Andy Jackson is an acclaimed poet and essayist. His work centres around concepts of difference and embodiment. He draws particular focus on his experience living with the genetic disorder, Marfan Syndrome. He is the winner of the 2022 ‘Writing the Future of Health’ fellowship and will work with the Health Transformation Lab over the next six months.
Andy’s fellowship project will focus on the concept ‘What will the future of health look like?” Under the title Collab/Oration, it will feature a series of collaborative poems, highlighting the experience of pandemics and natural disasters on people who are vulnerable, such as people living with disabilities.
“Through my own experience with the medical system over a long period of time, expanding this idea of what health is, is hugely important and I saw the Fellowship as a timely opportunity to explore this further by listening to a range of voices. I have a very strong sense that disabled people and immuno-compromised people are experts in their own lives and have a critical role to play in finding solutions to the problems they come up against” – Andy Jackson
Andy has been working in the literature space for many years and received high praise and awards for his previous collections such as, Among the Regulars (shortlisted for the 2011 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry), Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold (shortlisted for the 2020 John Bray Poetry Award) and Human Looking (shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry). Human Looking, his most recent collection gives direct insight into Andy’s life living with this disability.
“The poems in Human Looking speak with the voices of the disabled and the disfigured, in ways which are confronting, but also illuminating and tender. They speak of surgical interventions, and of the different kinds of disability which they seek to ‘correct’. They range widely, finding figures to identify with in mythology and history, art and photography, poetry and fiction.” – Andy Jackson
The collection received high praise from fellow Australian authors Christos Tsiolkas and Maria Takolander:
“Brutally honest, without a whiff of self-pity, Human Looking illuminates our bodies and all that is beautiful and difficult about them. These poems have heft, lyrically and emotionally, yet they soar. – Christos Tsiolkas
“Jackson puts himself on the line in a way few poets dare, and his fierceness and vulnerability are transformative. That’s why he is one of the best – most necessary, most powerful – poets in Australia today.” – Maria Takolander
The ‘Writing the Future of Health fellowship is part of the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund hosted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology as part of their new social innovation agenda.
“Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at the Health Transformation Lab, and there has never been a more critical time to bring imagination, creativity, deep insights and a diversity of voices and ideas to health systems and to the health of populations. Health innovation is not just the domain of public policy experts, economists, or designers. Transformative ideas – and transformative collaborations – must and do come from all directions. And the creative arts have a critical role to play in imagining and bringing forth exciting and positive futures.” – Vishaal Kishore, Director of the Health Transformation Lab
Andy Jackson’s fellowship will culminate in a public showcasing of his Collab/Oration project hosted by the Health Transformation Lab, later in 2022.
More information around Andy Jackson’s poetry and future collections can be found on his website, and more information about the Health Transformation Lab and their ‘Writing the Future of Health’ fellowship can be found on their website.