featured cultural partner

van Oorde-Grainger

Director and Producer of Same Drum



Poppy van Oorde-Grainger, on her work on Same Drum:

I moved to Australia from London as a 13 year old and even though I spoke the language it took me a long time to get a real sense of belonging here. Art played a big roll in helping me find my place and I think it’s a great way to help people connect.

Since then my work has focused on using art to foster people’s self-esteem and sense of belonging. I’ve made art and film with communities all over Australia and overseas and one of my favourite places to work is the Intensive English Centre at Aranmore. 

I first worked with Aranmore from 2009-2014 through YMCA Open Arts, a Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) program that I managed. The benefits of the projects were documented by external evaluators who showed, as well the work had improved participants relationship-building, sense of belonging, self-expression and engagement in learning. Students said "It makes me feel free and excited and famous a little bit. I like to be in the community. It’s looking at me and my work and I feel accepted. They know I am here."  “The main barrier for us is language. With art…we find we have the same points of view and the same feelings.” This previous success, coupled with the knowledge that long-term social change and artistic excellence takes time, is what makes want to continue to build on our collaboration.

What did you have to do, personally, to make this project come true?

When I last worked with Aranmore in 2014 we were all very excited about making films but I didn’t really have the skills so in 2015 I completed a film degree and then spent a further six months undertaking professional development in Paris and Sydney with Beyond Empathy a company who make films with young people.

What changes, if any, did you see during the project?

All of the young people involved showed huge growth in their self-esteem, confidence and sense of belonging.

Before the project Rita was too shy to sing in front of other people and now she is one of the lead singers in this clip. Sota, who made the beats, has since joined the school band and Sara, a drummer and dancer on the track, has volunteered to be a student representative at school. The project really helped the new arrivals find their feet and feel like they belong here.

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