Date: 19 and 20 September 2014
Venue: Ian Potter Auditorium, Kenneth Myer Building, University of Melbourne

Artists, project workers, arts therapists, mental health practitioners, community leaders and scholars are invited to explore the role of art in promoting healing and emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal communities.


This symposium seeks to explore the role of art in promoting emotional healing and wellbeing in Aboriginal communities. It will examine a range of artistic and cultural practices taking place in Aboriginal communities across Australia. Art and related cultural practices will be examined as a source of cultural resilience and strength, as well as a medium to address the individual and intergenerational effects of trauma experienced by Aboriginal people throughout a history of colonisation and dispossession. Artists, arts workers, art therapists, mental health practitioners, curators, scholars, community workers and cultural leaders are invited to share their stories of using art for healing in Aboriginal communities and may consider the following themes:

Full program now available!


Official Welcome: The Honorable Jeff Kennett AC

MORNING THEME: Art as Therapy

Keynote: The Art of Healers
Ngangkari Program and Tjanpi Desert Weavers
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC)

Presentations including:
Arts Therapy & Sexual Health with Aboriginal Communities
Atira Tan & Adrian Harris, Art2Healing Project

Painting, written and spoken word: common ground in two Koorie AOD services
Aunty Bea Edwards, Greg Smith, Mark Hammersley and Marnie Sather, Galiamble

Visions of Healing
Kerry Thompson, Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service (BWAHS)

AFTERNOON THEME: Community Projects

Keynote: The Transformative Effects and Healing Power of Culture in Rehabilitation
Kent Morris, The Torch Project

Presentations including:
Scattered Tribes: Rising Smoke
Liss Gabb and Ngardarb Francine Riches, Cohealth Arts Generator

Giving Shape to Experience in an Urban Aboriginal Community
Michelle Jersky, The Ngala Nanga Mai (We Dream) pARenT Group, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Collective Healing through Culture
Megan Van Den Berg and Sarah Diplock, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)

A Deep Listening Path to Healing: What matters most is…….
Dr Laura Brearley and Lisa Kennedy, The Deep Listening Project


Official Welcome: Professor Ian Anderson

MORNING THEME: The Role of Art Centres in Healing

Keynote: The Roles of Aboriginal Art Centres
Philip Watkins, Desart

Presentations including:
Considering Indigenous methodologies towards an arts and health model
Maree Meredith, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Art Centre

Aboriginal Art Centre – the urban experience
Lisa Waup, Yvonne Luke and Tracey-Lea Smith, Baluk Arts

Papunya Happy Sad Painting Project
Papunya Artists

AFTERNOON THEME: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Arts Practice

Artist Panel featuring Bindi Cole and Jenny Fraser
Chair: Judith Ryan, NGV

Presentations including:

Consciousness Raising: Art with Intent
Maree Clarke and Robyne Latham

RE-IGNITE THE LINES: The Banmirra Arts Possum Skin Cloak Healing Journey
Lee Darroch and Vicki Couzens, Banmirra Arts

The Role of the Museum in Contemporary Community Art Practice
Kimberley Moulton, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum

Download the program guide:

Healing Ways Symposium Program


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