Sally Morgan at Spinifex Story Writing Camp

Artist and author Sally Morgan shares her highlights from the inaugural Spinifex Story Writing Camp.

I spent the last week of June participating in workshops at Tjuntjuntjara Remote School with three amazing people – Karen and Tina from the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and illustrator Ann James.

Three other schools also participated by sending students – Menzies Remote School, Mt Margaret Remote School and Firbank Grammar (Melbourne). The workshops were part of the inaugural Spinifex Story Writing Camp.

Tjuntjuntjara is Australia’s most remote community. It’s two hours by charter flight or around nine hours drive from Kalgoorlie. The children involved in the workshops were smart, talented, creative and funny. They kept us laughing, were always willing to try something new and supported each other in every activity. The students experimented with a wide range of art materials and also made paper clay models of the characters they would later include in their stories.

One of the highlights of the camp, apart from all the fantastic trips on country, was the Cook Off. Each group had to cook a meal in a camp oven on an open fire. The winning meal was a camp oven full of fried rice. The prize was a wooden spoon. There are plans for the Spinifex Story Writing Camp to be held yearly, with the Cook Off being a feature because it was so enthusiastically embraced by the students.

By the end of the camp each student had written and illustrated their own story. The students’ stories and artwork were shown at a community celebration and everyone felt proud of their achievements. The stories will be published by the ILF, given back to the students and also distributed to other schools.




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