Rachel Riggs, ‘Imaginary Leaps’ Creative Director is continuing with her Professional Community Arts Partnerships Development with Kulunga Aboriginal Kindergarten in Perth , Western Australia. Funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, Rachel is able to focus on developing and sharing her early years skill set to work and play with the Indigenous community in the Hilton area of Fremantle.
The residency at Kulunga Aboriginal Kindergarten enables learning, observing, engaging, applying and reflecting upon my early years creative engagement methodology in an indigenous cultural setting. Chris Simms, Teacher and staff at Kulunga are mentors and role-models demonstrating effective ways of working with Indigenous children.
Local community artist Michele Hovane is also mentoring Rachel and helping her to learn more about specific culturally appropriate ways of working , developing her professional skills . Michelle provides critical insights, feedback and debriefing services.She also supports Rachel’s creative practise in a learning environment, giving her navigational tools as a non-indigenous artist working with indigenous communities.
WHAT I HOPE TO ACHIEVE – outcomes from this project
1. Develop my arts & cultural skills as a professional community artist defining my specialist early childhood & families skills for project development with indigenous community groups.
2. Achieve a greater understanding of diverse indigenous cultures within a shared vision of reconciliation within the community.
3. Assist the mentor and the community to achieve a greater understanding of current practise in creative community arts in early years settings
The Professional Development programme is now in the second stage, using shadow play to stimulate the imaginations of young children to tell their own stories. These and other stories will be shared with the community for NAIDOC week in July. Feedback from Kulunga staff –
‘I love the fact its unstructured in a positive way, so the children can interact in free-flow play’
‘This gives me confidence and I can do my own thing, making up the stories is good. The children can tell some good tall stories and stories from home.’
‘Its promoting language and co-operative play, as well as hand-eye co-ordination and peer learning’