Six First Nations cultural practitioners are currently taking part in an eight-week program which gives them the opportunity to work with cultural institutions across the globe.

2024 Encounters Fellow Jamie Hampton has worked in the museum and cultural sector for four years, and hopes what he learns during the program will help lead to a cultural centre in Yuendumu.

The Encounters Fellowship Program led by the National Museum of Australia aims to develop the practitioner’s knowledge, skills and networks to help expand the country’s Indigenous cultural network.

As part of this year’s program, the Fellows are partnering with cultural institutions in the UK and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Menang and Nyunga woman Shona Coyne is NMA’s Head of First Nations Outreach, she says the program could shape the future of Indigenous museums.

“I think the one thing that’s really great about this program is it gives the Fellows an opportunity to really explore ideas about what museums can be, and how First Nations cultural materials [are] displayed or how they are cared for,” Ms Coyne says.

These are the leaders of the future.

So If the more they know about what museums have been, and what they are now and what they could be, I think the stronger we will all be in the sector will be in the future.”

Arrernte and Warlpiri man Jamie Hampton is one of the cultural practitioners selected for the program.

He’s excited to bring what he learns overseas back to his community in  Yuendumu.

“Our main goal is to eventually build a cultural center,” Mr Hampton says.

We want a place where community can come together and share stories.

So all of my learnings that I gained through the fellowship, I’m hoping to take back and [build] relationships with those overseas institutions, so we can continue to work with them on their cultural collections down the line, and who knows, maybe, take a group of elders over to England eventually.”

The other Fellows taking part in the program include:

Bunuba and Walmajarri Broadcaster Natalie Davey from Wangki Radio

Barkindji and Malyangapa Tourism Operator David Doyle

Karajarri Anthropology PHD Student Samara King

Juru clan of the Birri-Gubba Nation Independent Researcher Nerelle Nicol

And Dunghutti and Wiradjuri Artist and Curator Sammi Snedden

Listen to the full interview with Menang and Nyunga woman Shona Coyne and Arrernte and Warlpiri man Jamie Hampton here:

Images Supplied by the National Museum of Australia