The ARTS Factory

Community Engagement

Adult and Community Education (ACE) Project 2003

In 2003, the ARTS Factory received funding from the ACT Government through the ACE sector for the ‘Families Learning Together’ project which aimed to support Indigenous families assist their children’s learning through a community-based literacy and numeracy program. The program became affectionately known as the ‘What’s Up’ program.

The Wiradjuri artists presented the program in collaboration with ACU staff Dr Carolyn Broadbent, Dr Maureen Boyle and Margaret Carmody. Structuring the program around rich learning experiences focused on deepening cultural awareness while strengthening literacy and numeracy skills had increased its authenticity within the community.

The increased support networks and links between staff in Government and Catholic schools, the parents of Indigenous students, and the Indigenous students themselves have worked effectively to build confidence and to increase self-esteem in the participants. Parental involvement throughout the program allowed students to share their learning on a weekly basis and the resultant interaction between all participating members formed the beginnings of a dynamic learning community.

At the conclusion of the 10-week program, a successful full school assembly was held to celebrate the participants’ achievements. All parents from the wider school community were invited to attend. At the assembly, the students displayed the art work they had created during the program, performed dances with the Wiradjuri artists, and presented a colourful Power-Point presentation that documented the learning achievements of the participants. Each student provided a short commentary on his or her learning experiences during the ‘What’s Up?’ program. Written comments taken from the learning folder of one of the students provides evidence of the success of the program:

'On Friday I was so proud of myself representing my culture. We were excellent and it went very fast and very well. The best time ever!'

The program has created avenues for the development of new project initiatives, especially in relation to improved health and well-being within the Indigenous community. The ARTS Factory has secured further funding to offer a similar program in 2004.

Images from last workshop:

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For further details contact Dr Carolyn Broadbent Arts Factory Coordinator Ph: (02) 6209 1134