Members of the Stolen Generation and their communities are coming together in a new program focused on healing through art.

Communities around Queensland are joining the initiative, run by Swinburne University in partnership with Link-Up Queensland, an organisation dedicated to reuniting members of the Stolen Generation.

Members of the Stolen Generation are encouraged to tell their stories through artwork, as well as foster connections within the group.

The Sustaining Connections program is based on research by Swinburne academic Dr Norm Sheehan, who identified cultural connection as a significant factor in the wellbeing of Indigenous communities.

We are presenting connective art as a relationship-building activity for communities and between community members, researchers and counsellors, Sheehan said. We can then celebrate the creativity of these groups and identify various understandings and needs within those communities, so we have the connections to carry research further if communities wish.

This program is about communities celebrating their identity through a collaborative network, he said.

The Sustaining Connections program is funded by Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Virgin Airlines.

The resulting artwork and narratives will be digitally collected by Swinburne Design to be exhibited in Brisbane by Link Up Queensland during Reconciliation Week and on Sorry Day in May 2011.

“We hope that this program will grow to include Aboriginal community groups in other states, Sheehan said.

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