Emerging Writers Pitch Project

Tackling Systemic Issues in the Arts and Screen Sectors

Diversity in Australian Media, in collaboration with Diversity Arts Australia and ArtsHub/Screenhub published a series of articles that highlighted the big issues facing underrepresented/marginalised creators and communities, while also offering strategies for change. It is important that we hear the perspectives of those with lived experience.

The call for pitches took place in March 2021, and specifically targeted emerging writers/journalists who are Indigenous / First Nations / Black / People of Colour / CaLD and understand the screen or arts sector well.

The selected articles were published on ArtsHub and/or Screenhub and shared on the Diversity in Australian Media social media, Diversity Arts Australia website and other places.

Ana Tiwary, who created this initiative last year, expressed her enthusiasm for the initiative funded by Diversity Arts Australia (made possible with support from Create NSW and Australia Council for the Arts):

“I am so grateful to Lena Nahlous and the entire DARTS team for their wonderful support. This collaboration will not only bring more underrepresented perspectives to one of the most popular arts publications in Australia, it will also provide a career pathway to diverse writers/journalists.”

Read the full articles here

Bryan Andy  

Bryan Andy is a Yorta Yorta man; he identifies as gay. He is a writer, arts critic & radio broadcaster. Bryan has worked with Melbourne International Arts Festival, Australia Council for the Arts, Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Australians for Native Title & Reconciliation and Amnesty International Australia; and has been published with Lonely Planet, The Guardian, Witness Performance, Meanjin and ABC. Bryan is the current Chair of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation.

Chido Mwat  

Chido Mwat is a Zimbabwean comedian, writer, film and web content maker living in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). She performed her first full length show ‘She-Nanigans The Show’ at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Fringe Festival 2022. In 2022 Chido was selected to participate in the Melbourne Theatre Company x Emerging Writers’s Festival program First Stage. Her writer/directorial debut short ‘For Becky’ has been featured on SBS on demand, placed third at the Sunshine Short Film Festival (2021), and was an official section at the African Smartphone International Film Festival (2021). Chido has produced online content for the Department of Family, Fairness and Housing to promote COVID Safe behaviour and was a writer for a series of TikToks by Cinespace about anti-racism.

Viki Mana  

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi AKA Vika Mana, is a storyteller from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes from Mer Island, Torres Strait and Fahefa 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. In 2019, Meleika won a place in The Next Chapter Scheme awarded by the Wheeler Centre. In 2020, Vika was shortlisted for the Nakata Brophy prize. Vika is also apart of the FAMILI collective, rapping about Afros and abolition.

Participating writers include:

Helen Stenbeck  

Helen is the host and producer of the podcast, Asian Bitches Down Under, and the coordinator for the Taiwan Film Festival in Australia. She is an advocate for intersectional feminism and diversity in media, literacy, journalism and entertainment. Helen currently resides in Darkinjung country with her family and volunteers with Guide Dog Australia as a therapy dog handler for Canine Court Companion Program.


Kalu Oji  

Kalu Oji is an Igbo-Australian writer-director. His focus primarily lies on narrative work and explorations of identity, particularly the African-Australian identity. Kalu graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film and Television). Upon graduation he was awarded the Australian Directors Guild Mentorship Award. His graduate film, Blackwood, had its world premiere at the 43rd Atlanta Film Festival where he picked up the Filmmaker to Watch Award. Since then it’s gone on to screen at a handful of other Oscar and BAFTA Qualifying festivals, including the BFI London Film Festival, Chicago IFF, Palm Springs Shortfest, and more. Kalu’s follow up short film, The Moon and Me, recently had its world premiere at the Oscar Qualifying, Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Manan Luthra  

Manan Luthra is an emerging journalist based in New South Wales. Currently studying at the University of Sydney, he is the owner and editor of State of the Art Media, an arts journalism group which has covered Sydney’s performing arts scene since 2019. He has written for The New York Times, Indian Link, Junkee and Scenestr, and in his spare time he works as an actor and event co-ordinator. He’s currently watching jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy and reading Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

Naavikaran (she/they)  

Goddess Naavikaran is a DJ, theatre producer, musician and choreographer from India, based in Naarm (Melbourne). Their work creates platforms for accessible and anti-racist storytelling for identities of marginalized intersections and communities. Naavikaran’s debut album, Brown Church is available on all streaming platforms. Their pronouns are she and they and can be found on all social media platforms @naavikaranoutlook-com

Raveena Grover StoryCasters Writer

Raveena Grover is a writer, curator and creative director who has had her words and photography published in Sweatshop Women (Sweatshop Literacy Movement, 2019), SBS Voices, TimeOut Sydney, Kill Your Darlings and Folk Magazine, and curated and performed as part of Red Dot Revolt and Sydney Fringe Festival. She is focused on creating and exploring the beauty, strength and realities of art by People of Colour as a queer Punjabi woman.

Satara Uthayakumaran  

Satara Uthayakumaran is a young writer, currently studying a Bachelor of Arts/Laws at the Australian National University. She has previously written for publications including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Sydney Morning Herald and the ACT Human Rights Commission. She is a Board Member of the Domestic Violence Crisis Centre and a Youth Ambassador for Anti-Slavery Australia. Satara has also appeared on national television, most notably for her conversation with previous Prime Minister Julia Gillard, on women of colour in leadership.

Travis Akbar  

Travis Akbar has been writing creatively ever since he was able to hold a pen and has been a film buff ever since he first watched Jurassic Park. Travis began reviewing films in 2018 for The Curb and has since written for several other online publishers such as Indigenous X, Junkee, Pedestrian, SBS and NITV.  In 2019 Travis began screenwriting and has written several feature and short films, some of which are in production currently. He is also working with Hollywood veteran Steph Lady on other projects. A proud Wongutha man, Travis has a keen focus on creating stories that contain social commentary and a diverse range of characters.  Travis lives on Permangk Country in the Adelaide Hills and can be found on twitter at @TravAkbar or contacted through his website at www.darkbeforedawn.com.au

Vaanie Krishnan  

Vaanie (she/her) is a dancer, emerging writer and theatre enthusiast from Sydney. She has written for Kaleidoscope Journal, Indian Down Under, Theatre Thoughts AU, Sydhwaney and recently started her own Arts Zine: Theatre Enthusiast AU. Vaanie brings knowledge of art and dance from her training in the Indian Classical art-form Bharathnatyam. She brings this and her experience as a South Asian diaspora to her critical analysis of theatre.

Virat Nehru  

Virat is an Indian-Australian writer and literary critic. He was a Young Journalist of the Year finalist at the 2018 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communication Awards. As the resident film critic at 2SER 107.3FM, he is the co-host of the station’s weekly film-based radio program. He’s also the co-host of a podcast that discusses Hindustani film music and lyrics and is the founding member of the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival.

Didi de Graaf  

Didi de Graaf is a Samoan-Kiwi writer, who studied a BA in scriptwriting at AFTRS and currently works in Sydney in film. As an emerging creator, the work that Didi is interested in writing or examining is inspired by the intersections of her own identity and heritage, and the diversity within Australasian culture.

Sonja Hammer  

Sonja Hammer is a diaspora First Nations (Ngati Kahungunu, Kuki Airani-Aitutaki ) woman originally from Aotearoa/NZ, identifying as Takataapui and is Takiwatanga (Autism spectrum). Sonja is an experienced broadcaster having produced community radio as diverse from intersectional feminism to speculative and horror genre shows. She is the co-founder of the first Australian LGBTIQA+ pop culture advocate organization Queer Geeks of Oz. Sonja is the Secretary and Creative Arts Ambassador for not-for-profit Pasifika organization Pacifique X. Currently Sonja volunteers as a short film programmer for the Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) and the Environmental Film Festival Australia (EFFA), building Indigenous Pasifika and Maori representation.