Last updated: 15 Jul, 2020

We recognise the mental, physical and social health benefits that engagement with the arts and culture can provide. This has the potential to strengthen community identity and pride, and increase respect and understanding across cultures.

VicHealth has a long and proud history of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives in the arts and creative industries. Connection to culture is crucially important to health and wellbeing, especially involving the voices of next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in conversations around solution and decision that will impact their future.   

Our most recent suite of projects use engagement with the arts and creative industries to create pathways to further opportunity. While building skills, confidence and connections among participants these projects provide safe spaces for the development of a new generation of brilliant First Nations creatives.

These projects were dramatically interrupted by coronavirus but their outcomes have been so promising we have extended our support by an additional year:

The Barpirdhila Foundation's Youth Programs will continue to provide platforms that nurture, develop and support Aboriginal excellence within the creative industries through regional youth camps, performance opportunities, artist development programs and music industry/business workshops. This funding will enable the delivery of youth music workshops and performances, including Girls Rock! Koori Camps in Healesville and Shepparton, and an emerging artist showcase events in professional Melbourne venues for young Aboriginal women and girls who have not performed in public or who are new to performance.

The Indigenous Runway Project’s Deadly Fashion Design Program will provide opportunities for up to 15 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in career building activities in the fashion industry. Indigenous Runway Inc. will partner with Kangan Institute to introduce up to 15 Indigenous young people to an exciting world of fashion where brands and independent creativity matters and explore the basic foundations of product development. The program will utilise fashion as a vehicle to reveal new career pathways to young Indigenous people and help push both professional and creative boundaries. 

The Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) First Nations Capacity Building Project will continue to build on ongoing First Nations engagement, a priority in their 2019-2023 strategic plan. MWF will continue working with a First Nations program advisor to drive relationship building, strategy and staff development as they move towards the launch of an ongoing self-determined First Nations program within MWF. This program will lead to greater employment and engagement opportunities for Victorian First Nations writers, readers and community.

Evaluation of the 2020/21 Indigenous Arts Program will be undertaken by Social Compass, a research and evaluation consultancy owned and operated by Aboriginal development organisation the Wunan Foundation Inc.