Bringing Creativity Into Everything

Recently, I’ve been spending time with an incredible human called Hannah Moloney. Hannah is a permaculture educator, community worker, designer and best-selling author. She presents from Lutruwita/Tasmania on the ABC’s Gardening Australia. She is a time rebel as defined by Roman Krznaric in his book, The Good Ancestor.

‘Krznaric’s concept of the time rebel is the embodiment of both the individual and collective in pursuit of long term intergenerational justice and well-being of generations[,] decades, centuries, even millennia into the future…

The concept is, in other words, best understood as a kind of genealogy, a comparison Krznaric makes in relation to [Māori] culture in which everybody, whether living, dead or unborn, is seen as part of a great chain of life:

“There’s a [Māori] word for this. It’s called fakaapaapa [sic], the idea that we are all in the great chain that stretches far into the past and long into the future. And I think this is the kind of mentality that we need to embody and engender.”’ (LINK)

Hannah Moloney is also an artist.

Hannah has joined us as one of our Ten Artists; as we look ahead over the next two Festivals we are introducing ten key artists who feature in our program and we will be following their creative journey to tell the story of their practice and their work. A lot of people are surprised to hear that Hannah is joining us in this space as she has such a strong profile in the gardening world. As she herself would say, she is a gardener. But Hannah has the music in her and I believe she brings her creativity into everything she does.

I was fortunate to meet Hannah through a Ten Days on the Island team member and I immediately recognised a kindred spirit, someone who is passionate about telling stories to change hearts and minds. Hannah believes in the power of the arts to bring people together and shift behaviour and thinking. She also embodies colour – herself and her world are a visual feast of joy and life from her pink hair to her hot pink and green house to the riotous colour of her garden. She talks of the garden as her canvas and she has a long-term concept in her mind of the colours and shapes she wants to create, sometimes over years as she waits for certain plantings to grow.

She trained in community cultural development, which starts with the support of local community cultures as a critical aspect of belonging and identity, working in cultural spaces that are increasingly globalised and commoditised as an act of resistance against essentialism and universalism (as defined by The University of Queensland). From there she has traversed the world of climate activism and landed in this place with her hands in the earth but always, always thinking ahead to future generations and the work she can do to build a better world.

Hannah believes we are all inherently creative and that it’s okay, indeed encouraged, to have a crack even though you may not be the world’s best. I consider the concept of artistry often and inherent ability versus training in your craft. Is it really the case that we are all creative in some way and if we spend our ten thousand hours practising or honing our skills, we will become masters? Malcolm Gladwell popularised the notion of the 10,000-hour rule in his book, Outliers, but argues that the concept has been simplified by critics somewhat.

‘No one succeeds at a high level without innate talent, I wrote: “achievement is talent plus preparation.” But the ten-thousand-hour research reminds us that “the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals. Nobody walks into an operating room, straight out of a surgical rotation, and does world-class neurosurgery. And second—and more crucially for the theme of Outliers—the amount of practice necessary for exceptional performance is so extensive that people who end up on top need help. They invariably have access to lucky breaks or privileges or conditions that make all those years of practice possible.’ (‘Complexity and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule’, The New Yorker, 21 August 2013 LINK)

What I love about Hannah is that she brings all of her training and life experience to her work, and in the process reminds us that we too can bring about change in ourselves and the world around us. We are working alongside Hannah to create a joyful experience of collective activism for the next Ten Days on the Island – there will be stories, singing and most definitely disco. You can hear more about her and what inspires her on our inaugural Starter for Ten podcast. Follow her journey as Hannah breaks out her inner artist for our 2025 Festival; we can’t wait to see what she dreams up for all of us.

Marnie Karmelita
Artistic Director


Additional reading list:

Hannah Moloney, The Good Life: How to Grow A Better World, Affirm Press (2021) LINK

Hannah Moloney, Good Life Growing: How to Grow Fruit and Veg Anywhere in Australia, Affirm Press (2023) LINK

Roman Krznaric, The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World, WH Allen (2021) LINK

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success, Penguin Press (2017) LINK

Photo: Natalie Mendham
Design Partner: Futago