"Storytelling festival will benefit Indigenous children" HREOC


19 May 2008

“As national patron of Wakakirri, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, today praised the festival for including remote community schools, including three Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, in its itinerary.

“The Wakakirri Outback Program is tremendously valuable to the lives of Indigenous children in remote areas because of its focus on sustainable living and the opportunity it provides these children to share their stories and experiences with not only one another, but with their community and many other communities around Australia,” said Commissioner Calma.

For more information, visit www.wakakirri.com

“This is a unique opportunity for the children in Yuenumu in the Northern Territory, and in Wujal Wujal and Cunnamulla in Queensland, to participate on a national level, to learn and to express themselves and their culture.”

Established in 1992, Wakakirri is a National Story Festival in which young Australians strive to have a positive impact upon the world around them by creating a story, telling it through performance and visual arts, and sharing it with Australia. It is the largest multi-arts event for schools in the country.

The Wakakirri Outback Program, which began today, makes it possible for schools in remote communities to participate in the festival.

Outback Wakakirri schools will be visited by a team of teachers, who will spend time working with the school community to create stories using a variety of performing and visual arts techniques, including film, dance, singing and arts.

The finished stories will be presented at a live festival held for local community members at the end of the five-day workshop. All of the works will also be captured on film and go on to form an exhibition that tours around Australia and is shown to every school participating in a Wakakirri event.

“Wakakirri research shows that the outcomes for children who have participated in the festival include resilience, tolerance, literacy, physical activity and health appreciation,” said Commissioner Calma. “For children in remote areas, who do not always have the opportunity to participate in these sorts of projects, these outcomes and access to the festival itself cannot be under-valued.”

The Wakakirri Outback Program will be visiting Yuendumu in the Northern Territory from 19-23 May, Wujal Wujal and Cunnamulla in Queensland from 26-30 May and 2-6 June respectively.

For more information, visit http://www.wakakirri.com