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Who would be up for two x 10-hour bus trips, a full-day conference, and a fashion parade in just 4 days? Iscariot is! 

Continuous improvement is a big part of what Iscariot strives for. We’re committed to building skills and knowledge in our team, and the WOW Festival was a fantastic opportunity to prompt learning and engagement.

Iscariot sponsored 4 team members to head to the Charleville WOW Festival in early June. We invited them to write a reflection. 

Kellie Bosanquet, Researcher

Setting out on this adventure I had no idea what to expect and I certainly had no idea what a fabulous experience it was going to be! Everywhere we went, from the bus ride to watching the amazing fashion show and attending the various workshops, there was a constant feeling of joy and celebration that was contagious. Hearing about the work of so many strong and confident women made me feel inspired to share my story with the people I met and empowered me to feel pride in who and what I have become on my own journey. I realised things about myself that I had never really considered before – things like I AM a feminist and people do find me interesting. Overall this was an experience I intend to repeat and I highly recommend that everyone take the chance to attend when it comes. 

For me, the main highlights were the fashion show, the F Word conversation, and the Styling Up workshop. The beautiful artwork in the textiles at the fashion show and the whole atmosphere of the night were fabulous. Seeing the artists wearing their designs topped the night off in the most exciting way, it really felt like a celebration. The F Word conversation started out with the question – Are you a Feminist? I didn’t have the confidence to answer that I was until after the panel had thoroughly unpacked what Feminism looks like today. Suffice it to say, YES I AM a Feminist, and I’m proud. Finally, the Styling Up workshop looked at dressing for your body type and has me now addressing my wardrobe and rethinking some of my choices with confidence that I can make the most of my shape.

Matrisse Watego, Creative designer

Going to WOW Charleville was an unexpected pleasure. I love a road trip but the thought of twelve hours on a bus there and back with no control over when and where we stopped was daunting. But right from the early Thursday morning start, things seemed to fall into place for a memorable weekend. 

It was a bit frosty rolling my bag down the very quiet street at 4:30 am to my sister’s place forty metres away, but a few extra layers made it bearable. We squeezed into the car and headed off to meet the bus at the WOW Office. I was nervous about the bus trip. Living in a bigger body causes all sorts of issues particularly squeezing into bus seats and seat belts. But the organisers were happy to accommodate, and my fears were alleviated with a seat to myself I settled in for the ride. In the end, the bus trip there and back was one of the highlights. We had a bit of fun, friendly chats, a lot of “comfort” stops, and a bit of silo spotto, a game we devised to pass the time, of which I feel I excelled. But being the furthest west in Queensland I have ever been, the outback scenery post-drought was beautiful. 

The Red Ridge Fashion Parade was another highlight of the trip. The turnout was great, and the community embraced the women of their region. Even though you could see some of the young models were a bit shame, they were encouraged by the audience and the Aunties that were also modelling their own designs. The story of how the women came together in a creative process was uplifting. I had a smile on my face from start to finish. 

Charlotte’s Nest is a café/homewares and fashion shop and was the venue for WOW Charleville. With a great outdoor space, it was just big enough to make me feel like I was at a backyard party with family and friends rather than a festival. For an introvert like me it was comforting and while there were plenty of people around it was not overwhelming. 

Taking WOW to the regions, especially to a town like Charleville which, like many regional towns, is struggling to survive can only be a good thing.