Resurgence: Possum has been designed in consultation with senior cloak makers. They have helped guide Speaking in Colour to make sure the programs are housed in cultural appropriateness for the different genders and generations that we are working with.
Starting with an armband and a ‘contract of respect’ Speaking in Colour will step through the process of making a Possum Skin Cloak while teaching the cultural significance and knowledge surrounding these practices. The program is focused on connection and relationship building for the participants as well as cultural revitalisation through learning.
About Possum Skin Cloaks
Simply put Possum Skin Cloaks are utilitarian objects. Starting as a baby blanket, three pelts are sewn together with kangaroo sinew to create a warm and soft blanket, much like a sheep skin rug today.
Over the years the blanket would be added to. Iconography would be burnt and scratched into the underside of the leather creating a historical narrative. Ochre mixed with a resin would be painted onto the leather recording the owners belonging and connection to country.
Over time with additional pelts the blanket would transform into a cloak, used in wet weather (leather side out), as a warm cloak when cold and a blanket the mum would share with her children. Finally,
people would be laid to rest wrapped in their Possum Skin Cloak.
We provide educators with more than enough information so they can authentically embed Aboriginal perspectives into their classrooms, we also provide NESA endorsed teacher professional learning and an education kit so even after the program is finished this education kit can continue the conversation in their school.
To deliver our Resurgence: Possum we are generally on site at each school one day per week for 10 weeks. The units of work and lesson plans we provide identify cross key learning areas and assessable outcomes.
The opportunity doesn't end with the artist in residence program, the following year participants are invited to be part of our yearly exhibition at a regional gallery or museum.
The program includes the following
- Possum: Aboriginal education kit
- Teenage or adult sized cloak
- Program delivery
- Teacher professional learning (40 staff, additional staff at $145pp)
- Interim report - provided at the conclusion of the program with the completed body of work. Evidencing student and teacher program and TPL engagement and possible impact.
- Final report - provided after the exhibition reporting on all aspects such as advocacy, attendance and engagement.
Total: $17,899 for a teenage sized cloak
Total: $19,099 for an adult sized cloak
Note: Travel 50kms outside Newcastle CBD incurs additional costs. (50% paid at the start and 50% on the completion of the project)