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 2021-22 New Roebourne delivers five project streams:
Songs for Peace
Songs for Peace is a community response to decades of community conflict and reputational damage sustained by Roebourne. Each year, Songs for Peace begins as a series of music and songwriting workshops in the community and prison, and ends in a large outdoor annual concert featuring nationally celebrated artists from a range of cultural backgrounds, collaborating with local musicians.
The Songs for Peace annual concert is staged around the International Day of Peace. It weaves music, local languages, image, short film, spoken word, tea making, Tjaabi, dance and fire into a peaceful evening under the stars, hosted by local young people and Elders, for community and guests.
Young women join senior women Elders, female artists and mentors to delve into the deep knowledge and strength of Pilbara women, documenting stories using video and audio. Punkaliyarra is an intergenerational cultural transmission project which has been developed in partnership with emerging Yindjibarndi Elder Michelle Adams and emerging Ngarluma Elder Lorice Douglas.
Designed and delivered in partnership with Ngarluma cultural tourism operator Clinton Walker, young people take part in intergenerational on-country trips to strengthen their connection to country, identity and culture. Young people develop new knowledge around Aboriginal ecology, and sustainability practices and through this process are introduced to alternative career pathways such as cultural tourism, natural resource management, caring for country and ranger programs. Simultaneously, young people are mentored to create digital content on country which is presented back to community through a series of events.
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.
NEO-Learning is an education platform for all Australian primary schools, and students from all backgrounds. In Roebourne, young people create digital content based on local living culture for the platform. By creating this storytelling content, young people strengthen their own educational outcomes and increase their digital literacy skills. NEO-Learning champions the digital arts movement via futuristic content and modes of online learning.
Young people build skills in digital technology and content creation, equipping them to tell their unique person stories. Inclusive community events are delivered to share this digital content and foster ‘quick win’ opportunities and feedback for participants, as well as increase community participation, inclusion and well-being. The Digital Lab infrastructure and programs also encourage self-entrepreneurship and agency, as mentors support young people to build pre-employment skills and engage in real life workplace challenges.