Finalist – Australia: Replenish the Earth – Voices from Aboriginal Australians
Project REARTH aims to promote social justice. By training young Aboriginal participants in film and photography, this project will document stories from the original custodians of Australian land, resulting in a locally produced and locally directed series of short films and photo-essays exploring issues including land rights, cultural preservation and connection to country . The project will create a “film-photo-blog” where local Aboriginal Australians of NSW and QLD will be at the centre of social change.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Brisbane, Queensland and Woodenbong, New South Wales
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
This project will work with Inala Wangarra Community Organisation (Queensland) and Githabul Tribe (New South Wales).. The Githabul nation in north-eastern NSW inhabits a small country town that faces limited access to internet, libraries and centres. Working with Githabul people will mean the hopeful restoration of a culture and language largely disseminated as a result of colonisation. Some members of the Githabul tribe are competent in computer literacy. The Inala Wangarra community in urban Brisbane has higher computer literacy due to public services. However, the culture and languages of both groups have been largely modified since colonisation. Project will work with young people to reconnect with traditional knowledge of the elders through visual and photomedia.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Project will create news from blogs, documentaries in the form of photography and digital video work. The website will act as an archive of information, opinions and alternative perspective to mainstream media. The citizen media output created will be a continuous, growing and evolving story that allows for intergenerational and intercultural exchange. Showcase work produced, opinions, knowledge and share with other Australian communities. It will also achieve the creation of a digitally stored area for the knowledge, language and cultural traditions of the communities worked with.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
The project team has attended meetings with the Githabul tribe and Inala Wangarra Community Organisation to discuss the project, and will also receive assistance from an independent photographer and community development consultants from The Goodness Inc. Future partnerships will include local councils of north-eastern NSW such as Kyogle, Lismore, Casino, Tenterfield and Woodenbong, and in Queensland, Inala Richmond Ward Council, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane City Council Local Library and Kyogle Library.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
The project seeks to train 20 participants from Inala and 15-20 participants from the the Githabul tribe. Project participants will be fully responsible for creating and publishing their own stories. Additionally, a strong emphasis will be on local capacity building by sourcing local skilled trainers, equipment and community centres. The result will be a long term investment in employment opportunities, teaching creative media skills, access to diversified educational opportunities, preservation of local knowledge and culture, and provision of good quality camera and photography equipment. Furthermore, an evaluation, review and feedback process will be established in consultation with the local community aligned with their methods that work best with their goals.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
As a Project Organiser, I possess skills in basic blog development, writing and editing skills, basic graphic work, research skills and social media networking. I have set up my own blog called First Voices (www.firstvoices.net) and The Earthworm (www.theearthworm.org) I have also recently engaged two further partners with skills in video work,photography and image creation and editing, visual software use, community development, operations, project management & finance skills. Additionally, a local community member Bruce Blake, is a retired documentary filmmaker, editor & photographer and computer skills trainer.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The urban city of Brisbane has good access to facilities and services including local libraries, a state library with a digital space containing Macs & PCs with installed software ranging from Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative suite and Mac iLife Suite. The internet connection in all public library services is equivalent to ADSL speed with excellent reliability. In the State Library of Queensland there are approximately 11 Macs and 4 PCs. The computer availability in suburban libraries will usually range from 6 – 10 PCs. In northeastern NSW, the facilities become less available and the closest library 60 kilometres away, contains 4 computers, with high-speed internet and with one for Word Processing. Editing software for video and photography is not available.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
I have recently established a relationship with the target communities via phone calls and face-to-face meetings and both communities have expressed their eagerness to participate in the project. The Project Organiser and project partners are sensitive to the history and culture of aboriginal people and the importance of relationship-building in community projects. Furthermore, project team believes that we are most appropriate to implement this project as our goals are strongly aligned with capacity building, strengthening local resources and providing necessary equipment for grassroots community projects to take off. It has been communicated with participants that interest in long term project support will be maintained past timeframes established.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Lack of facilities and services present as the main obstacles to the project. The closest council library is 60 km away and with no computers, furniture or internet available in the available allocated “audio visual space” in the nearby community centre. The telecommunications company, Telstra, will be contacted in an effort to reconnect internet as fibre optic cables are available. Electronics companies and local universities will be contacted to request donations of unused equipment and brand new equipment. Meeting will be requested with local councils to request funding for greater public services. Timeline plan will be implemented to provide training to both communities simultaneously. Travel expenses associated with project member fees will be minimal but required.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The project aims to train 15 – 20 young people from Githabul tribe in care and cleaning of equipment, basic camera proficiency, narrative building, interview techniques, video editing, software proficiency and social media networking. 20 young people from Inala Wangarra community will be trained in similar skills and within 6 months both groups will be expected to have the ability to create a full and complete 3 – 5 min length video documentary and/or photo essay. The project’s impact on the regional community will be measured through the level of participation on the online space, the local response to further requests for training and workshops,and through enhanced employability of project participants.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
The first 3 months are dedicated to community consultation i.e. organising focus groups, establishing goals and direction, organising content, and establishing community “project” leaders, via monthly meetings with both groups. Project Organiser will also liaise directly with relevant libraries, private companies, community centres and local councils to begin negotiated workspaces and investment into required equipment and/or infrastructure. The 3rd to 6 months will be in the delivery of training and workshops to project participants (one workshop per month in both communities) The final 6 months will assist participants to create and publish independent projects including language collection tools, recording of traditional knowledge, story creation and short film making using both video and photography tools. These final 6 months will also see monthly meetings with project participants for debrief, evaluation and monitoring of goals.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
4 x Medium Quality Video Cameras at $300 = $1,200 USD
4 x Medium Quality Digital Cameras at $200 = $800 USD
2 x External Hard Drives 2TB memory will cost approximately $135USD = $270 USD.
Travel costs: Brisbane to north-east New South Wales: 12 x 400km trip (336L petrol x $1.50/L) = $504 ($527 USD)
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Promotion and marketing on social media and website to increase the viewership of the online project, raise profile through similar activities. Advise with potential other sources of funding to apply for as participants in the rural area of Australia for purchase of computer supplies. Provide assistance in terms of available online workshops participants can attend to increase skills in photography and video work.
First Voices and The Goodness Inc