I am a WANDERING womxn.
I love travelling, meeting people from different countries and experiencing different cultures and places. I like being thrown out of my comfort zone occasionally. I think I would’ve enjoyed a career as a foreign correspondent!
Emma is an educator and researcher. Her research in urban sociology focuses on how people live together among strangers in cities. Emma believes in the power of creative arts to help change lives. She has developed and led creative arts outreach programs in communities experiencing social and economic disadvantage.
What's easy for you as a womxn?
Listening to people, being empathetic.
What's difficult for you as a womxn?
Apart from living in a man’s world, it's difficult for womxn to travel alone. Some countries are more difficult than others for womxn to travel in because of their strictly observed cultural gender norms. Travelling alone in Australia can also be daunting for womxn because we sometimes attract unwanted attention.
What ideas are you working on, or playing with, or just sitting with now?
I’m thinking about writing another book. In 2019, I published a book, Filtered: Coffee, the Café and the City, about the phenomenal growth of café culture in the last 20 years. As a cultural studies researcher, I was intrigued by the links between cafes as social hubs, and urban development. I’ve written some articles about coffee recently and think there may be another book there. I’m also doing life drawing and have a keen interest in photography.
How do you share your culture?
I observe and write about it. I’m a researcher and writer and have written many articles on different aspects of my culture.
Who was / is an influential womxn in your life and why?
My late English aunt, Jean. In the 1970s, Jean trained as a psychotherapist when she was in her 40s and a mother of 3 daughters, at a time when womxn with families were not expected to have careers. She was a very loving and generous soul who came back into my life at a critical stage.
How do you maintain mental fitness/emotional health?
I’ve practiced yoga for over 20 years, it’s helped me through some challenging times. I walk regularly.
What brings you joy and vitality?
Connecting with others. Big cities – I love their buzz and energy! Family, reading, writing, watching films, yoga.
How do you nurture your relationship with nature?
Gardening, walking in nature.
Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?
I was born in London UK and my parents relocated to Sydney when I was 10 years old where I lived until my late twenties when I moved to Brisbane. I feel at home in Brisbane, Sydney and some parts of the UK, but I have an uncanny and inexplicable affinity with Greece and Scotland.
Where do you live/work?
I’m based in Brisbane (Turrbal Jagera country) and am frequently in Sydney (in the Eora nation of the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples) where I now have a second home.
When you’re down, how do you get back up?
I try to reach out and connect with people. And sometimes I plan the next trip away, even if just for a weekend.
As an elder, how do you see your role in life; what responsibility do you feel?
I feel a responsibility to look after our planet and do as much as possible to nurture it amid catastrophic climate change predictions.
Emma came to Australia with her parents as a young child of just ten years. Her experiences as an immigrant – a person who arrives from elsewhere to live permanently in a foreign country – inform her keenness in travel, exploration, and research to understand how people live together among strangers in cities. While Emma enjoys a sense of belonging in several places, many of us feel like stranded strangers in our own lives irrespective of where we live. WomxnConnect provides a safe space for us to reach out to each other and discover that we are not strangers after all. We recognise and support each other’s experiences.