Big hART began working in Roebourne (Iremugadu), in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in 2011. After delivering the much loved Yijala Yala Project, the creation of legacy project New Roebourne is designed to build on this successful community collaboration.
New Roebourne comprises a suite of workshops, performance pieces, video and music programs delivered simultaneously to build community skills, resilience and pride. In 2017-18 New Roebourne delivers five project streams:
Tjaabi is led by Ngarluma singer Patrick Churnside, his family and elders. These workshops introduce young men to a proud strong culture, as they work with Patrick and mentors. The result is a performance piece featuring sound, video, story and movement; capturing the ancient ecology and stewardship of the Pilbara. A living tradition of the Pilbara region, ‘Tjaabi’ is a public song-form, and this performance is guided by senior Ngarluma man Tim Douglas.
Led by senior community women and talented mentors, Project O builds agency, resilience and safety for young women in a positive environment. Our fun, non-welfare, task-focused workshops back Roebourne’s young women to pursue their aspirations, and make a difference in their community. Workshops begin at primary school age, resulting in skills and opportunities in media, performance, radio, movement and literacy. Project O is one of Big hART’s most successful projects to date.
John Pat Peace Place
Led by the Pat family and mentors, workshops and discussions result in a peace garden being built in the grounds of the Ngurin Pilbara Cultural Centre, to celebrate the life of John Pat, and help create a ‘new’ positive Roebourne. John Pat died in custody over 30 years ago, aged 16. If alive today, he would be a leader in his community. Big hART is working with the Pat family and community members to create this serene place for John’s mother, Mavis, her family and the whole community to gather, sit by a fire and participate in the renewed cultural life of Roebourne.
Beginning in Roebourne District Prison in 2011, these workshops resulted in MURRU, (John Pat’s nickname) – a series of songs, albums and tours. MURRU Concert opened the 2014 Melbourne Festival in Federation Square to much acclaim, and the music workshops continue to provide a positive bridge between life inside and out for the whole community.
Cultural Centre Residency
Big hART continues to be responsive to this remarkable community, running an intergenerational program at the Ngurin Pilbara Cultural Centre, based on local strengths and aspirations. These activities involve community members from all generations and language groups and are designed to build skills and capacity towards a New Roebourne (Iremugadu).