Engaging indigenous youth with digital technology

By Katie Breckon
Archive Manager Mowanjum Artists Spirit of the Wandjina Aboriginal Corporation

Technology is a foreign concept for most senior Elders of the Mowanjum community, but art and cultural traditions are very strong.

We saw an opportunity to combine the two and provide training and resources for the community to record and share their knowledge through digital technologies.

During the Mowanjum festival last year we began filming Junba which is storytelling through traditional song and dance and encouraged Mowanjum young people to get involved.

But in order to get the children more involved we needed resources, including computers to use for the editing and someone to facilitate the program.

The Telstra Everyone Connected grant is helping us to get the resources and run a program specifically to include youth in digital technology.

We need to be very flexible to encourage children to get involved voluntarily and we are going to base this year’s activities on last year’s successes, such as the filming project.

We also plan on involving students from the community who board in Perth as role models to increase involvement when they come home for the holidays and our festival.

The project will help to teach the participants new skills by giving them access to new technology which will develop confidence and the opportunity to share their stories with the outside world.



The Worrora, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbul tribes make up the Mowanjum community which is just outside Derby. The Mowanjum archive and media centre at the Art Centre has been running since May 2012 to archive the history of the Mowanjum people. The community has a youth population of around 200 and this project will provide them with an opportunity to access digital technologies and multimedia training.

Location: Derby, WA

Target: 20

Duration: one year

Outcome: Indigenous children engaging with digital technology

More information: www.mowanjumarts.com



In 2012, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Telstra Foundation made 100 Everyone Connected grants to community groups to improve digital inclusion by connecting disadvantaged children and young people to the internet, building their online skills and promoting cyber safety.