DESPITE the massive effort expended in organising and running the workshop, Victor Steffensen is still pumped up at the close of each session.
Victor is director of Mulong Productions, a community film consultancy company based in Cairns.
“It was a fantastic workshop, it went really well,” Victor said.
It’s great to see that after all of these workshops people are still coming back. It has evolved with the communities, and people look forward to this.
Some communities are here for the first time, while others are here for their third or fourth experience, ultimately sharing their projects, and what they’ve learnt.”
According to Victor, it is the Indigenous teaching methodology, that ensures return attendance.
“This experience differs from a conference,” said Victor.
“It’s real teaching and learning first hand.
People come here with different concepts of fire and walk away with mutual understanding.”
Victor says the days of meetings and conferences are over and it is now time for action and that commuinites are now empoweed to solve fire problems.
“It works due to practical engagement and methodologies; observing the land, reading the land and leaning through practical experience.
There is no way this could be down through PowerPoints,” he said.
The workshops are designed for people to enjoy time on country and have fun.
“People can come together as family and friends, as people connected, no matter what nationality or colour,” Victor said.
People come here worried because country is under threat.
They leave with hope and knowledge about what they can achieve, and there is help from the fire six workshop and from practitioners,” he said.
A contingency of thirty people from New South Wales from a range of career backgrounds including representatives from rural fire services groups, catchment authorities, agriculture, Traditional Owner groups, local government an community groups attended the 2014 workshop, with the support of the NSW government.
“What we do is invaluable, and there are countless outcomes achieved on country: changing people and lives; white and black working together as one; creating stong sense of family; and cooperation amoungst farmers.
Ten years ago I didn’t think it could have happened,” Victor said.
According to Victor the acknowledgement and respect for Elders, who undertook the first session, was fundamental to the success of subsequent workshops.
“Evolving culture is an important result of my work. The change in culture ensures the legacy of the Elders in the commuity continues, without the loss of knowledge,” he said.