CAN’s program of community-led artistic and creative projects has been designed to transform lives and leave communities stronger.
In this series of conversational podcasts hosted by Noongar Storytellah Phil Walleystack, each Elder will take us on a personal journey, sharing their experiences of Perth, past and present, and what they hope will be their legacyView project
Join Noongar facilitators, Cyndy Moody and Phil Bartlett to create and learn beautiful lullabies in Noongar language for your moort.View project
Meaning ‘Us Talking’ in Noongar, Ngaluk Waangkiny is a landmark, multi-media storytelling project designed to honour and preserve the legacy of Elders. Serving as a continuation of CAN’s Rekindling Stories on Country program, this project will document the significant stories of the Elders; their fight for human rights, their unique experiences and their contributions to the cultural landscape.
This project is creating a legacy for our Elder’s families, for our state and for our country.
The first iteration of the program in Boorloo (Perth) is partnering with ABC Perth, City of Perth and the Aesop Foundation to produce a film, podcast and book that will shine a light on how the Elders’ lived experiences have influenced their contribution to the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan, with the resulting creative works representing an important legacy for future generations of Noongar people.
Since 2017 CAN has worked with Noongar artists, Elders and their families to shape the Lullabies program, reviving Noongar language through stories, music and song. Lullabies focuses on the creation and recording of original songs, written and performed in language by the Noongar community.
Songwriting, dollmaking and yarning have enhanced the understanding and sharing between generations, eliciting songs that honour family stories, memories and connections. More than 50 original songs have been written and recorded as a part of the Lullabies program, each song enabling the next generation to form a deeper connection to their language, culture, and community.
With each face-to-face ‘edition’ of Lullabies – at Midvale, Collie, Bunbury and Mandurah – CAN has partnered with local community organisations such as child care centres and the South West Aboriginal Medical Service to support Noongar families to participate. In 2020, Lullabies online offered another way of delivering this unique and much-loved program.
All songbooks and albums produced during the project are available free of charge and available to order online.
Harnessing contemporary art forms to celebrate Noongar language, heritage and culture, Place Names combines community-held knowledge with academic rigour to unpack the original meanings behind Noongar placenames.
Inspired by Len Collard’s seminal research which highlights that every Noongar placename is a sentence often describing a place’s meaning, CAN and Moodjar Consultancy have developed a community-led model that decodes the ancient meanings embedded in placenames, through artistic expression. The process puts Noongar knowledge at the forefront, drawing on local Elders’ language and memories as primary sources, while drawing on historical documents and wordlists created by European settlers, to uncover the meaning of the placename.
Working through this model, the community reaches consensus and begins the creative process resulting in collaborative artworks – developed by local Elders, students and emerging creators, alongside professional artists. This powerful collective action promotes intergenerational learning, a shared understanding of cultural identity and reconciliation as the use of Noongar placenames spreads throughout the wider community.
Place Names is a Community Arts Network Project supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program, The Australia Council for the Arts and Principal Partner Moodjar Consultancy
Sharing Lullabies is a celebration of language and culture through song. It is the coming together of Noongar and intercultural communities to share lullabies, language and culture, creating lullabies in multiple languages.
Sharing Lullabies creates a space where children, families and communities can share their culture and build a deeper connection to the land we are all living on.
This project is led by talented Noongar language facilitators and musicians. It is underpinned by CAN’s First Peoples first principle, building on the past five years of Noongar Lullabies programs delivered throughout Noongar country.
Sharing Lullabies was launched in 2021 in Mandurah. CAN is working alongside accomplished Noongar language facilitator Charmaine Councillor and award winning musician Phil Bartlett to bring Sharing Lullabies to Mandurah as part of the Mandurah Arts Festival, in partnership with the City of Mandurah.
Mavis Phillips (nee Walley) is one of Australia’s earliest known Indigenous photographers. Through her box brownie camera Mavis captured the everyday moments of her community in Goomalling, Western Australia from the 1930s.
Her photographs capture joy, spontaneity, pride and hope from the thriving wheatbelt Aboriginal community. The photos are extremely rare in that they capture daily life from a Noongar perspective.
In 2021 a partnership between Perth Centre for Photography, Community Arts Network and the State Library of Western Australia, a selection of images was exhibited at the Perth Centre for Photography, with satellite exhibits, projections and screenings around Perth, including a smaller selection in the Nook at the State Library.
In 2018 Water Corporation and CAN partnered to deliver a Splash of Colour model using a community art and cultural development approach to celebrate the community’s connection to water, water conservation and the important role this plays in the future of Western Australia.
Over the next two years CAN delivered two colourful murals in Westminster and Guildford that were designed by and developed with the community, working in partnership with Local Government and local community groups. This approach worked to deepen engagement with local community and stakeholders while increasing community awareness and ownership of the project.
Lotterywest Dream Plan Do is a unique mentoring program designed to strengthen the skills of community groups who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD), and would like to develop community arts projects to celebrate their stories and experiences.
As well as being able to access funding to make their creative project a reality, community leaders participate in a structured professional development program that covers various aspects of arts production, project management and budgeting, while experienced industry mentors support them to plan, develop and deliver their project idea.
Lotterywest Story Street was a collection of community arts projects that took place over two years and sought to provide creative spaces for under-represented culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities to safely share their stories, express identity and build community connections.
Lotterywest Story Street had several important aims, including: removing barriers of access and supporting under-represented communities to participate in the arts; supporting participants to develop skills of cultural self-expression; encouraging intergenerational knowledge and sharing; and increasing understanding of culture, race and solidarity.
Although diverse in their nature, all Lotterywest Story Street projects celebrated rich cultural heritages and stories within outer metropolitan Perth.
Rekindling Stories on Country shared powerful voices and stories from Noongar country through contemporary art. Developed in consultation with Elders and community members, the program brought together people from different generations so that important community and personal narratives of history, culture and place could emerge.
A diverse range of professional artists and facilitators mentored participants through creative processes that delivered an incredible array of artistic outcomes – including poetry, clay sculpture, printed textiles and yarn weavings. The creative processes also encouraged intergenerational knowledge-sharing and strengthened community leadership. In many cases, it created new creative and professional pathways for participants, too.
By engaging with local, national and international audiences, Rekindling Stories on Country facilitated the sharing of Noongar language and culture with the broader community.
Providing a safe, inclusive environment for young people from diverse backgrounds to explore and express their identity through the art of spoken word poetry, Common Ground led by Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, was brought to life in Perth by CAN working in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria.
A platform for the voices of young people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, Common Ground is a multilingual, multifaith project that uses spoken word poetry to build connection, confidence and understanding. A series of artist-led workshops enabled participants to learn poetry and performance techniques while exploring contemporary issues and shared personal stories, leading to a showcase of powerful spoken word poetry performances in Perth.