Category Archives: Art Projects

Novel November FAQ

This year I’m taking the first steps to develop my 2040 vision of a speculative fiction Riverland.

Thanks to a National Regional Arts Fellowship I will undertake a month-long self-directed writing residency this November in Barmera. Across the month I’ll be learning, writing, ideating, exploring, reflecting and documenting as I ask myself and my community: What would a version of the Riverland full of dragons and magic look like (and how can that help us better care for and build the real Riverland)?

My long-term vision is that the fantasy world version of the Riverland created through Novel November will become a framework for future stories, theatre projects, visual art exhibitions, cosplay, LARP and other things here in my community over the coming years.

You can find a full list of ways to be involved in workshops, write-ins and celebrations for Novel November here:

The rest of this post covers some anticipated Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Speculative Fiction?

The Oxford Dictionary definition of speculative fiction is: a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.

It’s basically an umbrella category for a whole bunch of genres that tell stories outside of the “real world”. Speculative fiction includes:

  • science fiction
  • fantasy
  • horror
  • paranormal
  • superhero fiction
  • alternate history
  • utopian fiction
  • dystopian fiction
  • supernatural fiction
  • ghost stories

Through Novel November, I am most interested in exploring fantasy, but there may be other elements of speculative fiction that develop.

Did you say 2040 vision? Isn’t that a long way away?

Yup. It is and a lot will change in twenty years, including me and the Riverland, and what we want and need. Everything could (and will) go in many different directions but my big ambitious 2040 vision is something like a Sleep No More crossed with Sovereign Hill crossed with Evermore Park kind of experience in the Riverland. We may get nowhere near that but I hope to have a lot of fun with my collaborators exploring a whole bunch of outcomes within our fictional magical Riverland over the next few years at least.

So what kind of outcomes are you imagining in the short-term then?

The month-long residency will determine some of what that looks like, but what I am currently imagining is that by the end of the residency in November I will have some core characters and a handful of written pieces (most likely short stories and poetry, but perhaps other bits) created by me and workshop participants. Next year I’d then like to bring 3-5 of those characters to life through some costume design workshops and take them out and about to local Riverland events, and perhaps a photography outcome from that too. I’d also like to do an exhibition at Part of Things of concept art responding to writing from Novel November 2021. I’m already in conversation with my illustrator friend Samuel Wannan about making that happen. In 2023, I’d love to aim for creating a short live performance experience set in the world and featuring one of the characters/stories. Alongside this, I want to keep working with Riverland writers to keep growing the collection of stories and bring them to life with other collaborators – I’m thinking there could be some outcomes here similar to the We Love Dragons merch collaboration. I’d love to develop a Games Jam using the settings and concept of the world we create in a year or so (check out Wretched & Alone for some idea of what a Games Jam can be) and I can see lots of other potential ways to bring our world to life with different collaborators and formats in the coming years.

Who owns the content created during Novel November?

I’ll be asking all participants in Novel November to sign a Workshop Participation Deed, which outlines expectations for any shared content developed during Novel November. Individual creators will retain copyright to individual pieces of work and we will negotiate share/licensing agreements where appropriate. We are trying to build an overall world/concept that many people can create in without fear, but it is also important that the work of individual creators is respected and cared for. My big 2040 vision does have an economic element to it as I want to build a structure that could create employment for Riverland artists, young people and other small businesses.

How do I get involved or follow what you’re doing?

If you live in the Riverland, sign up and attend any of the free workshops I’m facilitating for Novel November. Details here.

I will be posting a work-in-progress blog every Wednesday in November and live-writing throughout the month, so people from anywhere can follow along that way.

I’ll also be sharing updates on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Do I need to be creative to get involved with Novel November?

Absolutely not! The workshops will all be writing focused but everyone is welcome, you can just sit in and listen. There are so many skills I don’t have to be able to bring the 2040 vision to life, so the more the merrier. Bring ideas, listen, share, connect and contribute in whatever way suits you.


Got a question I haven’t covered? Flick me an email with your question and I will add my answer to this post.

Alysha Herrmann’s Novel November Residency is supported by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.



I made a stop motion animation for a uni assignment last month (October 2016).

500 or so individual pages with hand drawn images in black texta.

I passed the assignment, so yay on that front.

And now I have 500ish sheets of paper that I am giving another life to.

I’m recycling them into snail mail as a rolling project of connection, hello and sharing for anyone who wants in.

So if you’d like a letter/poem/something else sent to you or someone you know, just email me with the address details and who you’d like it addressed to. Put ‘Envelope(d)’ as the subject line.

pressurelands AT me DOT com

Or fill out the contact form below.



The Third Place, Creative Producer

I’ve been employed by Carclew as the Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts, a joint initiative of City of Onkaparinga since July 2013.

ExpressWay Arts is an umbrella term which covers a series of philosophically connected projects and artistic interventions with young people living in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. My approach as Creative Producer has been to develop three core strategies to nurture young artistic and cultural leaders in this region:

  • initiating, nurturing and investing in a youth arts ensemble making socially engaged performance work (Kids Against Humanity)
  • commissioning and developing a series of projects/outcomes with artists that happen in public space and explore the boundaries of ‘open art making’ with young people in these spaces (examples include The Third Place and My Beautiful Radio Station)
  • developing foundation relationships with Aboriginal young people and local cultural leaders to amplify the artistic voices of Aboriginal young people (including a pilot Yarning Group project in collaboration with Christies Beach High School in 2016)

I have a commitment to nurturing young people who have faced barriers to arts access/expression and in other areas of their lives and as a result many of our projects are socially challenging (for professional artists and young artists, for our community and our audiences) and operate as both artistic experiences and platforms for youth advocacy/development.

The Third Place (2016)

An audio theatre work in Ramsay Place, Noarlunga Centre

Created by Brienna Macnish

Sound design and composition by Robert D Jordan

Creative Producer Alysha Herrmann

The Third Place would not exist without everyone who shared their stories about the Green Area. Thank you to Ashley Yeo-Megeny, Kyle Whennan, Tyler Turnbull, Portia Clark, Jayda Harwood, Jessie McGrath, Tammy Dean, Molly Wilson, Lou Rankine, Bonnie Goergens, Jake Waring, Taylea Fry, Alan Jones, Sebby “Kitty” Rivera, Eryka Burns, Brandon Hogben and Jessica Salter.

Residency: 17-21 February 2016

Listening Sessions: 8-17 April 2016 (Youth Week)

Third Places are welcoming and open to anyone and everyone, they are the places we go to meet with the people we know and perhaps with people we don’t. But what happens when individuals or communities don’t have the social, cultural or financial capital to feel comfortable in these Third Places? What happens when people – especially young people – try and create Third Places for themselves? – Brienna Macnish

Audience feedback:

Council person observation Third Place 2016

“You look at them (young people) and think one thing about them and then you hear their stories and you get a better understanding of what issues and struggles they’re dealing with.”

“It’s important to have adults hear this work and understand us better.”

“Loved it. It was awesome.”

“It was great / challenging / intriguing / almost voyeuristic feeling to do it in the space and watch the area from a distance and understand the full context. It was intimate and public all at once, and that’s what that space came across as for those young people who inhabit it.”

“I found it really thought provoking and it challenged my preconceived ideas of why people would ‘hang out’ all day at Colonnades. While I still think there are other options, the work helped me understand how and why people can spiral into this lifestyle.”

“I was privileged to experience The Third Place at an afternoon session on Friday 8 April. I was keen to experience the work because I knew that Alysha Herrmann had selected the artists and my expectation was that the work would be successful. It surpassed my expectation, due in part to the fact that as participants/listeners we were in situ – we could hear the work in our ears and see Ramsay Place in action in front of our eyes. I was surprised by the number of times I found myself being impressed by the vitality, bravery and foresight of the young participants who were interviewed. (…) I would strongly urge anyone to experience the work and also to engage Alysha and Brienna to undertake similar processes with other communities or sectors of the community in need.” – Anthony Peluso, Country Arts SA

Other photos of current and past ExpressWay Arts projects can be seen on the ExpressWay Arts instagram account here:

Futher detail on recent ExpressWay Arts projects here:



Another Elusive Maybe

AEM promo image 1

“Amidst all the rabble about the true meaning of Fringe, I can tell you that this is it. Real art that pushes the boundaries – art that is completely different to anything you’ve experienced before.” Jen St Jack, Great Scott


Every show performed in a different lounge room. A one woman theatre experiment asking “How can we feel so alone surrounded by people who love us?”


“The sound of a baby crying

The sound of a kettle boiling

The sound of a dog howling

The sound of a closing door”



Another Elusive Maybe was a performance experiment presented as part of the Adelaide Fringe 2016. Each ‘show’ was presented in a different (real life) lounge-room for a maximum of 8 people per show. The performance incorporated poetry & soundscape (via silent disco headsets), live text message conversations (with each individual audience member) and expressing breast milk.


What does motherhood, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and mummy worries have to say about how we all connect in a world overloaded with sorrow?


“Nine people – performer and audience – sit in a suburban lounge room. We are ostensibly together, hearing the same words and seeing and doing the same things. We are intimate, and yet, we are isolated.” – Jenn St Jack, Great Scott


“There are so many simple, yet sophisticated layers to this wonderfully human work providing deep food for thought about the issues Herrmann set out to explore and experiment on. You feel comforted by what you hear, because the delivery takes the sting out of the real struggle those words are dealing with, as much as you love the genuine warmth and joy there too. Equally, because of this, you feel at ease anonymously having a frank and honest discussion about some deep things. You are in a comforting place known to most, a lounge room.” – David O’Brien, The Barefoot Review


Anonymous audience feedback (via text message)

“A BIG WoW!!! Thankyou!!! Really made me think….and feel! x”

“Wow. I’m literally blown away by how you guys create art. Like what makes you think this is the way I want to perform this story!! Yes well job well done!!! I hope you feel proud to try and make your way through this fucked up beautiful world!!”

“I really enjoyed it and I think I talked to my partner about it longer than it went for. I read the whole leaflet afterwards. Even yesterday. And that’s the thing with art and with what you did, you don’t know how long it lasts or when it takes hold. (….) I like that you talked about what we (I) think about. (…) Thanks again, so much for the inspiration. You at least made a difference here.”

“How do you this with kids? It must nearly break you surely. I feel like crying right now. From inspiration and appreciation, sadness for what I’m not doing. (….) Thank you for sharing. I loved and appreciated it. Hugely.”

“Impressed with your ability to maintain mulit threads of convo. I keep forgetting to listen while typing/reading. Which in itself is interesting..”

“This (your performance) is the strangest combination of intimate yet distant, personal yet remote, familiar yet unusual. Fascinating.”

“Very tightly structured, rich, densely packed with poetic fantasy and reality.”


audience feedback image


Another Elusive Maybe

By Alysha Herrmann & Ryan Morrison

Public season, Adelaide Fringe 2016

16 & 23rd February, 8th March

Various lounge rooms.

Another Elusive Maybe Program Zine PDF

Listen to the headset audio from AEM:


Interview with The Upside News, which sheds light on the impetus and ideas behind Another Elusive Maybe:

Great Scott Review by Jen St Jack:

The Barefoot Review by David O’Brien:


Terror 2015


His terror runs from him.


In rivers. In tiny rivulets. Down his face. His arms. His hands.


He doesn’t understand.


Her words. Thrown into cyberspace so arrogantly. So neatly. In capital letters.




There is a song by a UK group of artists called Mass Destruction and there’s a line


“Fear is a weapon of mass destruction.”


Yes, fear is a weapon of mass destruction.



I’m making a new thing. #elusivemaybes

Every show performed in a different lounge room. A one woman theatre experiment asking “How can we feel so alone surrounded by people who love us?”


“The sound of a baby crying

The sound of a kettle boiling

The sound of a dog howling

The sound of a closing door”

Sing Me Your Sorrow Installation Day 1

Image: Sing Me Your Sorrow, presented at Crack Theatre Festival 2013

What: Another Elusive Maybe is a small-scale performance experience designed for the intimate surroundings of actual real life lounge rooms. Limited to a maximum audience of 8 people per show, the experience incorporates soundscape, poetry, performance and live text message conversations.

Through the lens of parenting a small child, this is an art experience about loneliness and love and community and how we don’t ask for help. Parents of small children in particular will resonate with Another Elusive Maybe, though anyone who has ever felt lost and conflicted about their choices may also see themselves reflected.

Another Elusive Maybe is an independent project by South Australian artists. There’s no budget and no funding and none of the artists are getting paid.* This project is an experiment. Exploring a number of ideas about the kind of work I want to make in the future. As such this iteration is unlikely to be fully resolved and will see future development. Audiences at Adelaide Fringe will be the first to get an invite to future developments. So come and see inside the process of making new things!

*even selling all the tickets won’t fully cover the cost of fringe registration, equipment and fuel!


Another Elusive Maybe is a biographical musing (by me obviously) in collaboration with Ryan Morrison. Ryan and I met through our shared experiences with Riverland Youth Theatre (though we didn’t engage with RYT at the same time, we stumbled across each other later) and we’ve collaborated on a number of projects over the last five years. Most recently I loaned my voice to Ryan’s ‘Shapes in Deep Shadow’, a multi-modal, meta-fictional work Ryan completed as part of his Creative Writing Masters. Experience it here:

Ryan is a clever multi-form artist playing in the writing and sound/music space mostly. He also does a rad daily comic over at

I’m assuming if you are reading this here, you already know me, but if not, more about me and who I am here:

and ye olde bio here:

Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, regional artist and advocate working across disciplines in the arts, education, community development, social justice and social enterprise. She is a writer, theatre-maker, cultural producer and the current Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts. Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including most recently the 2015 Kirk Robson Award, 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award and was named by SA Life as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30 in 2014. Alysha also tweets tiny poems as @lylyee and blogs about living a creative life at


Curious? Come and see the thing, these are the deets:


When & Where:

16th Feb, 23rd Feb, 8th March

All shows 8pm

All tickets $15

Book at

*location will be emailed in the week before selected performance

Running time approx. 40minutes

Bring your mobile phone and keep it turned on. Free cookie at every show.


And if you can’t make the Fringe dates, rustle up a group of friends (5-8, including yourself) and book the show for your own loungeroom in March/April. Contact me directly for this pressurelands AT me DOT come.





Baby Sounds #crowdsource #help

Amaya Crying

Dear friends who have (or once had) small children I am making a thing and I need your help.

I am looking for audio recordings (video is fine, but I will only use the audio) of two things:

  • babies/toddlers crying and/or screaming
  • babies/toddlers laughing or other happy sounds

I know I must have other weird friends who record these things. I am only using the audio so you/your child will not be recognizable. If you can help please email me files or dropbox link etc to

Grow into it #sprout #regionaltour #crowdfund #artpatron

Sprout Image

Image by Louella Pleffer (via Jessica Bellamy)


One of the independent projects I have on the go this year is producing a regional tour of a gorgeous little play by Australian writer Jessica Bellamy.

This project came about through a desire of mine to share the beautiful story of Sprout with some of the community I love, at the same time as investing in South Australian emerging talent. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the 2015 Kirk Robson Award earlier this year and decided that I wanted to use the award to reinvest in my communities and in arts experiences for others – especially emerging artists and audiences. Some of the Kirk Robson Award has gone towards the beginning of a new multi-year project in Berri (Manifold Portrait) and the rest towards bringing Sprout to life in some of the communities I know and love.

I approached emerging Adelaide director Hannah Fallowfield to direct the play after seeing some of the work she was doing last year through my involvement with Urban Myth. I was really impressed and interested in the ‘artistic eye’ and passion she brings to things and wanted to foster further directing opportunities for her. I also had a feeling that she’d love Sprout as much as I did.

Anyway – you can read the full story over on our Pozible campaign and if you feel taken, drop us $2 towards the project and score yourself a fun reward of your choice!

Elusive Maybes #makethings #lovearts #elusivemaybes


Tied in/ an untangled maybe/ shouting, whispering, pleading/ maybe I will, maybe I will//   

I should most definitely be sleeping.

I want to be sleeping.

It’s 1.23am and I’m exhausted and have to be up by 6:30am for a full day.

But something is brewing in my brain and wouldn’t let me fold myself quietly into sleep. This is very rare for me. I usually sleep easy.

I’m thinking about a project.

A story I want to tell.

And it’s getting louder.

Crashing against the fringes of all the other things right in front of me. Insistently asking me to untangle its possibility. It’s been creeping slowly around the edges of my thoughts for a little while. Tentatively connecting a dot here, a dot there. And now it’s roaring so loudly I can’t hear myself think.

I think I’m doomed.

To live this life always hungry. Always yearning. Always chasing these elusive maybes. Untangling these seams of unheard.  Driven.

So I’ll pour some words onto paper now and hope that’ll be enough to still the maybes for today.

Hope sleep is finding you more pliable.


Marry Me #writeme30


Much love/ too much/ too many/ they say/ but maybe/ not enough/ rough the edges of your jealously/ with maybes//


The Photo:

Threesome photo Seb                                          Photo supplied by Seb Robertson



The Response:



My love and I were legally married a year ago. Because we are heterosexual, a man and a woman, we were allowed to have our union legally recognized in Australia.


Because I was born with girl bits and my love was born with boy bits, through no design on our parts.


We talked about not getting married, as a kind of boycott in our way.


But reflecting on the limited influence we have, we felt that the people we were most likely to influence to think kindly of marriage equality were more likely to become defensive about their position (and therefore hold onto it tighter) in response to any boycott on our part and that perhaps instead our wedding could be a moment to share both our commitment to each other and our views and hopefully influence those in our circle against marriage equality with compassion instead.


We opened our ceremony with this:


Marriage has meant lots of different things to different people, places and times.


Historically speaking, there have been as many ways to wed as there are people and societies. Depending on the culture and era, marriage could be between two or more people, might or might not include living together or children, might be between strangers where the family arranges everything, and might well be acknowledged as legal without a vow being said. It might only be valid when dowry or bride-price is paid or be invalidated if monetary consideration is given, it might require consent of every living parent and an entire community to witness or it might require nothing more than a quiet promise said when utterly alone together. The crucial point was the will of those involved to be married and their commitment to stay that way.


For Alysha and Nic their wedding is an opportunity to bring together the people they love – the people who make up their community – all of you, to publicly acknowledge and celebrate their commitment to each other AND their thanks to all of you for being part of the community that helps keep the cogs turning in their lives.


Alysha and Nic would also like to acknowledge the significant social symbolism and recognition of marriage with the following passage:


“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.


Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.


It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.” Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.”


Today is an opportunity for Nic and Alysha to publicly share the private vows and commitment they have made and to formalize those vows through legal and social recognition – to remind themselves and their community of loved ones how important connection, commitment and care is in our daily lives.


I’d like to invite all of you as Alysha and Nic’s loved ones to give your blessing to this formal union. Do you as the community which supports and loves this couple offer your blessing and support now and in the future?


GUESTS: We do.


We also had this note within our wedding invitation:


*Note – Nic and Alysha fully support and believe in marriage equality under Australian (secular) law and while we feel that boycotting a legal marriage ceremony ourselves would have no impact whatsoever on changing the law, we hope that through celebrating our story and community, you might consider being part of recognizing this important legal change through your future vote.



Maybe our stance, our gentle (not entirely subtle point) had no impact whatsoever and we were just able to benefit from fitting the current laws expectations. But I hope something of it stayed with people. Sank in, just a little.


What does this have to do with Seb’s photo? Nothing and everything. But two things specifically.


One of the common arguments I hear against marriage equality is the ‘slippery slope’ one – this is the ‘if we let gay couples marry each other then * gasp * poly couple or incestuous couples or pedophiles or someone might want to get married’ argument.


There are lots of great breakdowns of why this argument is ridiculous and I won’t rehash them here except to say legally only adult humans can consent to a legally binding contract (marriage) so any comments about pedophilia or bestiality are just plain stupid.


As to the rest, well quite frankly why does where other people put their bits have anything at all to do with you (or anyone else)? If it isn’t harming anyone involved or anyone outside the relationship then actually who cares if it does lead to poly marriages or incest marriages?


I’ve seen no conclusive evidence that poly marriages are harmful to children or families within them (the opposite comes through in most research I’ve read) and in regards to incest, it’s icky because we’re been taught it’s icky because if everyone fucked close relatives that messes with the gene pool and heightens the risk of disabled/unhealthy children (so we’ve all taught one another that it’s icky to avoid that shit). That’s a tricky one because that does have a health impact that others foot the bill for (taxes – public healthcare) but if we follow that logic, anyone with dodgy genes that could result in a sick/disabled child also shouldn’t be able to get married, right?


My point being, I’m not going to do any sexy things with anyone I’m blood related to personally but why is it a problem if someone else does? – again with the proviso that BOTH are consenting adults at the commencement of the relationship?


Whose business is it?


And I don’t buy that’s it because everyone is bothered because of the potential power imbalance or emotional safety that they have a problem with it – BECAUSE if you were, you’d all be making a bigger stink about domestic violence (which is at you know EPIDEMIC proportions).


People need to get out of other people’s bedrooms.


The other thing this has to do with Seb’s photo. Suicide rates are significantly higher among LQBTIQ young people. I’d hazard a pretty strong guess that one of the reasons for that is that we still live in a world, that while more tolerant of diverse sexuality than a generation ago, we still live in a world that at almost every turn diminishes and silences and turns away people of diverse sexuality. Marriage is just a symbol, but it’s a very powerful one, one that is imbedded in our social conscious, in our TV shows and movies and books. And so as a symbol, by remaining only open to heterosexual couples, it’s a symbol that says loud and clear ‘your love means less and is less. You are not welcome here’.


And I’m not okay with that. I’m not okay with that at all.


PS – Look at the expression on Seb’s face! Sex is a natural part of life, something we should be able to laugh at and enjoy – not something that should trap and diminish people because some people disagree with how they do it….


This is probably a post where I’m trying to make too many points and simplifying complex thoughts into only a few words. But hey, so be it.


The Contributor:


Seb Robertson. Founder of Batyr – Giving a voice to the elephant in the room. @BatyrAus Social Entrepreneur. Interested in economics, sustainability and renewable energy.


That’s what his twitter profile says anyway.


In my experience Seb is an entirely charming fellow, clean cut, talking and walking the ‘right’ way but still entirely approachable and brimming with compassion. He’s basically too awesome to ever be jealous of. Seb and I met as Australian delegates attending the Commonwealth Youth Forum in 2011, where I was entirely happy to be one of his minions for much of the event because I trusted the vision he was trying to articulate. He’s one to watch ladies and gents.


He was also a 2013 Cleo Bachelor of the Year Nominee, which I hope he never lives down.


When he sent me this photo, he captioned it with “Good luck with this one!!!”