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The History of Sharing Culture

Timeline

2004 Moved to Sunshine Coast with 4 kids, identified lack of cultural resources in schools.
2005 Began as Yolngu Media, focusing on Yolngu Culture.
2006 •    Changed business name from 'Yolngu Media' to 'Sharing Culture';
•    Continued market research and product development of Sharing Culture Education Kit, Aboriginal Art, Language and Culture CDROMs.
•    Went to Yirrkala for Community approval.

2007 •    Launched first products;
•    Won awards - Qld Multi Media awards and Memento Australia.
2008 •    Formed Company - 'Sharing Culture Pty Ltd'
•    Took products online, making them accessible through internet.
•    After incredible support and feedback and consultation with local Communities, began developing Sharing Culture Online.

2009 Generated international interest.
2010 •    Launched 'Sharing Culture Online';
•    QSA released the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Languages Syllabus, we began developing a Program to support Communities with Language and Culture lessons.

2011
Assisted members of the Kabi Kabi Community to begin to revitalise language, including providing recording tools with access to Sharing Culture Online, workshops and facilitating Community members working with linguist Aunty Jeanie Bell who produced the Butchulla & Gubbi Gubbi dictionary, as well as ongoing work with linguist Margaret Florey. 
2022
•    Completed the first phase of the Teaching & Learning Program;
•    Formed a working partnership with Central QLD Language Centre to begin Language Revitalisation throughout Central Queensland, starting with Bundaberg and Woorabinda;
•    Sharing Culture placed on the register of digital resource suppliers with Education Services Australia to provide digital resources to support the Australian Curriculum;
•     Set up the Teaching & Learning Program in Sydney, St George, Sunshine Coast, Woorabinda and Bundaberg;
•     Met with Elders and other Community members across QLD, ACT and NSW to introduce the Teaching & Learning Program. At this stage approximately another 23 Communities and are waiting to start setting up the Teaching & Learning Program;
•     Participated in a workshop to advise on developing a schools program for Reconciliation Australia.
•     Invited and accepted becoming Board Members of the Sunshine Coast TAFE Indigenous Advisory Board and MUMAA Inc - Mimburi Upper Mary Aboriginal Association;
•     Released new Teaching & Learning Unit on Family and Kinship.

The long version

Please note that this section does need updating :)

Sharing Culture Pty Ltd was founded by Gadj and Jodie Maymuru in 2005. Our children began school in Yirrkala, Northern Territory, then Cairns and Ravenshoe, Far North Queensland, where the majority of staff and students were Indigenous, and the resources for Indigenous students reflected the populations.

In 2004, we moved to the Sunshine Coast, and it became very apparent that Aboriginal people were a vast minority here, which in turn, meant that the priority for education of Indigenous children was not as high as in the Northern parts of Australia.

A general lack of Indigenous educational resources was one of the major reasons for starting ‘Sharing Culture’. While there were a few Indigenous resources for education, mostly books, hardly any targeted primary school students, and even less were computer based. This inspired us to combine our skills and knowledge to build a quality range of highly engaging, Indigenous-themed software products. Gadj and Jodies cultural upbringing and Jodie’s Multimedia training created a perfect synthesis of knowledge and know-how to create a new way of re-claiming and preserving culture and language.

So, we started on this incredible learning journey and haven’t stopped. We began with sharing Yolngu culture, including art, language, information, music etc., and called our business 'Yolngu Media'. It became obvious people struggled to say the word Yolngu, so we went back and came up with ‘Sharing Culture’, which is the core of who and what we are! In 2006 we changed the business name from ‘Yolngu Media’ to ‘Sharing Culture’.

Our children inspired the activities, we looked at what they loved doing – painting, colouring, jigsaw puzzles, memory games, books and stories etc... and set out to replicate these activities in a digital format. As our children were away from Country, language was also an important factor when creating our products.

We also became aware that it must be difficult for teachers to support our children's needs without any resources, and if we wanted teachers to bring out the best in our children, tapping into their culture was a great motivator. We concentrated on making the teacher's life easier and providing tools to support them.

In 2006, Gadj took the products to Yirrkala for Elder and community approval, and the feedback was it was a great resource, but the Yolngu teachers needed more support in using it in a classroom scene. So writing the ‘Teachers Handbook’ began and we designed the ‘Teacher Resources’ to accompany the ‘Student Activities’ CDROM, which took another 12 months to write and produce. Throughout the whole process, the most important thing is ensuring we meet Communities needs, as well as ensuring design elements are 'easy' and 'fun', and simplicity is the key. Our products need to be user friendly for a wide variety of audiences.

Finally in October 2007, the first of our products were released. The ‘Sharing Culture Education Kit’ won the Queensland Multi Media Awards for best Training/Educational CD, and was taken to conferences across the country. It was a huge success and communities were inspired to have their own cultures represented, celebrating their own languages, stories, and local history. Even so, we found that we needed more control over the content; for instance, in Yolngu culture, when a person passes away, their name can't be spoken. Such information would be difficult to remove from manufactured content, so in 2008 we launched the 'Sharing Culture E-Learning' portal.

During development of the 'Student Activities' CDROM, we became aware that parents wanted affordable programs for their children to use at home and tourists were also looking for something unique and Indigenous Australian for children. So we split the 'Student Activities' and developed the 3 CDROMS -

  • Aboriginal Art
  • Language
  • Culture Activities

These are sold in stores throughout Australia. In 2007, 'Aboriginal Art Activities' won the Indigenous Memento of Australia Award. 

After a year of gathering feedback, we decided it would be near impossible to tackle all of the languages in the country, so we developed a system giving communities control and ownership of their own content.

In 2009 we focused on building and promoting the new program - ‘Sharing Culture Online’, and Jodie completed a Diploma in E-Learning, which was very valuable in developing the new system. We are currently pursuing several International connections and hope to bring the tools of 'Sharing Culture Online' to the global community.

The Future

We are continuing to develop culturally appropriate educational resources. Our future goal is to work with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Communities throughout Australia and then worldwide to develop the concept further and connect children and cultures around the world.


 
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