Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm grateful for creative Koori kids in Canberra

As part of a student aspirations program in Canberra, I recently ran writing workshops with Koori kids in Years 7-10.  Over the two days I got to experience first-hand the quick creative minds of over twenty students who loved to read, write, spin yarns and to my delight, many also illustrated their own words.

Within the group were cousins Kaylarnie  and Tenisha Reed, grand-daughters of poet and activist Kerry Reed-Gilbert and great-grand-daughters of the late Kevin Gilbert, playwright, poet and author of Because a White Man’ll Never Do It. Clearly the writing gene is being carried on through the generations.

Also at the workshop were students from Weetangera Primary School who generously gifted me a copy of a book they had already published. Old Way New Way looks at traditional art and culture alongside modern day mediums and ways of doing things. For example the kids use clapsticks old way and play musical instruments like the sax, new way. They like rock art old way and digital art new way.

The book was designed by the students as a 'home reader' style book, as well as a celebration of the journey that the school’s "Yirri Dancers" have been on. Pretty deadly effort to say the least.

I smile as I write this because Im grateful that my work means I get to see and experience Koori Kids doing it for themselves. And with that in mind, their futures look bright.

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