Fieldwork is Fun

I am now neck deep in fieldwork at CuriousWorks, and after almost a year and half of my own company I am thoroughly enjoying being here. I've been given the task of sifting through the company's back catalogue of photos (Flickr) and videos (YouTube/Vimeo) to create a showcase for their new website. The process is proving to useful research-wise as I am beginning to get a sense of the work they are doing in the field. The task also means I am being exposed to very interesting media, such as the following clip. It shows Curtis Taylor, director of the short film Mamu, made in partnership with CuriousWorks as part of their Stories Project, discussing his reasons for making the work. He makes the following statement at the beginning of the clip ...

"This film, Mamu, it's about right, it's about wrong. It's about the past and the future, the new and the old. It's about the Internet and Martu. It's about how we can make this technology work for us, and for us to use it the way we want to use it."

Tania Major Interview: Denton

Worth checking out. This woman is an inspiration. "There are great expectations for Tania Major, currently the Young Australian of the Year. She is a beacon of hope for Aboriginal communities in crisis. Everyone from the Prime Minister to Peter Beattie to Noel Pearson considers her a role model and the way forward for Aboriginal Australia. That is a lot of weight to carry when you are just 26."

Full transcript + audio download...

Fraser attacks Indigenous affairs 'regression'

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser says the Federal Government has ignored most of a major report on the removal of Indigenous Australians from their families. In the lead up to next month's 10-year anniversary of the 'Bringing Them Home' report, Mr Fraser has attacked the Government's handling of Indigenous affairs, saying it has regressed. Mr Fraser says neither the Federal Government nor the Opposition is showing any real interest in Aboriginal affairs. Full story at ABC News Online...

VISIT TO SARAI: One small sentence

Over a masala dosa lunch, I talked with a Sarai-based editor named Smriti. She was asking me about Indigenous Australia, and whether I knew much about the dynamics of community cultural development practice in Aboriginal communities when the project is initiated and run by someone outside of that community. I told her that it would definitely vary from project to project and from community to community but that I had worked with one Indigenous community on an art project, so I could speak from my own limited experience. I explained all the conflicting questions I had had before and during the project. What is my real motivation for doing this project? How will this project be received by the community? How will I be received by the community? Will this experience actually empower the people who participate? Do I have a right to be here? And a hundred others. I then went on to tell her that at the end of the project, I realised that there was no one answer to any of these questions.

Her response was, "Imagine that I am an Indigenous person in your country and you were working with my community. I would ask you this question: what work would you be making with us, if you were never allowed to leave? I didn't reply. She then remarked, "You don't know how to answer this question do you?" I replied, "No, I don't, but thank you".

Australia: Reconciliation fund

Excellent post from New Matilda's blog Cross-Wire outlining the need for an accumulation fund, entirely under Indigenous control: Excerpt: "The programs are administered by a system of carrots and sticks. The sticks consist mainly in threats to withdraw from the community benefits to which it is in any case entitled if it fails to control the behaviour of its members. The carrots are usually things people need in any case. So attention is focussed on avoiding the sticks and earning the carrots in a hopeless game of manipulation, fudging and evasion that is completely demoralising."

CROSS-WIRE » Reconciliation fund