Join the Malaami Project weekend

The Malaami Project launched at OzGREEN’s Thrive festival on 4 March with Conversation Circles in the Malaami tent.

THE Malaami Project will be held at the Bellingen Showgrounds over the weekend of 25 and 26 March.

The Project was developed through a close collaboration between Gumbaynggirr elders and leaders and the Bellingen-based Centre for Ecological Learning.

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Lisa Siegel from the Centre for Ecological Learning told News Of The Area, “The Malaami Project is about everyone coming together to develop a collective vision and blueprint to plan for relocalisation and increased climate-resilience for our Shire.

“The focus of the Malaami Project is on the long-term.

“It’s about increasing the ability of our community and local businesses to manage the long-term risks associated with a changing climate over the years and decades ahead.

“We are looking to re-vision how our local structures such as food and water supply, land and water management, energy use, health and wellbeing, and economic systems can be adjusted or rebuilt.

“We are looking to build on the amazing initiatives that already exist to create a life-sustaining and climate-resilient Bellingen Shire,” she said.

The Malaami Project featured at OzGREEN’s Thrive festival at Bellingen Showgrounds on 4 March with Conversation Circles in the Malaami tent.

“The conversations addressed what’s needed for future-building and climate-resilience,” said Katie Allwood, Malaami Project planning team member.

The official launch of the Malaami Project on Saturday 25 March will be led by Gumbaynggirr Elders, young leaders and changemakers.

Uncle Michael Jarrett and Nathan Brennan have been working behind the scenes to make this important event happen.

With an open invitation to everyone to come along to the launch, the event promises a collective learning experience about culture and Country through the experience of live music, dance, storytelling and yarning.

In the evening there will be an opportunity to join in a discussion with Gumbaynggirr Elders and changemakers about how everyone can move forward with respect for each other through the understanding of cultural knowledge and Country, to develop an overarching vision of a future-resilient Bellingen Shire.

The main events start with Learning through Culture 3.00-5.00pm featuring the Buddaabang Bari Dance Group, storytelling and song.

At 5.00-6.00pm there’s yarning, live music by Mandawuy & Friends, and food available for purchase.

Learning through Listening to Country is from 6.00pm to 8.00pm.

There are two public conversations.

Conversation 1 – Custodians of the Bellinger, with Auntie Lisa Kelly, Uncle Richard Kelly and Uncle Micklo Jarrett.

Conversation 2 – Cultural Land Management and Sovereignty with Nathan Brennan, Dr. Chels Marshall and Rhys Pacey.

The Malaami Futures Community Workshop being held the next day, on Sunday, 26 March, will be facilitated by local community leaders who will guide a day-long visioning and future-building collaborative process.

Combining Gumbaynggirr cultural learnings, understandings and expertise with learnings from local community knowledge experts, the workshop represents the first steps of the community’s journey towards developing a blueprint for a longer-term climate-resilient future for Bellingen Shire.

“These initial Malaami Project events are the first phase of an ongoing initiative to develop and implement strategies in collaboration with our Gumbaynggirr Elders and community that will make a positive impact on environmental sustainability and climate change into the future,” said Tanya Fox, member of the CEL organising committee.

The Malaami Project is funded and supported by Bellingen Shire Council via a grant from the NSW Government.

For more information on the Malaami Project, see the Centre for Ecological Learning website at


Local, Sari, shares her views in the Conversation Circles at the Malaami Project’s tent at Thrive festival in Bellingen.

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