WHO IS FRANCINE?
Even back in the late 80s, as a young child, tucked away in her hot pink room with walls plastered in band posters and poetry, surrounded by books, art, music, scrunched up notes-to-self and artefacts that were foretelling of who she'd become and the life she would live, Francine knew that her world would be one filled richly with the Arts and magic pursuits of ideas, passion, connection and adventure.
Now, as a grown woman (but still with a deeply spirited and alive inner child), Francine can tell many tall tales of that life lived and how every single one of those tales - spanning across twenty years of multifarious work and life experiences - has shaped what she offers up to you today. One of Francine's greatest strengths is her ability to seize opportunities, collect moments and connect every dot so that each lesson, encounter, experience and minutiae is stitched together like a patchwork quilt, all of it seamlessly working together to fuel her work.
Not that she really calls any of it work. She lives and breathes what she does with an undeniable, boundless passion and energy.
In her twenty years as an educator, Francine has harnessed every opportunity to stretch and grow, and develop a unique and innovative pedagogical approach to teaching and learning that has forever been driven by student well being, engagement and voice, creativity and inquiry. She has lived and taught in Tokyo, where she helped develop inquiry and play-based learning experiences for young students learning English in juku. In her time working at Hume City Council's OSHC services, Francine was part of a pilot project team tasked with developing creative approaches in the OSHC programs, which led her to help Council coordinate a leading OSHC conference and speak on providing creative experiences on a budget for children in funds-depraved OSHC. She went on to lead more pilot projects (and developed a burning love for the innovation and collaboration that pilot projects delivered!), which included working for Mission Australia to develop an after school program, working with vulnerable, at-risk students to help them enhance important life skills to help them better transition to high school.
When, finally, all of these experiences led her to Sunshine Heights Primary school where she has worked as a Visual Arts and Multimedia teacher for over a decade. It was here, in this amazing school, that Francine truly grew into herself as a teacher and leader. In her decade at the school, Francine has run an abundance of student-led groups focused on engagement, student voice and well being, created and implemented an innovative Multimedia program with a focus on digital storytelling and using technology to benefit the human spirit, developed an innovative and one-of-a-kind choice-based, 'teaching for artistic behaviour' Visual Arts program with her incredible co-worker and creative partner in crime - Aasta Dearnaley, produced a plethora of community-based events, worked on many important project teams and led the Specialist team to great things across seven years as Specialist team leader.
Francine's passion and expertise undoubtedly lie in the realm of student-driven learning, choice-based education, student voice, community engagement through Arts and storytelling, as well as connecting, leading and advocating for Specialist teams and programs. She is committed not only to empowering young people, but empowering all the adults in their lives too, so that together we can raise future leaders of our world.
But Francine's experience as an Art Educator is not limited to school settings. She has gone on to take her unique approach to Arts Education into gallery spaces too and for the past two years, she has developed, and facilitated, an innovative Social Justice Arts Program for Teens at Incinerator Gallery with incredible outcomes including a highly successful exhibition of work by enlightened young voices around issues of social justice important to them. She has presented on this innovative program at the Braver! Bolder! conference for gallery and museum educators too. She also co-teaches the Gallery Sketchers program at Incinerator Gallery.
Francine has also run a number of art workshops for local community and private events such as The Substation in Newport and Multicultural Arts Victoria Emerge Festivals.
It's not just her experience as an educator that shapes the work Francine does. As a fervent writer with an equal numbers of years' of writing as teaching under her belt, Francine's love of capturing human stories also drives a lot of her work with communities and schools. She has studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT, spent years interviewing musicians for Melbourne's then-lucrative street press and writing children's book reviews for Buzz Words, managed a team of over 200+ volunteer writers in her former role as Melbourne co-editor of music website Inthemix.com.au, had articles on innovative education and the importance of Arts Education published in Redfern journal and Mindful Parenting Magazine and had her fiction work shortlisted and published too. Francine knows not only a deep love for words, but truly understands their power and how people can capture and communicate stories to build rich, strong communities.
Francine doesn't just talk the talk on creativity, she lives it. Her life is rich with her own artistic and creative pursuits. She regularly pursues her love of dance, creates and makes daily, writes daily too, immerses herself in new and interesting courses all the time, makes time for desire mapping and forever has her head buried in a book sucking up new knowledge. She has travelled the world and danced barefoot on the hot concrete of African Ballet schools. She lives on a healthy diet of Brené Brown, Simon Sinek, Ken Robinson and Danielle LaPorte. And, as a lifelong learner with three degrees under her hat (Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma in Education and Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing) and a Master of Arts in Arts Management on its way, she's just as committed to keeping her own fire lit as she is helping others light theirs.
Her experiences are a rich tapestry and her life a cupboard of curiosities that help her connect deeply and creatively to the world around her and the people in it. And it is all of these things, tightly woven together, that help her deliver to you endless creative possibilities and empowerment.