National Museum and Charlie help out our unsung cultural heroes

Prince Charles is helping six people from the far corners of Australia to travel to Britain to study.

New Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Scholarships are being sponsored by the Prince’s Charities Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

They will allow six people to embark on three-month intensive internships in Australia and the UK.

The program is aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote and regional communities working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors.

The first recipients are Sheree Blackley, an office administrator and gallery curator from Mt Isa in Queensland; Kylie Caldwell, a student liaison officer from NSW; Tanya Carter, an executive assistant and cultural programs officer at the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre in WA’s Fitzroy Crossing; Nadine Lee, an honours student at Charles Darwin University; Finola Woodley, a cultural worker from Roebourne in WA; and Leitha Assan, Gab Titui cultural centre operations and exhibitions manager for the Torres Strait Regional Authority on Thursday Island.

From September 4, the six awardees will do residencies at the NMA, the British Museum and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in the UK. They will also connect with mentors at other major cultural institutions in Canberra, as well as access Australian collections at other prominent universities and institutions in Britain.

The program is being directed by the NMA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program head, Patricia Williamson.

“The scholarships are a legacy of the recent Encounters exhibition of Indigenous objects from the British Museum and Australia and are a way for the NMA to thank the communities for their invaluable input,” said Ms Williamson.

NMA Director Dr Mathew Trinca said the scholarships will have long-term benefits.

“This is a most important program that will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural workers in regional and remote communities the opportunity to obtain key professional development capabilities,” said Dr Trinca.

“This will be two-way learning: the Museum will gain as much from the program as the participants,” he said.

The Prince’s Charities Australia (PCA) chief executive, Janine Kirk said; “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as the Patron of the Encounters exhibition held at both the British Museum and the NMA, is delighted to see this legacy program emerge from the internationally acclaimed project. We are delighted to be partnering in this innovative program.”


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