Dream big for little girls

a project of jane harbison

Jane hired me to film an exceptional and unique event: a gathering of girls aged 11-14. In a typical Australian Bush setting, they met women artists, learned how to create their own universe by conceiving a dream bedroom like an interior decorator would. The idea was to encourage them, empower them, help them feel more confident through creativity.

To know more about this project, and the great work Jane is doing, I interviewed her below.

Music by Richard Wüerst - Unterm Balcon Serenade, Op. 78 - String sextet, solo on viola.

Artists: Megan Morton - Stylist, Annabelle Hickson - Writer, photographer and flower guru - Pip Williams - Family photographer - Virginia Bishop - Interior decorator, Flore Vallery-Radot - Filmmaker.

Where do you come from?
I grew up in Texas Queensland Australia on a property my family still own and I have the good fortune to be able to visit with my beautiful husband and son, part of the next generation

What’s your professional background?
For 20 years I did accounting. At school I thought it would be a safe option, something I could do anywhere in the world (I wanted to work and travel). But I didn't love it, so I wasn't going to invest the time and curiosity required to get really good at something.
At 40 I turned to creativity and I haven't looked back. Truth is I should have always splashed around in this space.
At school I chose subjects that I thought would help me get a good TE Score – maths, chemistry, french. Problem was I was really good at art, home economics (particularly clothes design/fabrics) and history.
I don't want girls to make the same mistake. I want them to trust that what they are good at and what they love doing will take them somewhere special - even if they don't know where that is.

Why do you think girls still need help to grow to become who they want to be in this world?
Because there is anxiety about an uncertain future and this is making them unhappy. The creative process we teach has the girls getting comfortable with uncertainty. They gain a process for taking the 'next step' and that is all we need to do to keep moving forward. We get stuck. Nothing happens. We get anxious.
They understand where they are at in the process and what they need to do. It takes the anxiety out of not knowing. It is liberating.

When and how did you start working on this project?
I was sitting on the stage at Speech Day. I have sat on a couple of school boards/councils, so I have the privilege of watching kids graduate each year. As I watched them, I hoped they were going to go out into the world happy, loving what they do and being meaningful contributors to the world around them.
This, combined with hearings many teenagers grapple with what they want to do and be. It made me start thinking, 'what can I do to make this possible and how can I make this exploration fun?” This is why we use creativity to teach the creative process.

What was the goal of the workshop I filmed?
I wanted to tell the story of creativity - girls learning something new, pushing aside their doubt, facing their fears and taking risks together. As a result they create something unique and beautiful. There is a wonderful story of Millie Thompson who had been thinking about a leadership role in her junior school (year 6). Being inspired by the women at one of our events gave her the confidence to go for it. She did and she got it. There are more stories like this.

What’s the next step?
We want to reach more girls. We have successfully done face to face workshops for the last two years but it is time to take it online, so anyone anywhere can tap into the goodness. Of course we will always run special face to face events but I believe it is so important to give more people the opportunity to learn. I wish I had access to this as a tween/teen.
We like the girls to start with our online 5 Day Creative Challenge. It opens the girls up to possibilities that they just didn't think about before. It is a fun and purposeful.

 Where can we follow your adventure?
Our Challenges, Teen Journal Profit Share Program (commercialising creativity) and special creative events can all be found at www.dreamingbigforlittlegirls.com
Join the facebook community - Raising Confident Creative Girls - https://www.facebook.com/DreamingBigforLittleGirls/
On Insta - @dreamingbigforlittlegirls
Just after a little meme inspo - https://www.pinterest.com.au/raisingconfidentcreativegirls/memes/