Sinsa Mansell: 2019 Milparanga Leadership Program Recipient

    23 July 2019

    Sinsa Masell

    Milparanga is run by the ARLF and is a cross industry leadership program with a focus on regional and remote Australia. The Australia Council is supporting First Nations artists and arts practitioners to participate in the program. Milparanga, meaning ‘watching over country and its people’ (in Mithaka language), honours Indigenous knowledge, philosophies and reclaiming of language. Milparanga is designed to develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership. Sinsa Mansell is part of that program and shared her insights in this conversation with the Australia Council.

    What drew you to apply to the Milparanga Leadership program? 

    I was drawn to the Milparanga Leadership program through the Australia Council of the Arts partnership with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

    Why is rural leadership an important part of your cultural and professional pursuits?

    Being able to participate and make connections from across the nation is hugely beneficial, not only for my own professional development. [It also benefits] the projects, organisations and future work we as leaders are involved in. [Rural leadership] is strengthening communities through learning. 

    How is First Nations leadership unique?

    First Nations leaders are unique in their fields. They are high profile role models for their people, for all communities across the country.


    Achieving ways forward for the community while ensuring the cultural lore and knowledge systems are honoured. We know, if people break protocol they get sick, others do not. We know, we are Country and Country is us; others do not. We must continue to protect ourselves, our communities and our Country.

    What leadership qualities inspired you in the past and how have you incorporated that into your own leadership journey?

    We are constantly in positions of sharing appropriate knowledge, our history and holding space. It is important to understand that we do not have to carry the white guilt of colonisation.

    We don't need share or answer questions or meet a request simply because it has been asked. Our philosophies are diverse and it's vital to continuously create bridges for the broader community to gain knowledge… achieving ways forward for the community while ensuring the cultural lore and knowledge systems are honoured. We know, if people break protocol they get sick, others do not. We know, we are Country and Country is us; others do not. We must continue to protect ourselves, our communities and our Country.

    What outcomes are you hoping to achieve through the Milparanga Leadership program?

    I hope to learn new skills and broaden my networks through engagement with other active leaders to discuss their triumphs and how they/their communities are working to ensure we are inspiring the next generation of leaders in all industries. I look forward to making new connections.

    What would be your advice to people wanting to apply to the program in the future?

    We are representing Aboriginal communities across the country not just our own. Together we grow stronger, tougher and smarter. Through working together, we can together make change. We can be the change!

    What would be your advice to people wanting to apply to the program in the future?

    Any inspiration and connections can be history making and life changing. The Milparanga Leadership program brings community members together from across the country. I feel extremely fortunate to be supported as a successful recipient of the scholarship.


    Milparanga ProgramLearn more about this opportunity 

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