Workshop series deepens connection to culture for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people in Melbourne Throughout September and October, Youth Projects collaborated with proud Kurunji man, Michael Cussens, to facilitate a 6-week workshop series to explore a range of topic aimed at providing valuable insights into Aboriginal culture and promote a deeper appreciation and connection to culture. Topics included Yarning Circles, music therapy, Yidaki lessons for individuals assigned Male at birth, arts & crafts, and other culturally enriching experiences. Facilitated by Cussens, the workshops provided young people a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture, emphasising the power of storytelling, the arts, and the connection with oneself and the land as pathways to understanding and connecting with culture, and how this connection can foster healing. Pictured here: Participants designing their own boomerangs as part of the series. The series attracted a diverse group of participants, including several young people of refugee background who expressed difficulties in grappling with their own cultural identity since arriving in Australia - often feeling lost trying to understand their place within the Australian context. The workshops were particularly meaningful for several young people of First Nations background who have limited connections to their community or land. They shared their experiences of feeling marginalized, particularly due to being white-passing, and the challenges they faced in accessing culturally appropriate services. A few participants described the experience as ‘profoundly healing’ with many having struggled with connecting to their culture and their sense of belonging in Australia growing up. Participants also included several young people of refugee backgrounds who expressed difficulties in grappling with their own cultural identity since arriving in Australia. The workshops offering opportunities to explore and deepen their understanding of First Nations identity and their connection to culture and country. During the final week, the workshop was opened up to young people and youth coaches to provide a safe space to reflect and discuss the outcome of the Voice to Parliament referendum. Michael performed "From Little Things Big Things Grow" by Paul Kelly & The Messengers - a tribute to Vincent Lingiari and the Kurinji people's fight for land rights. The timing was poignant, as the song's story and its historical context underscored the broader narrative of rights advocacy and the journey toward justice. The session continued with Indigenous mindfulness practices and Yidaki by Michael. Pictured here: Michael Cussens performing "From Little Things Big Things Grow" by Paul Kelly & The Messengers - a tribute to Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people's fight for land rights. The series not only offered participants a rich array of cultural experiences, but also provided a timely and healing space for reflection and connection during a significant moment in Australia's history. These workshops have been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Victorian State Government and Engage! 2022 – 2024.