Soul Goals by starting my sound/media-based business Paddock Digital — with the support of TOPshelf and Startup Gippsland. Additionally, I was successful with a Regional Arts Victoria grant for the project Found Sounds Gippsland. The project aims to document and highlight the unique natural and man-made sounds of the region. I’m achieving this goal through the collection of high-quality field recordings from the area (assisted by drumming maestro Steve Schulz). The project will culminate at the end of 2020, with a series of community workshops documenting the process. Sound recordings will also be showcased on a soon-to-be created database and sound map at:

Creative Beast: Tayla Clavarino
Species: Musician and visual artist
Description/Values: Lover, creative, fighter, coffee fiend, wannabe fashionista and dreamer
Soul Goal: “Smile”

BIG Win: The 2020 Capital Country Music Association National Championship in Tamworth this year.

I’m a 20-year-old passionate musician, singer-songwriter and artist. I am passionate about change, and hope to inspire people to pursue their dreams and challenge the norm.

All my life I have been pushed and pulled for not fitting the mould and, now, I’m beyond excited to show the world that you can overcome any obstacle and that it’s okay to be different.

My Soul Goal is to release my debut single and film clip, which spread a message of self-confidence and anti-bullying. I’d love to use my music as a tool in the creation of an educational program for high school students discussing body positivity, the freedom of expression and creativity, and anti-bullying.

If you want to take the first step towards your next BIG adventure and find yourself surrounded by creative beasties, register now at Our next TOPshelf intake begins May 7.

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