Community & Cultural Projects

Storytelling to Design

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Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance supported by Arts NSW created the Storytelling to Design Project in 2013: Guunumba ‘Bring to Life’, bringing together local Aboriginal Elder, writer and poet, Aunty Bea Ballangarry and experienced writer and poet John Bennet with 3 emerging Aboriginal writers from the Mid North Coast of NSW to create contemporary Aboriginal stories.

With the awe-inspiring setting of North Farm in North Bellingen as the backdrop the three women were encouraged and mentored by Aunty Bea to create their own stories embedded with cultural richness and meaning.

The writers produced eighteen stories between them, a mix of children’s stories, contemporary legends, stories of family and cultural history.

In the third and final retreat these stories were translated into designs with the support of two Aboriginal artists/designers, as well as Alison Page from the National Aboriginal Design Agency and two designers from Instyle Fabrics. A selection of the designs and the stories were presented to the Instyle team at a national conference earlier this year with the potential of creating a range from one or more of these designs.  The designs, the stories and the entire project were received well by the Instyle team.

The next stage of the project was the very successful storytelling performance at this year’s Saltwater Freshwater Festival in Kempsey. The three writers supported again by Aunty Bea Ballangarry performed their stories to the festival audience in the Storytelling Tent and were available for questions by interested audience members.

A partnership was also created with the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival enabling the women to perform their stories for a second time over the June long weekend 2014 as part of the festival program.


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