2023 ‘Creativity and Culture’ Category Honourable Mention

Shire of Dardanup, WA

Southern Ports Festive Auslan Choir Project

Posed group photo of the Festive Auslan Choir at the at the Movies by Moonlight event in Burekup. Photo credit: Shire of Dardanup, WA.

The Initiative

A community Christmas choir convened by the Shire of Dardanup sang and presented carols in sign language as part of a December 2022 festively-themed outdoor movie night event held in the small rural town of Burekup.

With funding support from Southern Ports, the Festive Auslan Choir project was created and implemented by the Shire’s Place and Community Events Team to build community participation, connection, accessibility and inclusivity.

In preparation for the performance, 24 community members aged between eight and 70 years attended an eight-week Auslan course facilitated by Kelly Hope from Hope CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) Services. Participants learned the signing of basic words, fingerspelling, and six Christmas songs.

The Auslan Choir joined with Vocal Fusion Youth Choir for their 6.30pm performance at the Movies by Moonlight event in Burekup which was part of the Shire of Dardanup’s Fuel to Go and Play Summer in Your Park Series held between December 2022 and February 2023 and attended by almost 420 patrons.

Southern Ports Regional Manager, Lee Smith, said the organisation was proud to partner with the Shire of Dardanup and Hope CODA Services to deliver the initiative, which enriched the community through important and positive social outcomes.

Following on from the success of the Choir, Kelly Hope was further engaged by the Shire to provide a signing service at three more outdoor music events held in early 2023 also part of the Summer in Your Park Series.

The full eight-week program and the performance included involvement of four people with disabilities and celebrated their active participation.

Wide ranging positive local media coverage, including digital, print and radio, provided excellent positive exposure for Auslan as a universal language to the wider community and attendees at all of the summer events.

Participant Lauren Jones said: “My mum, my daughter Harlow, and myself had a great time. It was a lovely bonding experience for us. As you know, we already use Auslan in our family with my grandparents who are deaf, but to incorporate this in such a family friendly, fun and festive way was very special for us and created treasured memories.

Photo of the Festive Auslan Choir performing at the at the Movies by Moonlight event in Burekup. Photo credit: Shire of Dardanup, WA.

About the Category

The ‘Creativity and Culture’ category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • create opportunities to showcase the best of communities through arts

    and culture;
  • embrace wellbeing and diversity, and encourage social inclusion through

    community participation in artistic activities; and/or
  • leverage arts and culture to improve community sustainability and

    increase local economic opportunity.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • fostering opportunities for the enjoyment of the arts through broad community engagement;
  • establishing local arts hubs for community arts, performances and

    exhibitions; and/or
  • supporting arts initiatives that foster inclusion and skill development.

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