The Sisters and Brothers project is working with children aged 8-12yrs to build empathy towards those who experience discrimination; emphasize commonality and diversity; and promote dialogue around diversity, race-based discrimination and its harms, through an innovative music program. Stage 2 of the project commences this year funded through Medicare local and VicHealth focussing on participating schools in the Melton area; Kurunjang PS, Melton South PS and Diggers Rest PS.
Stage 2 will see the re-engagement with the school communities in Melton to find out how successfully the children have been able to utilise the decision making processes taught to them in Stage 1. Stage 2 will deepen their understanding of bystander intervention techniques and further empower the children to embed the process in the school community as health educators. To mark and celebrate the collaboration with the school communities Stage 2 will see the production of a music video clip accompanying one song selected from the Sisters and Brothers musical repertoire.
At the heart of the Sisters and Brothers project is the age-old power of music and mass singing. Stage 1 took place in four LGAs in the Western Region of Melbourne; Melton, Wyndham, Brimbank and Maribyrnong. Schools from the across four municipalities took part in a series of workshops led by the following lead artists: South African musician, songwriter, singer and storyteller Valanga Khoza, Choir director, singer, songwriter Andrea Khoza, and Hip Hop artist Mary Quinsacara. Culturally and linguistically diverse emerging artists from MASSIVE hip hop choir are working alongside the artistic team in the participating schools. The Sisters and Brothers workshop process explores storytelling, collaborative song-writing, musical rhythms from diverse cultural traditions, and role-play.
Sisters and Brothers project Stage 1 was funded by VicHealth and the R.E. Ross Trust
More about VicHealth Arts about Us (from their website)
The arts provide a powerful platform for strengthening cultural understanding and celebrating diversity. VicHealth’s Arts About Us program encourages dialogue about the benefits of cultural diversity and the harm caused by race-based discrimination.
Victorians value diversity and fairness – in fact, most agree that it’s a good thing for our society to be made up of different cultures.
Yet many people from non-English speaking and Indigenous backgrounds still experience race-based discrimination. It takes place in everyday situations – when people are out shopping, on public transport, at sports grounds, in schools and in workplaces.
And it has significant impacts on people’s health and wellbeing.
Research shows race-based discrimination has direct links to anxiety and depression and may also have links to physical conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Arts About Us projects are partnering with organisations across Victoria to develop arts-based programs, shows and exhibitions that celebrate our cultural diversity and help people understand the impacts of race-based discrimination.
With everything from photography and plays to music and comedy, Arts About Us offers myriad ways to be entertained, have a laugh, experience something new and get involved – and most importantly, to take a stand against race-based discrimination.
More about Cohealth Arts Generator
Cohealth arts generator (formerly Barkly Arts Centre) works in partnership with individuals and communities who experience limited access to arts and cultural opportunities. Through participatory arts practice Cohealth arts generator aims to increase wellbeing and agency by unlocking creative potential and building connections to the broader community.
Cohealth arts generator (CAG) embraces diversity enhances cultural identity and community connection through artistic expression; underpinned by equity and social justice. Cohealth Arts Generator is a division of Cohealth Limited and is located in the warehouse building at Footscray Community Arts Centre.
CAG runs a dynamic program of cross arts projects that engage a wide range of community members in collaborative and individual arts practice. CAG supports the development of emerging artists from culturally diverse communities and facilitates opportunities for established artists to collaborate with western region communities.
CAG provides access to arts opportunities to young people from culturally diverse communities, people experiencing mental illness and homelessness, refugees, residents of low cost housing including Barkly Hotel, community housing, Supported Residential services, public housing and Indigenous Australians in Melbourne’s western suburbs. CAG produces quality public outcomes through a process of meaningful collaboration coupled with high production values. These outcomes include exhibitions, performances and installations.
The program is run by two part time staff and employs wide range of artist contractors. CAG produces at least two in-house exhibitions and a range of partnered performance events each calendar year.
More about Racism Stops with me
The project will also be informed by the Australian Government’s National Anti-Racism Strategy. This campaign has been developed in response to findings in 2011 that one in seven Australians said that they experienced discrimination because of colour and background. This figure has been steadily increasing in recent years. The National Anti- Racism Strategy will address racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in addition to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Western Region Health Centre has signed up to the Strategy to play a visible role by taking a public stance against racism.