Our Place Our Species in the Northern Rivers

group pf people outside a building listening to music

Youth worker and creative producer Mitch King has been engaged by Lismore Quad to take the lead in the Northern Rivers Science Hub’s Our Place Our Species pilot project. A Yaegl and Bundjalung man living in the Lismore region, Mitch has a long history of working with young people from diverse cultural backgrounds and sharing stories through dance, music and theatre.

“I’m hopeful that by inviting Elders to share their stories of connection to Country, we will create new opportunities for young people to get involved in the ecology of the region, share their perspectives and discover plants, animals and their habitat,” he said.

“We’ll also bring in the knowledge of all kinds of land management people, with expertise in fire and floods and also ecologists.”

head shot of a man with a beard
Youth Worker and creative producer Mitch King has been engaged to deliver the Our Place Our Species pilot project in the Northern Rivers.

The region’s devastating floods continue to be felt deeply by those living in the Northern Rivers and the impacts will last for years  to come.

“Our intention is to engage young people in our project with a community barbeque that features both music by young musicians and a guest appearance by artist and ecologist Andrew Rewald whose installation Plant Treaty is now on display at The Quad.”

Plant Treaty is a garden installation symbolising continuity and respect for plant knowledge amid times of great cultural and climate change. In this garden and country, locally endemic edible plants, and endangered or threatened native species sit alongside food and medicine plants, some of which are classified weeds in Australia.

Plant Treaty is an interactive space to consider the environmental, historical and cultural significance of both native and introduced in eco-reparation, agriculture, foraging and fermentation practices. Surrounding the garden are artworks from the Ethnobotanicals series– plants foraged, cultivated, cooked or fermented during community engagement projects between Australia and his ancestral homeland of Germany.

Andrew’s practice is underpinned by Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborative engagement in the Northern Rivers, revealing connections to place, while highlighting our paradoxical dislocation from the land and the urgency to reconnect.

Later on in the project, more workshops will be on offer led by Andrew and Aunty Delta Kay that will instruct participants in local Indigenous foodways and their purpose in local ecosystems, looking at native foods and their use in bush medicine.

“This is a great project as it brings together all kinds of knowledge systems to learn from each other,” said Mitch, who has big plans for using this project to build lasting connections for future learning and creative exchange.

Get involved

To get involved contact Mitch by email Mkflowprojects@gmail.com.

Feature images shows young people participating in a NAIDOC Week event at the Lismore Quadrangle hosted by the Dream Bigger team at Rekindling The Spirit. Guest post by  Jackie Randles, Project Lead Our Place Our Species.