Ground Up Community Support Network Ltd (‘Ground Up’) is a charitable organisation established to deliver services to support the wellbeing of Gija and other Aboriginal people in the East Kimberley region of WA. So far our projects have been delivered in Warmun community (Turkey Creek).
Our activities have focussed on facilitating the transmission of cultural knowledge from elders to younger people and providing positive activities for young people. The projects have a broad range of outcomes – cultural, social and emotional, training and employment.
As we grow our understanding of what approaches work, and as we grow the resources of the organisation, we hope to extend our services to other communities around Australia. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on building relationships and understanding in the East Kimberley, one step at a time.
WHO WE ARE
We started as a group of individuals who are friends of Gija people and Warmun Community through a range of different connections. Inspired by the enormous commitment of Gija people to strengthening their community and improving and enriching the lives of their young people, our Board and members include people from a broad range of backgrounds with a strong interest in Indigenous community development. The group also hopes to honour and carry on the generous contribution Ned Sevil made to his Gija friends and to grassroots healing and culture projects before his death in 2010.
We are also fortunate to have been supported by many volunteers who have committed their time and energy to raising funds for Ground Up's work and supporting our development as an organisation.
We do not yet have paid staff but engage contractors with relevant skills, experience and relationships to facilitate projects on the ground. This includes Gija people in key roles as project bosses and/or teachers, and supports the training and development of young Gija people where possible.
Leanne Craze has broad experience in policy development, research, program design and development, evaluation and training in fields including mental health, rural health, disability, family support, alcohol and drugs, emergency health care, housing and homelessness. She has an enthusiasm for and a focus of working with rural communities in relation to social, economic and climate related adverse impacts. In 2011 Leanne receivedthe Australian and New Zealand Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Services in Australia Award. She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales. Leanne is also very good at cricket.
Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer. She writes arts criticism for The Monthly and has been published in The New Yorker, The Age, Island, Best Australian Essays, and others. She has written about housing affordability and other social justice issues for Overland, Meanjin and Right Now, and has been involved in grassroots activism in Sydney for many years.
Stuart Cuthbertson is a carpenter who undertakes all types of building work and furniture making. He worked at Warmun Art Centre in 2012 and has developed strong friendships within the Warmun community. Some of the great times included traveling with the Art Centre mob to The Tiwi Island for a carving project and to the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. Stuart enjoys going out bush camping, fishing, hunting, gathering sugar bag and learning about cultural practices and Gija history.
Christine Mason is a psychologist with thirty years experience in community development, drug and alcohol services, mental health, child protection and adolescent services. Christine also makes mental health educational films. Her latest film, “Psychosis: a Different Reality”, was made for Mental Health First Aid. In 2009 Christine’s son Ned Sevil, and his partner Anna Crane, were working and living at Warmun. Along with Elders Rusty Peters and Phyllis Thomas, they asked Chris to raise money to buy a car and camera for bush trips in Warmun. The Elders wanted independent funding from a source that would be responsive to their own ideas and projects; Ground Up was established in response to this. Before Ned died in 2010, he asked Christine to continue to support the Gija people, whom he loved.
Matty Shields is a nurse, health educator and pole dancer extraordinaire! http://www.mattyshields.com
Cate Massola works as a curator, arts administrator and academic. She has worked in the commercial and community art sector; at Aboriginal art centres, with Aboriginal art collections (public and private), not-for-profit organisations, artist run initiatives and commercial galleries. Cate has worked in the Warmun community for six years; coordinating the gallery at the Warmun Art Centre and conducting research. In 2016 she completed a PhD in anthropology and art history at the Australian National University. Her research investigated Warmun community's engagement with and value of the Warmun Community Collection, their history of adjustment to Westernisation, the unofficial roles of the Warmun Art Centre and how the Warmun Art Centre supports and enables informal learning.
Nick McClean is a researcher and radio producer, who has worked with indigenous communities in Australia, Indonesia, India and Timor-Leste over the last 9 years. He is interested in community based conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and holds a PhD from the Australian National University in this area. He became a part of Ground Up through his friendship with the Sevil family, and contributes to Ground Up's project and grant development activities.
Esther Gyorki has worked in diverse roles across the arts sector including as a manager, curator, and editor. She currently works as Communications Manager with Regional Arts Australia as well as working as a Freelance Producer and Communications Consultant. Previously, Esther has worked for organisations including Warmun Art Centre, Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and the Alice Desert Festival and most recently managed the Australian Cultural Fund, a fundraising platform for Australian artists.
Tom Sevil (aka Civil) is a mural artist, printmaker, independent publisher and community graphic designer. Tom has done workshops and talks in different communities, galleries and festivals about place-making through murals and the political nature of street art - including 3 weeks of mural painting with the community in Warmun in 2015. Tom’s connection with the Warmun community is through his brother, who lived and worked in Warmun, and who died from cancer in 2010. Tom and Ned worked closely together and exhibited together in four art exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Armidale and Alice Springs. He lives in Melbourne with his partner Lou Smith and their son Freddy. To see more of Tom's work go to www.tomcivil.com and www.civilprints.com.
Lou Smith is a poet, researcher and editor. Her writing has appeared in various Australian and international journals and anthologies including Caribbean Quarterly, Overland and Wasafiri, and her first collection of poetry riversalt was published by Flying Islands Books in 2015. She holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne in Creative Writing. Since the early nineties Lou has been involved in community activism and campaigns for social justice and human rights. She lives in Melbourne with her partner Tom Sevil and their son Freddy.
Kati Watson has had a strong association with the Warmun community since 1997 and is one of the founding members of Ground Up. She has been involved since its inception as a small group of friends with connections to Warmun and a desire to help make positive changes at a grass roots level. She has been the driving force behind much of the fundraising activity of the organisation. Kati was trained as a doctor at the University of Sydney, and now works as a ceramicist.
Shaun Watson PhD FRACP is a consultant neurologist with a practice in Blacktown and at The Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. He has been involved with Ground Up since it's inception and has had a connection with the Warmun community since 1997.
Joe Cavanagh has worked as a teacher, academic and researcher in the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. He is passionate about place-based education initiatives that genuinely reflect local perspectives, cultures and histories and he enjoys creative writing, sports and being outdoors.