Truth from the source: Elevating young First Nations voices

A young woman holding a microphone sitting in between another woman and two men.

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​​Owning your story—of your life, your family, your land—means that you have the power to choose how you are defined. The stories of Indigenous Australians have undergone dilution, marginalisation, or outright erasure since colonisation, but young First Nations people are now reclaiming their voices, stories, and histories.

In March this year, we supported the World Indigenous Tourism Summit in Perth (Whadjuk Noongar Country), sponsoring the attendance of three youth delegates—Marisa Maher (Western Aranda), Kieron Anderson (Quandamooka), and Marun Carl Fourmile (Yidinji)—as part of our broader aim to amplify young First Nations voices.

Additionally, Art Processors interns Zoe Braybrook, a proud Gulidjan woman, and Jerrika Pevitt, a proud Gunditjmara woman, participated in a creative industries panel discussion at the summit’s Youth Symposium on 13 March. They both spoke of their experiences as young First Nations people working within creative fields, and were joined by Shauna Gerrand, our Group Director of People & Culture. 

The panel session, titled ‘Creating and Promoting Your Tourism Story’, focused on the power of holding on to ownership of your story, and how young First Nations creatives can thrive in values-driven organisations that understand the importance of bringing together the teams that work on cultural projects.

“It was about empowering early-career Indigenous operators and students to take agency over their representation in this industry,” says Shauna, explaining why Art Processors decided to participate in the Youth Symposium.

“We wanted to share the work that Art Processors has done to advance that idea, with the intent of spurring further discussion and learning on how to continually improve this for young Indigenous people. So we did that by bringing Jerrika and Zoe along to speak on the panel, of course, and by discussing our partnership with CareerTrackers, which we are lucky to have.”

Listen to Zoe and Jerrika, who shared their stories at the World Indigenous Tourism Summit Youth Symposium in March:

Launching creative careers

CareerTrackers is an organisation connecting Indigenous university students with employers to accelerate their professional development via paid internships. They’ve supported over 3,000 internships, with 80 per cent of their students finding full-time employment within three months of completing their studies.

Since joining Art Processors via CareerTrackers, Jerrika and Zoe have become recognised faces among the many teams within our organisation as they’ve explored opportunities for careers in exhibition design, creative technology, engineering, people and culture, and more.

Following her graduation this month, Zoe will be joining us in a graduate exhibition design role. Collaborating with First Nations people is critical to our work, particularly in place-based storytelling, but we are also committed to this through true representation in the Art Processors roster.

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A group of men and women standing in a row.
Left to right: Adam Grant (Innovation Director, AKQA), Zoe Braybrook (intern, Art Processors), Shauna Gerrand (Group Director of People & Culture, Art Processors), Jerrika Pevitt (intern, Art Processors), Tony Briggs (Managing Director, Typecast Entertainment​​​​​​​), Scott Fairbanks (Associate Design Director, Innovation & Sustainability, AKQA).​

Clarify, amplify, dignify

We have been so fortunate to hear the expression and evolution of Jerrika and Zoe’s voices at Art Processors. As we look forward to continuing our engagement with CareerTrackers, we also value the richness and diversity of Indigenous creatives and organisations with whom we collaborate across many of our projects.

“We certainly give strong consideration to who we're working with, and making sure that the story being told is one that actually needs to be brought to light,” says Shauna, echoing Zoe’s sentiments about un-learning and re-learning the truth.

“Because we know that throughout history, many stories have been represented as reality when that actually isn’t the case, or they completely ignore a crucial experience   within the story that is being be told.”

In recent years we’ve been proud to work alongside groups and individuals such as the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation for Pentridge Prison, First Languages Australia for the Great Southern Land Gallery, proud Koa woman Dr Tauri Simone for the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, and the late Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta artist Josh Muir for What’s on your mind?, to name a few.

“All the First Nations stories that we help bring to life, we want to do them justice and bring them the recognition they deserve,” says Shauna. “We are excited and feel so fortunate to have partnered with so many amazing First Nations contributors and artists throughout the projects we've worked on.”

“Hopefully we'll start seeing more of the industry strongly championing that perspective as well. I think the arts and culture industry has a huge role to play in giving voice to First Nations people.”

In fulfilling that role, we encourage all organisations, particularly those within creative fields, to partner with CareerTrackers to ensure the stories of Indigenous Australians are told from the heart, from the source, and from the truth. For more information visit careertrackers.org.au.

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the many Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and honour Elders past, present and emerging. We respect their deep, enduring connection to their lands, waterways and surrounding clan groups since time immemorial. We cherish the richness of First Nations Peoples’ artistic and cultural expressions.