Since the beginning of 2020, I.C.E. has been strengthening its relationship with First Nations communities. To achieve a deeper engagement with the community, and more meaningful partnership on projects, I.C.E. has moved to address First Nations leadership within its governance structure by appointing Dharug Traditional Custodian and Knowledge Holder Julie Clarke-Jones (Webb) as its newest board member.
On her appointment, Julie Clarke-Jones (Webb) said
“I’m extremely excited to have an opportunity to further strengthen and build relationships between my people, communities and I.C.E.
I.C.E. has shown a commitment, support and willingness to raise First Nation voices and people within this much needed space whilst always honouring and acknowledging the continued and unbroken connection and custodianship of the Dharug yura with respect and reciprocity. I am looking forward immensely to guiding and informing practice and protocols to assist I.C.E. in achieving its vision in the First Nation arts and culture space.”
I.C.E. Chair Pino Migliorino welcomed the organisation’s purposeful approach to First Nations engagement as well as a range of other approaches and initiative designed to deliver significant engagement and participation.
“I am excited to welcome Julie to the Board and I look forward to working with her and learning together with her.”
This news comes with other recent announcements from I.C.E.:
Jannawi Dance Clan is officially artist in residence at I.C.E. As part of this residency, I.C.E. is working with Jannawi Dance Clan’s Artistic Director, Peta Strachan, to support each other and develop projects. Jannawi is using the venue to meet, rehearse and develop new performances.
By September, I.C.E. will announce its new Producer, First Nations Program as well as its Indigenous Engagement Strategy. These two key elements in the organisation will solidify and grow I.C.E.’s commitment to First Nations’ voices.
From 2021 the Dharug Knowledge Holders Group will take up residency at I.C.E. Peta Strachan, Julie Clarke-Jones (Webb) and Chris Tobin will advise on programs and lead the development of Dharug and First Nations projects. Their knowledge and connections with community will be key to shaping future I.C.E. projects.
I.C.E. is working with local First Nations young people to develop a First Nations Youth Round Table, which will focus on understanding Western Sydney First Nations Youth’s artistic needs and interests. This initiative will be further developed with I.C.E.’s Youth Engagement and First Nations Program Producers.
A series of closed and public discussions devised by young First Nations people from across Western Sydney and a digital story-telling project with community leaders are currently in development. Opening this space for important conversations lead by First Nations young people is a priority for I.C.E. going forward.
I.C.E. Executive Director Anne Loxley, who started in the role in January 2020, said of these initiatives
“I.C.E. will only become the organisation it should be through deep and respectful relationships with First Nations communities. Now that Julie is part of the Board, and with the imminent appointment of a First Nations Producer, we will embed First Nations perspectives and priorities in all that we do”.