Sharing Culture Empowers Healing and Resilience Amongst Aboriginal People and in Aboriginal Communities

Dr. Marion Kickett, Professor David Clark and Filmmaker Michael Liu

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, US cultural anthropologist

Sharing Culture is a unique initiative being developed to help Aboriginal people heal and develop resilience to transgenerational trauma and its consequences. These consequences include poor physical health, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, violence and suicide.

Sharing Culture will initially involve development of an Aboriginal Film & Storytelling Unit, as well an online education, healing and advocacy tool (www.sharingculture.info).

This exciting initiative is based on the core values of authenticity, connection, courage, creativity, empathy and forgiveness. The aims of Sharing Culture are to:

  • Help Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people understand the nature of historical trauma (and its consequences) and how it can be overcome, in order for Aboriginal people to self-heal and develop resilience.
  • Empower Aboriginal people to take control of, and improve, their own health and wellbeing using an holistic approach. Ensure the growth of centres and community networks that provide culturally safe environments for people to heal and build resilience.
  • To enable Aboriginal people to connect to their culture, land, spirituality, and family, and have pride in their Aboriginal culture and people.
  • To help Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people worldwide better understand and accept other cultures, enabling use of the strengths of different cultures to improve society.

 The first stage of development of Sharing Culture is based on the PhD thesis of Dr Marion Kickett, which focuses on understanding resilience from an Aboriginal perspective and examines the experiences of Aboriginal people who have lived successfully across two cultures.

Marion’s thesis also describes a new Aboriginal Resiliency Framework that emphasises the importance of:

  • Healing, forgiveness and letting go;
  • Having a connection to, and an identity related to, one’s land, family, culture and spirituality;
  • The Past, the Present and the Future;
  • Thriving, rather than surviving;
  • Personal Stories and role models;
  • Learning and education.

Sharing Culture is taking Marion’s Aboriginal Resiliency Framework to the next stage of development, to help ensure improved health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

Our website will be an ever-expanding journey comprising a collection of Personal Stories (written, graphical, film and audio) packed with important culturally relevant information that will educate, connect and empower people to forgive, heal and thrive.

It will show how Marion’s Resiliency Framework will facilitate the development of healing programmes for Aboriginal people. It will celebrate Aboriginal people, culture and success.

The website’s content will not just be relevant to Aboriginal people who are experiencing personal problems, but also to individuals and organisations facilitating the self-healing of Aboriginal people and the development of Aboriginal healing centres and community networks.

Content will be downloadable free-of-charge, so people can readily access key information, education and tools and pass them on to others in need. We will connect key initiatives around Australia so that they can learn from, and help, each other.

Our aim will be have the widest possible audience in Australia (and further afield). In addition to impacting in health, social and criminal justice sectors, our information will have many uses within secondary, tertiary and higher education.

We will develop education and training programmes for business and industry. However, we won’t stop there, as we want to capture the imaginations of the general public.

The website is part of a cross media platform strategy that includes far-reaching content hosted by the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, radio, commercial television and film festivals worldwide.

A direct distribution strategy will be applied within Australia and a sales agent will be appointed for distribution into overseas film markets.

Finally, it should be emphasised that our digital content will provide an easy-to-access and free-of-charge historical record pertaining to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people, as well as to their culture.

Key people 
Unknown-3Dr Marion Kickett
is a Noongar woman from the Balardong language group. She was born and lived in the wheat belt town of York in WA. Marion’s background is in nursing and she has worked extensively in education, lecturing in Aboriginal health and culture for the past eighteen years.

Marion is currently employed as an Associate Professor of Indigenous Learning Design at the Teaching and Learning Centre in Curtin University. She is helping embed Indigenous Cultural Capabilities across the University.

Marion completed her PhD, “Examination of how a culturally-appropriate definition of resilience affects the physical and mental health of Aboriginal people” at the University of Western Australia in 2012.

By developing Sharing Culture with David and Mike, she is ensuring a widespread dissemination of her research and the Aboriginal Resilience Framework proposed in her thesis.

Marion believes that the Sharing Culture approach will facilitate self-healing amongst Aboriginal individuals, families and communities, in part by linking people to their culture, land and spirituality.

Moreover, it will help create a much better understanding of the need for cultural responsiveness in health, social and criminal justice systems, enabling an improved wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

rsz_3mersDavid Clark is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology who moved from running a successful neuroscience laboratory to working in the addiction recovery field at the turn of the millennium.

He developed the grassroots initiative Wired In, which was hailed as visionary in its approach to empowering individuals, families and communities to recover from drug and alcohol use problems. He moved from the UK to Perth at the end of 2008.

David is a writer, educator, researcher, website developer, film producer, recovery advocate and recovery coach. He developed Wired In To Recovery, which provided key information about recovery, an empathic environment where people supported each other, and a strong voice for recovering people. This online community had 4,000 members and generated over 7,500 blogs.

David has used Storytelling as a powerful tool to help people recover from drug and alcohol use problems for over a decade, and has recently launched www.recoverystories.info.

Recovery or Healing Stories are easy to relate to and understand, and help people deal with problems they face in their day-to-day life. People who are in the early stages of a healing process readily identify with, trust and learn from people who are further along in their healing journey.

0-1Michael Liu worked in the mainstream advertising industry and as a filmmaker in Sydney before moving to Perth in 2004. He has been involved in a variety of productions – short films, TV programs and commercials, internet-based projects and teaching film production.

His short film send-up of gratuitously violent films (ala Quentin Tarantino), was selected into competition at the Cannes film festival. His projects have involved working with Aboriginal people, African refugees, charities, environment groups and social welfare organisations. 

 Mike will combine his all-round film making skills (Producing, Directing, Camera, Editing), blue chip advertising and marketing background, and online video development expertise, to create a high profile Sharing Culture film network that produces top-class multimedia content destined for worldwide attention and critical acclaim.

He will ensure a high-end, economical film department that can adapt to all situations whilst hitting the ground running. Mike’s philosophy is, “There is always a way to make it happen.”

Mike will engage additional co-producers and team members on a project or protocol basis. He will find and nurture emerging Aboriginal film making talent, helping them to make an impact nationally and internationally.

His approach will also involve the use of low cost, portable and easy-to-use production equipment that has the ability to adapt to the creation of high-end content.

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