Author Archives: Lily
What’s your day job?
I’m a climate change campaigner with a focus in online engagement. You may have seen my around these parts as an AWARE volunteer where I helped with AWARE’s social media strategy and also with this blog!
What sparked your interest in Aware?
Many organisations focus on delivering basic needs to impoverished communities which is really important work, but what I liked about AWARE is the focus on supplying a voice to disenfranchised communities. That voice can be through poetry, painting, drawing, dance, sewing, acting, or however an individual expresses themselves – what drew me to AWARE was the ability to give and give recognition to disempowered people’s own voices.
Highlights so far?
So far my favourite part about being on the AWARE board is working with the rest of the board and director, Stacey; we dream about what AWARE can achieve. I’ve loved helping the organisation develop a more concrete vision and we’re beginning to outline goals for the next few years, which is just so exciting.
But the biggest highlight has been seeing the artwork that children in the Creative Sparks program create.
Last Friday, I received the Encouragement Award in the Connections Uniting Care 2012 Anti-Poverty Awards on behalf of Stacey – Aware’s director.
I was so honoured to go up on that stage to receive the award for all the amazing work Aware does to fight poverty in disenfranchised communities.
As well as being a huge honour, by winning the Encouragement Award Aware received $1000 to continue our good work.
Thank you to Connections Uniting Care for sponsoring the Awards and a big congratulations to the other winners: Laura from Enterprise Learning Projects, Sarah from Footprints Enterprise, and St Dominic’s Priory College.
Written by Aware board member, Lily
Last week we began our first ever Australian project and we are so excited. Aware will, in conjunction with New Hope Foundation, be facilitating art workshops with children from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne’s outer west. The aim is to increase self-confidence through storytelling and building awareness about social issues facing recently arrived communities in Melbourne.
We are lucky to have studying art therapist Kristy Heffernan on board to run the workshops, with the help of Aware’s Director Stacey and volunteer Louella. Employing the theories of art therapy in a safe, fun and relaxed space is set to be an amazing experience!
Let’s meet Kristy!
What you are studying?
I am currently studying Transpersonal Art Therapy at Phoenix Institute. Art therapy is a therapeutic process in which people can engage with themselves, their lives, and their experiences without the need for constant dialogue like mainstream psychotherapy. Although talking can be a large part of art therapy, the creative process is in itself, the critical part of the healing experience for the participant. By expressing through creativity a person can access and express ‘unspoken’ ideas, memories and feelings in a gentle and safe way, with an experienced therapist present.
Why you wanted to volunteer with Aware?
When I was contacted by Aware I jumped at the opportunity to work with them. As an art therapist I was really drawn to the humanist, compassionate approach of aware within their projects. I also realized the great potential of using art with children from refugee backgrounds, as it allows for interaction and expression that transcends language barriers.
A little bit about the project?
I want to allow a space for the kids to feel free to express themselves and play. We will be using numerous mediums to explore their own experiences as a child in their community. We will concentrate on identity, creating opportunities for the children to tell their stories through their art. The children will be encouraged to show their interests, dreams and personalities through paint, pencil, pastel, collage, stickers and clay.
What you expect the outcomes to be for the participants?
Fun! I want the children to have a lot of fun whilst getting the opportunity to explore a number of different mediums in art. I also hope to nurture feelings of pride and confidence in their own creativity and for them to feel safe in being themselves.
On Sunday night, more than 70 people gathered to watch The Sapphires at Westgarth Cinemas in Melbourne.
The Sapphires is based on a true story about a four aborginal women who form a soul group and go to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.
You can check out the trailer here:
Nearly a thousand dollars was raised to help support our new program in Melbourne (stay tuned to find out more!) and our continued work in Kenya and Cambodia.
Thank you so much for coming and enjoying this great film with us!
On Sunday August 12th, join us at AWARE’s next movie night! We’re screening The Sapphires at the Westgarth cinema. Tickets are $25. Please preorder them here to make sure that you get a seat! The film starts at 6:30 – but if you come early you can peruse some great merchandise from Dorsu before the film.
Hope to see you Sunday!
Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives.
This documentary effectively explores issues of environment and sustainability, social exclusion, ‘development,’ and the ability of art to bring about change in the lives of marginilised people and raise awareness of such issues.
The film was a strong reminder of why we use forms of self-expression to empower communities. It is so encouraging to see a world famous artist working so closely with an important group within society that often gets forgotten. Not only was the art resulting from this project phenomenal, the stories of the catadores are unforgettable. I would recommend taking the time to watch Wasteland, as there are so many things that we can learn from it, about wider global issues, individual stories, the power of art and what can be achieved through it. One can’t help but be inspired.
Written by volunteer, Stacey