Northern Territory: Reconciliation in action through two way learning

Posted on 9 September, 2013

The Yolngu people of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory are resourceful and visionary. And helping make their vision a reality is something ICV is delighted to be a part of.

Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS) established the Yolngu Radio Service in 2002 to provide health, economic, legal, governance and other information in Yolngu languages. It also supports cultural sustainability through broadcasting traditional music, stories and language. Importantly, it connects people with services across the region.

This year, ARDS approached ICV for help to find a skilled volunteer who could work with a local Indigenous staff member. The aim was to help improve basic skills and confidence in broadcasting and multi-media production.

ICV volunteer Joanna spent two weeks working with Sylvia, a Yolngu lady from Milingimbi, helping her learn the functions of recording, editing, audio production, planning and preparing for content production and interviews, and learning vocal techniques for presenting and speaking on radio.

The second week of Joanna’s visit coincided with the World Indigenous Network (WIN) conference in Darwin, where Sylvia was able to put some of her new skills in to practice.

This on the job learning and support gave Sylvia confidence in preparation for her studies in media and broadcasting.

Sylvia is also keen to transfer her skills to her Yolngu peers at ARDS. Joanna left some very useful guides for Sylvia to use, and she will continue to support and mentor Sylvia from home. In turn, Sylvia was able to teach Joanna some cultural ways of the Yolngu people. Joanna appreciated the unique opportunity to learn more about Yolngu culture. She even picked up some Yolngu words.

“I learnt a huge amount from Sylvia and other staff at ARDS about Yolngu culture, language, and the vastly different worldviews that present challenges for Yolngu people in understanding aspects of ‘mainstream’ Australian daily life, law and government,” said Joanna.

And to add to this success story further, Joanna helped ARDS pitch some stories to NITV as part of a new NITV commissioning round of short documentaries by Indigenous filmmakers and media companies. NITV have now commissioned four of them which is a wonderful opportunity to showcase stories from Arnhem Land on national television.

“ICV is a great organisation providing a really important service to Indigenous communities and organisations. ICV has been fantastic to work with, thank you for your great service and keep up the good work.”

Gaia Osborne, ARDS