This project is an initiative of Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation and Women's Health Goulburn North East - organisations based in northeast Victoria. It is supported by the Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership and Wodonga Regional Health Service.
How it came about
The original idea for the project came from non-Aboriginal workers attending cultural training at Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation during 2005. They expressed a desire to have
- Locally produced Aboriginal artwork and images they could display in their agencies
- Accessible information about local Aboriginal history and culture, protocols, key organisations and contacts
- Resources to support their work with Aboriginal clients, families and community.
The way we work
We used art as a way to involve our Aboriginal community and acknowledge the essential role that storytelling, art and symbols play as culturally appropriate communication mechanisms. As a result we have six impressive paintings depicting aspects of health and wellbeing that form the foundation visual imagery for the resource kit.
We planned ways to ensure that the Aboriginal community was involved in all aspects of decision-making along the way. This included a number of 'community conversations' about health and wellbeing to inform the project and to provide feedback.
The local Health Portfolio Network meetings, held monthly and attended by workers from Aboriginal organisations and generalist services, acted as a reference group. This meant that a diverse and fluid range of workers also contributed to the evolution of the resources.
What we have developed
The resource kit contains:
- Suite of six colour posters, developed from the original paintings
- 'Working with Aboriginal clients and community' audit tool for agency planning and review
- Checklist for working with Aboriginal clients
- Health Promotion Framework with an 'Aboriginal lens'
- CD of over 100 graphic images based on the six paintings for agencies to use when designing written or visual information for Aboriginal clients and community
- DVD that
- explains 'Indigenous Welcomes' and 'Acknowledging Country', and
- describes the importance of art for Aboriginal communities.
- Signage for services to welcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to their agency
- Information guide that includes local knowledge about culture and history, frequently asked questions, key Aboriginal organisations and contacts.
We developed the resources to ensure local ownership and relevance, however much of the material will be useful for other localities, or easily adapted. We encourage the broad use and adaptation of the resources, however please acknowledge the Making Two Worlds Work project as the original source.
The six paintings depicting aspects of health and well being will be hanging in the foyers of local health and community agencies in northeast Victoria to welcome Aboriginal clients and families.
We feel confident that by building genuine ownership of the project in the broader health and community sector that services will enthusiastically utilize the resources we have developed together. In turn, there should be a significant increase in the visibility of symbols of welcome, and the use of the local artwork and images for designing written or visual information.
We will continue to encourage agencies to organise cultural awareness and equity training and prioritise relationship building and partnerships with local Aboriginal organisations.
We will evaluate the use of this resource by local agencies and identify what's changed for Aboriginal clients and community, and what's changed from the perspective of the health and community sector. We welcome and encourage your feedback as you use the resources. You can either use the feedback form provided in this guide or email
The next stage of the project is to build on these resources by supporting the development of a local Aboriginal Impact Guide for policy development and review. The Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership members will work in a team to develop trial and implement this.
Who we would like to thank
We estimate that well over 120 individual, workers and agencies – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – have been involved in the development of the artwork and resources. We thank you all for your valuable contributions.
We would particularly like to thank our many artists who painted the six canvases and Mungabareena community members who contributed to the 'community conversations' that shaped this project: Cassie Denniss, Leeanne Darcey, Chyanna Weaver, Justine K, Fred Richards (Elder), Trish Stell, Scott Coates, Kim Jenkins, Kahlia McKnight, Nancy O'Dwyer, Nancee Bultler, Judy Hunt, Karin McMillan, Maureen Coates, June Coates, Pam Griffin (Elder), Jenna Denniss, Barb Kelly, Judy Cue, Carmen Denniss, Staff at Mungabareena, Mum's and kids participating in a parenting course.
Pastor Darren Wighton for demonstrating and explaining 'Indigenous Welcomes' and 'Acknowledging Country' on DVD and Karin McMillan for creating the painting that she then used to explain the importance of art in Aboriginal communities on DVD.
The workers who attended the Mungabareena Health Portfolio meetings and contributed their ideas since 2006, workers attending cultural training since 2005, and Aboriginal health workers attending the VACCHO (Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) Health Promotion short course in 2007.
Alana Hulme for resource development and editing, and Judy Cue, Liz Heta, Dee Basinski, Tarli O'Connell, Louise Scheidl, for reviewing the resources and providing feedback.
Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership who contributed funding for the project and particularly Judith Moore for her encouragement and support.
The three workers facilitating this project were:
Making Two Worlds Work is one component of the broader work of 'Project:Equity' - a workforce development approach to recognising and responding to inequity and exclusion in our region, coordinated by Women's Health Goulburn North East. Contact WHGNE phone 03 5722 3009 or email for further information.