Sharing experiences on Country
Project Officer Shandell Cummings recently presented at the Our Business Forum in Roebourne. After a fascinating few days of learning, presentations, and connection, we asked her to write about the experience. Here is what she had to say. If you have a story to share, please make sure to submit it. We love hearing from you!
My name is Shandell and I am a Project Officer at Regional Arts WA, regionally based on Menang Country.
Recently I had the honour to present at the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub for WA’s (AACHWA) Our Business Forum held at Roebourne. The experience and the people I met are second to none and it was refreshing and welcomed to obtain professional development on Country while sharing experiences and knowledge about the First Nations art sector across the State.
AACHWA Youth Panel. Photo by Shandell Cummings.
We started the Forum with an awesome Welcome to Country by Aunty Pansy and from there we participated in a tour of the art centres located within Roebourne including the Ganalili Centre where we experienced a smoking ceremony to support our journeys throughout the week. On the afternoon of our first day, we were treated to a tour at the Murujuga National Park with the Murujuga Rangers as our Tour Guides. If you have never experienced this, or seen the centuries old rock art at Burrup, and the amazing work the Rangers do then put it on your bucket list.
The week continued and offered a multitude of presentations that informed us through many sessions and discussions. We participated in sessions that explained what is available to support First Nations artists and art centres; we heard about licensing agreements with Copyright Agency and what our rights are with Suzanne Derry at Arts Law; we explored Mental Health and Governance with facilitators from Evolve Training; and we were treated to a showcase of products and product development from the Art Centres.
The final day was the Symposium and arrived too quickly. The participant numbers grew exponentially, and we were treated with a panel of our emerging youth First Nations creatives. The First Nations art sector will be in safe hands going forward.
These forums are vital to the growth of the First Nations art sector and it is these opportunities where we can share knowledge and experiences that help us to grow. It is an opportunity to help ourselves but also showcase and support our Art Centres on Country. The week had over 100 First Nations artists and arts workers participate in PD; the attendance of 30 art centres and art organistaions; 78 commercial flights booked; approximately 640 meals catered; 203 nights of accommodation booked; and people travelled more that 80,000 km to attend the Forum.
The week went smoothly but was also flexible enough to allow things to happen when they needed to. It was a credit to the team at AACHWA that the space and the experience was one we will never forget.
Be on the lookout for me visiting your region in 2022!