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25 Years of WV: Interview with Isolde Lueckenhausen

The six years that Isolde Lueckenhausen spent on the Writers Victoria Committee of Management involved a series of transitions for the organisation. She was consecutively the Secretary, Deputy Chair and then Chair of the organisation. Isolde worked alongside three successive Directors (Joel Becker, Roderick Poole and Kate Larsen), “each with their own vision and strengths.”

Isolde became a member in 2007, when she was asked to bring her combination of legal and arts expertise to the Committee. At that stage, the organisation was still in the Nicholas Building and in the middle of updating its logo.

The move to The Wheeler Centre, the flagship building of the City of Literature, foreshadowed a whole new stage for the organisation: a new building, a new look, and a new name. Isolde worked with the Chair (Chris Thompson), Director (Joel Becker) and Committee to manage the legal and tenancy arrangements for the transition to The Wheeler Centre.

While there was initially some nervousness about moving, the prevailing feeling was that the resident organisations would be stronger together than apart and that the opportunities outweighed any risks. Isolde remembers that is was important to the Committee that members and broader Victorian writers community still felt very connected with the organisation and the space.

Isolde was also involved in the name (and logo) change from the Victorian Writers’ Centre to become Writers Victoria in 2011, which was partly initiated to avoid Writers Victoria being a ‘centre’ within a ‘centre’. The re-branding exercise, led by the then Director Roderick Poole, enlivened the whole look of the organisation and included a full redesign of The Victorian Writer magazine.

A passionate supporter of the mission of Writers Victoria, Isolde says she feels privileged to have been able to protect it, help it grow, and to carry the best of its history across to the Wheeler Centre. One of the organisation’s key strength, she says, is that its members still have a strong feeling of ownership over Writers Victoria – making it much more than just a service provider.

“At times, being on the board of an arts organisation is almost the equivalent of having a second job, given the limited resources, funding pressures and governance requirements, but it was a great pleasure to have worked with so many great staff, other volunteers and members” Isolde said.

“Congratulations Writers Victoria on 25 wonderful years supporting Victorian writers – may many more write, connect, edit and publish as a result of your presence in this City of Literature.”

Isolde was awarded Life Membership of Writers Victoria in 2013 for her contribution to the organisation.

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