Three young people are outside. They each have white marks of paint on their face. Two point off into the distance.

Emma Laverty’s Project Dust cultural dance group performance will explore cultural identity and collaboration.

06 June 2024

Eight local First Nations artists will receive a share in over $100,000 in funding to support their creative work.

The ACT Government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts Program helps fund self-determined activities led by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities.

Launched last year, it helps develop creative works that reflect Canberra’s culture and identity.

It also aims to help build artistic and cultural leadership.

Self-determined projects

Self-determined projects eligible for funding can include:

  • creating arts and cultural works
  • presenting or performing arts and cultural works
  • artistic professional or skills development
  • arts mentoring and artists’ residencies
  • community arts and cultural development
  • marketing and promotion of arts activities.

Among the recipients

Senior Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Violet Sheridan will receive $15,000 to write an autobiographical manuscript.

She will work with the support of a professional writer to draft Roots Reclaimed: A Journey of Identity, Family and Ngunnawal Heritage.

Aidan Hartshorn will receive $15,000 for glass mentorship. His work will focus on Walgalu Country and cultural objects for his project Water Futures.

Emma Laverty will receive $15,000 to explore cultural identity and collaboration through dance.

She will develop Project Dust, a cultural dance group performance.

“This grant will mean we can continue to provide pathways in the arts for our young people. Pathways that directly relate to our culture and link to building strength and confidence in our next generations,” Emma said.

“We can build on what we have developed and now open new doors, realising our dreams to be behind the theatre curtain and provide our first performance season to the community.”

Aunty Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng and Uncle Dr Paul Collis will receive $10,000 in funding.

This will help them carry out two community cultural development sessions on poetry writing.

They will also produce a showcase of poetry through performance at two venues.

Stronger partnerships

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts Program launched last year.

It is designed to empower, inspire and foster ACT First Nations creatives to pursue their art, explore their culture and present their works to the community.

The ACT Government is committed to building stronger partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

The program helps to do this through shared culture and arts practices.

“Opportunities such as these are unique and the positive flow-on effects to other aspects of our Project Dust community cannot be understated. We are building a confident and connected community that we are proud of,” Emma said.

“With the assistance of the ACT Government, we look forward to seeing our young mob reach new heights and further develop with our local arts community.”

Find details about the program and the other successful applicants on the artsACT website.

An Indigenous woman smiles at the camera.

Senior Ngunnawal Elder,  Aunty Violet Sheridan, will use her funding to write Roots Reclaimed: A Journey of Identity, Family and Ngunnawal Heritage.

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