Announcing our 2021 Signal Boost participants

We're excited to introduce the ten audio storytellers selected to take part in our our 2021 Signal Boost programme. 

2021 Signal Boost Participants: Maya Pask, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi, Najma Sambul, Kirby Fenwick, Eric Jiang, Carly Stone, Miks Everitt, Faith Tabalujan, Elise Romaszko, Daizy Maan

Today, we’re thrilled to be announcing the participants of our 2021 Signal Boost programme. Different from many 'podcast incubator' programmes, Signal Boost's focus is on investing in the craft of working with sound. This year, with the support of The Ian Potter Foundation, we are offering tailored mentorship, practical support, tools and professional development to support the creative growth, and develop the audio skills, of ten aspiring Australian podcasters.

The standard of submissions this year was incredibly high across the board. Our judges – Michelle Macklem, Daren Lake, Mike Williams and Allison Chan – were blown away by the passion, innovation and instinct that is clearly emerging across the Australian podcast landscape.  

The ten participants we’re about to introduce will be paired with an experienced mentor and provided with equipment and access to software that will help them bring their audio goals to life. They will also attend a series of intensive workshops led by some of Australia’s leading podcast and radio industry professionals. We can’t wait to hear what these talented folk produce, and share some of their work with you over the next 12 months.  

Carly Stone (VIC)

“As a writer, I've always loved the immediacy of podcasting. Podcasters can speak directly to their listeners without having to go through a screen or a page. I'm really excited to create my own audio work that immerses its listeners in the stories I want to tell.”

Carly Stone is a writer and editor living on unceded Wurundjeri Country. You can find their essays in Meanjin Quarterly, Going Down Swinging and The Lifted Brow, among others. Carly is a recent Philosophy and English Literature graduate and they wrote their thesis about nonsense. They're especially interested in critical theory, computers and the end of the world. They are an Online Editor at Voiceworks.

Eric Jiang (NSW)

"I'm excited to be a part of Signal Boost so I can explore and play in dimensions only sound can take us to."

Eric Jiang is a Chinese Australian text-based artist, living and working on Gadigal land. In 2020, he participated in the National Studio, a playwriting program run by Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP). Eric was an ArtsLab 2021 Resident (Shopfront Arts Co-op), for which he created a short art film, and is currently involved with theatre programs Step Up (Kings Cross Theatre) and Fresh Ink (ATYP). His poetry appears in or is forthcoming in Peril, Rabbit, Cordite and more.

Eric is also the writing coordinator for The Waiting Room Project, an art space located in the Sydney Sexual Health Centre, and has made contributions to FBi Radio shows Culture Guide and Race Matters.  

Faith Tabalujan (VIC)

“In being a part of Signal Boost, I hope to develop all the essential technical skills involved in audio production while squeezing as much wisdom from my mentor and fellow participants as possible!”

Faith Tabalujan is an aspiring print and audio journalist fascinated by all things historical, linguistic and culinary. As a current Bachelor of Arts student and disability support worker, she is keen to uncover the stories – both ordinary and extraordinary – of multicultural Australia through sound. She has written for the Myriad magazine, has interned with the Vice-Rectorate of New Caledonia and was a two-time recipient of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Long Tan Youth Leadership Award.

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi (QLD)

“Signal Boost will not only allow people to hear my beautiful honey voice (I know, a real blessing!) but it will allow me to storytell in ways I wish I could, to people who have never had access to the stories I share. People will know what sovereignty sounds like over soundwaves.”

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi AKA Vika Mana, is a proud Torres Strait Islander and Tongan storyteller that takes many forms. They descend from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes of Mer Island and the village of Fahefa in Tonga. They perform poetry, write criticism, breathe life into worlds and lastly, can share a joke or two, max. That’s because they only know exactly two jokes.They've written for Overland, The Big Issue, The Saturday Paper and several other publications, both at home and internationally. Vika is also a part of the FAMILI collective, rapping about Afros and abolition. In 2019, Meleika became one of ten writers chosen to be a part of the Wheeler Centre’s The Next Chapter scheme. In 2021 Vika was chosen to be a part of the Spotify Sound Up program and Instagram and Screen Australia's First Nations Creators Program.

Miks Everitt (VIC)

“During Signal Boost, I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to further develop my audio-making skills alongside a bunch of other emerging audio makers. To be able to do this whilst receiving the guidance, support and wisdom from some of the best audio makers in the field is incredible.”

Miks Everitt is an audio maker, researcher and educator based in Melbourne, Australia. Miks comes to audio-making from a background in music and cultural studies with a focus on young people's engagement with creative practice. His audio-making and podcast work has spanned music criticism and playlisting, through to rich soundscape and narrative-driven storytelling.

Kirby Fenwick (VIC)

“During Signal Boost, I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to immerse myself in a community of audio lovers while growing my knowledge and skills around storytelling and production.” 

Kirby Fenwick is a writer and audio producer from Melbourne, living on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. She is a co-founder of Siren: A Women in Sport Collective and as well as writing for Siren, she has written for The Guardian, Eureka Street and Melbourne City of Literature, among others. Her audio documentary The First Friday in February which tells the story of the first AFLW game, was awarded the 2018 Oral History Victoria Award. Her work typically exists at the intersection of feminism and history with a particular focus on the untold stories of women, wherever they exist but especially those that exist in sport.

Najma Sambul (VIC)

“During Signal Boost, I’m most looking forward to delving into my past travel experiences – both the hilarious and the terrifying – for other people’s entertainment."

Najma Sambul is a Somali-Australian freelance journalist and writer. Her reporting has been published in The Age, HuffPost Australia, MTV Australia and Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Najma is a co-host for a weekly news show, Spin Cycle, on Triple R. Although she doesn’t enjoy the sound of her own voice (who does?), Najma aspires to talk and rant about the things that interest her for as long as she’s allowed.

One day she hopes to retreat to a cabin in the woods to write some fiction!

Elise Romaszko (TAS)

“By the end of Signal Boost, I hope to improve my interview skills through The Beauty Project, and discover some of my ideas for beauty.”

My name is Elise. I am a writer. I am a dancer. I am an actor. I am a cook. I am a woman. I am a friend. I am a storyteller.

I have been a part of Second Echo Ensemble since it started. I have worked with our first director Finegan Kruckemeyer, who is an award winning writer. I love his work and I miss him since he moved to Adelaide. Now I work with Kelly Drummond Cawthon, who is a dancer and choreographer who worked in America before coming home to Tasmania. Fin and Kelly have taught me a lot about making and stories. I have been in all of the works they directed since 2005 and now I am ready to tell my own story and be a director.

I am making a work called The Beauty Project. I wonder what makes us think something or someone is beautiful. I want to ask people this question. I want to interview people as part of my research to make this work. I think it will be a great story about who we are and how we see the world. What will be different? What will be the same? What do we need to feel beautiful? Security? Inclusion? Love? Can someone be beautiful who looks different? Thinks differently? Our world is beautiful but it is dying. Why? Why is money and power more beautiful than trees and rivers? I don’t know whether there will be answers to my questions. Probably more questions. But that is okay too. 

I know that I have a lot to learn. I am sure Second Echo and the Signal Boost can help me to tell this story.

Maya Pask (VIC)

“During Signal Boost, I'm most looking forward to connecting with and learning from the other participants about their modes of storytelling, looking at how to translate my arts practices into audio, and developing skills that help people both tell and listen to stories they haven’t heard before.”

Maya Victoria Pask is a white migrant settler, non-binary, neurodivergent interdisciplinary artist, sex worker and LGBTIQA+ community health educator,  living and working in Narrm/Melbourne. Maya’s art practice primarily focuses on labour and the body. They have created four full length shows, under their work name Queenie Bon Bon – which have toured in so-called Australia, Europe and North America. Their work has been featured on Locanto, Backpage and in Maximum Rock and Roll and The Lifted Brow. They are a member of Australian sex worker art collective Debby Doesnt Do It For Free, and co-ordinate The Intro Room, a quarterly online sex worker story night. In 2019 they were the recipient of Firstdraft’s Writers Program and in 2020 received second place in the WOTYs (Whore of the Year) for their sex work activism. Their first chapbook The Body is its own Language came out in 2021.

Daizy Maan (VIC)

(We'll have more from Daizy soon!)

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