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Stylin Up is in the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 5th August 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> August -> Stylin Up is in the Spotlight

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This week we celebrated the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2015 on August 4th, with: ‘Little People, Big Futures’ being the key theme of this significant day in our calendar.

This week we also celebrate an inspiring program incorporating a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with big futures making a difference in their community. Stylin' Up is well known.

For the past 14 years Stylin’ Up has been Australia’s largest urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rhythm and Blues and Hip Hop Festival. It was originally set up as a one day festival featuring dance and music with a range of developmental workshops conducted in the lead up to each annual festival. It attracted large audiences from all over Queensland and across Australia.

It has been supported by Brisbane City Council as the main funder since its inception. Inala Wangarra has been involved since 2003 and for the last 4 years has been responsible for the on the ground delivery of the festival. Inala Wangarra is a not for profit community organisation that delivers and facilitates a variety of sporting, recreational, cultural and arts programs. Their goal is to enhance and strengthen the skills and capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community within Inala and surrounding areas.

Stylin' Up has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in South-East Queensland. The community of Inala has always been its home base. It is representative of and a part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of the Inala area.

In 2015, in response to changing community needs and funding structures, the one-day event was restructured to a year-long skills development and workshop program for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people of Inala and the surrounding suburbs.

Delivered by Inala Wangarra, the new Stylin' Up program is made up of 5 individual creative programs. These are:

1. Stylin' Up Dance Academy

This is a year-long program that recognises, supports and develops children and young people in a range of dance forms.

2. Cheerleading

This program supports the significant connection between sports and culture and the importance of physical activity for children and young people. The Inala Diamonds are Brisbane's only Indigenous cheerleading team.

3. Traditional Dance

These workshops encourage children and young people to remain connected to culture and to gain skills in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance.

4. One Million Stars

Stylin' Up is a proud Weave 100 community, supporting the international weaving and peacebuilding project, One Million Stars. At each of their community events community members weave stars to contribute to the community goal of 1000 stars and the projects overall goal of one million stars.

Working together to endviolenceis ahuge and difficult task. Working together to end violence against women is even harder. It shouldn't be, but the One Million Stars project that Stylin’ Up is part of acknowledges that it is. The issue of looking at individual behaviour as either victims, perpetrators or bystanders is significant. The One Million Stars campaign states: that's a massive thing to do because acknowledging it is one thing, changing that behaviour is another.It's important not to lose hope. Instead we need to get informed and get support. There's lots of good people working hard and who have done so for a very long time to make some important changes around violence in our communities and violence against women. Let's keep working together for the safety and wellbeing of EVERYONE.

5. Training and mentoring

A significant part of Stylin’ Up is ‘training up’. A young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person sits alongside the program manager in order to develop their skills in arts and event administration. This is an important aspect of the program as it affords essential skills development for young people in this arena.

The dance academy has been working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 to 17 in the local community to identify and develop their creative skills as well as providing access to the wider arts sector. The program aims to develop one or two original performance pieces per annum. The young people have developed these pieces alongside professional artists. Currently the group is busily preparing for their Queensland Child Protection Week performance.

In developing the Queensland Child Protection Week 2015 performance, Inala Wangarra ensured that one of the pieces developed by the young people of the group focused on the key message they aimed to communicate: Protecting children and young people is everybody’s business. Artists and facilitators worked with young people to discuss the issue of child protection and to unpack the ideas, perceptions and opinions of young people about child protection and the role that all people in our communities play in protecting children and young people. They then used forms of dance, rap and poetry to creatively explore and express these ideas.

The culmination of these processes will be delivered at the Launch and Awards Ceremony of Child Protection Week 2015. “The Stylin’ Up Dance Academy participants are very excited to be working towards their performance for the launch of Child Protection Week and are working with choreographers, dance trainers and artists to develop their performance” said Creative Director Jane Jennison.

This will be their first large scale performance outside of the community. Stylin’ Up offer an exciting opportunity to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people through the five key creative programs they deliver. Queensland Child Protection Week is fortunate to have them show case their talents in the opening ceremony of Child Protection Week 2015.