First Nations Creators Program

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Maribyrnong City Council acknowledges that we reside, work and create on the lands of the Kulin Nation, the Traditional Owners of this land. We celebrate the world’s oldest living culture and recognise their creativity, beliefs and relationship with the land. We pay our deep respects to Elders past, present and emerging and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.

About the Program 

The First Peoples of Maribyrnong (Mirring-gnay-bir-nong), the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong peoples have a connection to this land and its waterways lasting more than 40,000 years. This connection is deep, continuous and dynamic and contributes to a diverse and thriving community. Arts and Culture Maribyrnong supports and celebrates this knowledge, leadership and creativity. Maribyrnong City Council’s Arts and Culture Strategy makes a commitment to profile and celebrate the arts and culture of our First Nations community through Theme 1: First Peoples first.
The First Nations Creators Program provides an opportunity for an individual creative practitioner, collective and/or organisation who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is based in Melbourne's West with the opportunity to lead the creation of a new work anywhere in the City of Maribyrnong in 2023-2024.   To support this Arts and Culture will:
  • Provide a grant of up to $10,000 towards the costs of a new work to presented or exhibited in Maribyrnong, including (but not limited to): artist fees, mentor fees, access costs such as interpreting and child care, marketing assets, materials, equipment hire, venue costs, etc.;
  • Provide in-kind access to the Bluestone Church Arts Space for up to 2 weeks or connect the artist to other spaces such as libraries or community centres if more appropriate;
  • Provide a dedicated theatre technician for 8 hours for the bump in / technical rehearsal day (if required);
  • Cover the cost of hire fees for technical equipment in the Bluestone Church Arts Space;
  • Provide marketing to promote the project through our channels, and provide producer support through a series of meetings over the course of the funded project as required.

Selection process

Applications will be assessed by a First Nations peer industry panel. Should a panel member be part of, or associated with, an application, they will exclude themselves from discussion of that project.

How to apply

Please subscribe to the ArtBytes e-newsletter to be informed of future rounds. 

First Nations Creators 2021-2023

First Nations Creators 2023: Na Djinang Circus

Na Djinang Circus will continue development and publicly premier the contemporary circus show, Of The Land On Which We Meet in the City of Maribyrnong.


First Nations Creators 2022: Uncle Bart Willoughby & Jody Haines

First Nations Creators 2022: Uncle Bart Willoughby & Jody Haines

Uncle Bart Willoughby's project involved creating a series of podcasts exploring the foundations of indigenous music, how it contributed to indigenous rights and the proliferation of indigenous presence in other art forms. The project involving creating a collection of pod casts that interview a broad diversity of indigenous talent, exploring history, story, content, practice and context.
Jody Haines' project involved creating an immersive film/projection accompanied by a spatially oriented sound scape (up to 10 mins duration). The work explores themes of Aboriginal relationality and connectivity – the embedded and embodied, interconnectivity of all living things.


First Nations Creators 2021: this mob

this mob is an arts collective for emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives. Since 2016, this mob has been active in facilitating workshops, curating exhibitions, hosting events and disrupting across so-called Melbourne. 

this mob's project, Black Wattle, is a keeping place: a collection of poetry, photography, collage and illustration developed by this mob arts collective over the last 12 months. Published by Incendium Radical Library, Black Wattle showcases the work of five key artists and the conversations they exchanged throughout lockdown. Common themes include tracing waterways, backyard gardens, thinking locally and relationships to place. After the onslaught of screens and digital communication in recent times, refresh your mind and senses with 40 pages of new work in print. Black Wattle was launched at Footscray Community Arts Centre in May 2021. 


First Nations Creators 2020: Junjurri TV

Nathalie McLean achieved remarkable success with Junjurri TV, a children's program focusing on Indigenous storytelling. Originally planned as a large outdoor event, McLean moved to an online format when Melbourne went into lockdown, creating meaningful and educational content that could be accessed by a wide audience. Through Junjurri TV, McLean showcased her skills as a performer and writer while empowering First Nations creatives, educators, and children. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Junjurri TV received more than 2,800 views across various platforms. The project sparked community engagement and strengthened Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices within the wider community. While Covid-19 was an unexpected hit to the arts industry McLean was able to adapt, overcome and achieve a fantastic creative outcome that resonated with the community.