Melinda Rackham: artist-in-residence March 2014

I arrived at Gunyah thinking I would unravel knotty issues in the structure of my first novel Attachment, planning days of writing and editing at a desk, with outcomes measured by wordcounts. What happened instead was an experience of slowing down - of becoming immersed into the natural and built environment, noticing the prolific wildlife and considering the heritage of the rough hewn trees that made the house. To stop and be is a powerful tool for gaining clarity and refreshing creative juices.

Melinda Rackham, Thinking, Gunyah foreshore & jetty March 2014

Nestled close to the eucalypt canopy, Gunyah’s balcony and window seat became my reading and writing studio. The perfect spot for observation - at once connected and removed just enough for perspective. Here a kookaburra visited me, meeting my stare, then running towards my feet and gently tasting my toe before flying off in search of an easier meal! Another day I witnessed a massive storm that wrecked havoc the district and neighbouring properties, while leaving Gunyah’s trees untouched.

Melinda Rackham, Window seat studio, 2014 Gunyah March AIR

There is a sense of safety and nurturance held in the tree walls of the house - walls that have witnessed a generation of family holidays and countless groups of friends conversing around the table after a day of reading or working in the garden. One can feel the resonance of salty sun tanned children laughing and squealing as they run up and down the stairs.

Melinda Rackham, Contemplation2014 Gunyah March AIR
Melinda Rackham, Textures2014 Gunyah March AIR
Gunyah was for me the perfect container to read more material for my memoir – research articles and look at more personal papers, letters and photos - which I could not have done at home with the distractions and responsibilities of daily life. While resting and contemplating I started another chapter of my memoir around my own adoption, and a rough draft for a magazine article on the hidden aspects of celebrity adoptions. I also surprised myself with a short playful piece inspired by the cheeky kookaburra. I will update you when all are published. Thank you Kath and the Gunyah Board for your generosity in making your wonderful house available for this artist-in-residence program.
Melinda Rackham

Melinda Rackham, My adoption2014 Gunyah March AIR
Dr Melinda Rackham is an writer, artist and curator, based in Adelaide, South Australia. Her digital, online interactive artworks have been exhibited and collected internationally. She has been a Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) and Adjunct Professor of Media and Communications at RMIT University. She is currently writing a memoir focused on adoption and identity. To find out more about Melinda's work go to her website and you can read her residency proposal at

Melinda Rackham visiting Sydney Biennale on Cockatoo Island,
on her way home to S.A., March 2014