"To be supported via a Fellowship from the Australia Council to write a reflection on participation in community cultural practice is such a generative opportunity. It allows me a critical space to bring our collective knowledges to the present, drawing on the scholarly and the poetic to tell this story."
Paula is a creative producer, educator, community advocate, writer and director. Over the past 30 years, she has sustained a commitment to critical practice with marginalised communities in cultural work that speaks to the intersectionality of identities. She want to promote practice that is informed by a more mindful, deep and authentic engagement.
Paula's artistic focus has been story work, actively engaging the CACD space to facilitate expression for communities to tell their stories. Engagement with critical concerns of race, gender, sexuality and social exclusion through CACD has enabled communities, especially women, people from refugee backgrounds, and young people to speak up in often hostile environments.
Her Fellowship will facilitate a research project that brings together scholarly and practice-led thinking to critically investigate 'participation' as a fundamental principle of human rights-based approaches to community arts and cultural development work. Paula's specific focus is on projects that engage children from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum.
Using methodologies including participatory action research, interview and case studies, the research will be shared across sectors via multiple platforms. Paula's key Fellowship outcomes centre on producing a published monograph and an online toolkit for inter/national usability. Paula will be working closely with partners that include Arts Front, Diversity Arts Australia, and the Refugee Welcome Centre to ensure her work is both reflective and effective.
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