Footscray Community Arts Centre is committed to collaborating with our Indigenous community to provide spaces of cultural safety and creativity which support the maintenance and nurturing of the unique contemporary urban Indigenous identity of Melbourne’s West.
A reference group, facilitated by our Indigenous Cultural Program Creative Producer, and composing of six Indigenous leaders, artists and academics is the central guiding committee for all activities undertaken through the Indigenous Cultural Program. Elders-in-residence, Arweet Carolyn Briggs and Uncle Larry Walsh, work closely with Footscray Community Arts Centre, mentoring artists and community.
About Arweet Carolyn Briggs
Arweet Carolyn Briggs is a Boonwurrung elder from Victoria who is recognised as a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people. She says, ‘It’s about the strength of families, our heritage and the sense of belonging to place.’
Arweet is a language and linguistics expert and is dedicated to recording her Boonwurrung language in oral and written form. She has been active in community development, Native Title, cultural preservation and cultural promotion. For many years she ran the Tjanabi restaurant in Melbourne, which specialised in contemporary Aboriginal cooking, promoted the Boonwurrung culture and became ‘the place to meet’ for Indigenous people. Arweet established Australia’s first Aboriginal childcare centre and is CEO of the Boonwurrung Foundation, which she set up to help connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage. Arweet is also a member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
About Uncle Larry Walsh
Uncle Larry Walsh is a local Aboriginal cultural leader and storyteller. He particularly loves working with the younger generation as he sees them as the torch-bearers of the future. Inspired by his local Aboriginal community, plus his own Kulin ancestral blood connections to his country, Uncle is one of the only senior Elders in Melbourne who focuses specifically on storytelling, ensuring the cultural continuity of his ancient oral traditions.
It’s important to note that Uncle Larry is a pure storyteller. He sees his focus being on the oral tradition, the story – as an important expression and make up of Aboriginal culture. He wishes to display that Aboriginal people live as much in the modern world as intimately as they are connected to their past.