August 6, 2021

Footscray Community Arts cancels cultural competency training

On the advice from our highly respected Elders in Residence and Indigenous Advisory Group, we are no longer facilitating cultural competency training for non-Indigenous workers through the long running and highly popular ‘Working in First Nations’ training program.

While this program was driven by the Indigenous Advisory Group, with support from us, in the hope to improve the experience for First Nations artists and workers in the arts sector, we have realised that the scale of sector change required to meet this hope can no longer be serviced through this program.

The Working in First Nations program, and other “cultural awareness/cultural competency” training expose Indigenous Facilitators and community members to unsafe situations by revisiting trauma/s that are ever present for the Aboriginal Community. Anecdotal feedback from Facilitators, Aboriginal community and some Aboriginal staff in the sector shows that short-duration cultural safety training may have detrimental effects on Indigenous workers and the overall ability for the sector to a cultural shift.

As a leading arts and cultural organisation, we are committed to creating a culturally safe place for Aboriginal community and supporting Indigenous creatives in realising their work and aspirations. We will continue to deliver year-round programs for Indigenous artists and arts workers – including ‘Tarnuk-ut baany’, a development program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emerging artists.

We recommend that non-Indigenous individuals and organisations seeking further insights and education in this space to look at self-education opportunities (some links to resources below to start the journey) and also the many opportunities provided by Traditional Owner Organisations, cultural institutions and private consultants that provide training in this area across Australia.

Recommended Reading and Self Education Opportunities