itac6 -7 Project

Last fall, we hosted an Open Call for the ITAC6-7 Project Fund.

As part of the Fund, the hosts of ITAC6 and ITAC7, in partnership with the ITAC Collaborative, support one additional project that connects our current and future conferences between 2022 and 2024, and specifically ‘addresses indigenous perspectives on teaching artistry through the transmission of ancestral knowledge, while demonstrating how this provides the potential for genuine social change’ in effective and innovative ways. We know new partnerships form when we meet at ITAC conferences, and we aim to continue supporting these developments.

Following the Open Call, we're delighted to announce Dr Hinekura Smith, Aunty Gina Bundle OAM, Dr. Vicki Couzens, and Kim Himoana Penetito will lead the ITAC6-7 Project!

About the Project

Globally, Indigenous mothers and grandmothers play a critical role in nurturing and restor(y)ing positive cultural identities for our children as we reclaim and re-weave threads of language, culture and identity frayed by colonisation (Smith, 2020). Themes of ‘catalysing change’ evoked at ITAC6 are taken up here as we consciously teach our children intergenerational ancestral knowledge through the traditionally made garments we create. Revitalising, embodying, transmitting and regenerating positive cultural identity is a critical aspect of being well here in the Pacific.

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Drawing on a research and artistic relationship between two Aboriginal knowledge holders of possum skin cloaking and two Māori weavers—all four of whom are artists, teachers, researchers and community leaders—the ITAC6-7 Project Fund leaders intend to explore the practice, pedagogy and cultural identity embedded in our previously unconnected art forms—traditionally woven Māori cloaks and Aboriginal possum skin cloaks. The practice, pedagogy and activism of revitalising once endangered identity symbols is a powerful site of social justice and community transformation.

This Research Project Seeks to:

About the Project Leaders

Dr Hinekura Smith

Dr Hinekura Smith is Associate Professor of NWaTT—one of three Māori research centres within Te Pukenga as a Research Organisation—that carries out externally funded Kaupapa Māori research projects in and with Māori communities at the interface of vocational education. NWaTT is independent of, but partners closely with, Tuapapa Rangahau Research Office at Unitec. Both NWaTT and Tuapapa Rangahau have a sustained record of research delivery capability.

Dr Smith and associate investigator Kim Penetito are currently leading a two-year TLRI (Teaching and Learning Research Initiative) funded project which explores Māori whanau aspirations for flourishing te reo Māori through the practice of whatu kākahu (traditional Māori cloaks).

Kim Himoana Penetito

Kim Himoana Penetito is a mama and Karani Mā (grandmother) first and foremost. She is a descendent of Ngāti Hauaa and Ngāti Tamateraa through her father and has Scottish heritage through her mother. Kim was first introduced to whatu as a traditional Māori weaving practice as a participant in Hinekura Smith’s PHD journey examining how Māori women are actively and creatively reclaiming and restoring ways of living as Māori.

Whatu has since become a passion and Kim works alongside Hinekura teaching and growing communities of weavers. Kim has a background in community development and is currently involved in facilitation, training and kaupapa Māori research projects.

Dr. Vicki Couzens

Dr. Vicki Couzens is a Keerray Wooroong Gunditjmara woman from the Western Districts of Victoria. Vicki has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 45 years. She is a Senior Knowledge Holder for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Wooroong Mother Tongue. Vicki’s contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practices extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language research and community development; public art, community arts, visual and performing arts, writing, publications and her own creative expression. Vicki acknowledges her Ancestors and Elders who guide her in her work.

Vicki was gifted a vision ‘to bring cloaks to live back in community’ from the Ancestors. This work alongside and in collaboration with Gina and other cloak makers, has seen the revitalisation and reinvigoration of Possum Cloak praxis into our lived cultural life across southeastern Australia. Vicki continues knowledge translation within her family and communities.

Language revitalisation work has been a co-focus within the cultural reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation that Vicki has undertaken over the past two+ decades. Her work is transdisciplinary contributing towards the sovereign health and wellbeing healing, strengthening and nation-building.

Aunty Gina Bundle OAM

Aunty Gina Bundle OAM is a Djiringanj Yuin Bidjera transdisciplinary creative practitioner who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Kulin Nations in Naarm/Melbourne. Gina is the Program Coordinator of Badjurr-Bulok Wilam Unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital leading a team of First Nations practitioners in delivery of culturally appropriate care across the Women’s Hospitals services.

In her creative work, Gina works with found and repurposed materials and objects she sources in second hand shops, online and through her networks. She creates mixed media works for teaching and learning.

Gina is a Senior Cloak maker of Possum Skin Cloaks, sacred cultural entities of First Nations across the southeast of Australia. Gina has delivered workshops teaching and supporting communities to create possum skin cloaks in family and community settings across Victoria. She also works with organisations to bring the cultural practice of cloaks and healing into health and social justice settings. Gina was the Lead Artist in the creation of the Victorian Treaty Cloak, a historical document in its own right, working across Victoria with First Nations contributors in Treaty Workshops. Gina’s work fuses cultural practice, creative expression and health and wellbeing together towards healing in individuals, families and communities.


ITAC7 will be hosted by ITAC’s New Zealand Hub: the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation (CAST) at Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland from September 5-7.

Come together as artists using your creative powers to make a positive impact in your communities, schools, and beyond.Whether you’re a community artist, participatory artist, or socially engaged artist (or whatever other title you go by), ITAC7 will be the place to be for international networking, professional development, partnership building, knowledge exchanges, and more.

Make sure to check out the full list of upcoming key ITAC7 dates and deadlines.

Learn More About ITAC7

itac6-7 project

Open Call!

The hosts of ITAC6 and ITAC7, in partnership with the ITAC Collaborative, will support one more project that connects our current and future conferences between 2022 and 2024, and ‘addresses indigenous perspectives on teaching artistry through the transmission of ancestral knowledge, while demonstrating how this provides the potential for genuine social change’ in effective and innovative ways.

We invite proposals from organisations or individuals who have a project plan that springs from connections made at, or is inspired by, ITAC6 and involves a partner from the Pacific.

Project Fund Selection

The hosts of ITAC6 and ITAC7, in partnership with the ITAC Collaborative, recently wrapped up an open call for the ITAC6 – 7 Project Fund. The Fund supports a project that connects ITAC's current and future conferences between 2022 and 2024 and which 'advances the global field of teaching artistry' in effective and innovative ways. During the open call, individuals and organizations were invited to submit a project proposal that was inspired by connections made at ITAC6 and which would involve a partner from Norway.

We are thrilled to announce that Adrián Nájera-Coto (Costa Rica), Sudebi Thakurata (India), Probal Banerjee (India), and Stein Helge Solstad (Norway) have been selected for the ITAC6 7 Project Fund!

Described as “100% experimental,” this project will explore the intersectionality between four disciplines intrinsically related to creative processes and artistry, namely literature in the form of poetry-music and writings by Indian Nobel-laureate poet, musician, philosopher, artist, Rabindranath Tagore, along with sound/music, visual arts, and design. Tagore’s work will be used as a conceptual framework for triggering trans-disciplinary immersion and experimentation

The curation of Tagore’s works will be carefully done by referencing the five dimensions (Being, Thinking, Relating, Collaborating and Acting) addressed by the Inner Development Goals (IDGs), a non-profit, open-source initiative that explores how inner development, personal growth and well-being can propel the efforts towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals proposed within the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Within the 23 transformational skills specified in the five IDGs’ dimensions, an important number of them are constantly approached and nurtured by teaching artists around the world. This project aims to contribute to the future of teaching artistry by creating awareness about systemic global sustainability issues through trans-disciplinary creative/artistic processes that are respectful of sociocultural diversity and otherness.

This project was inspired by the ITAC6 session Sudebi (a 2021 ITAC Innovator) and Probal led—entitled "What If"—which Adrián attended, as well as another ITAC6 workshop Stein participated in. As part of the ITAC6 – 7 Project Fund, all collaborators will present the project at ITAC7, demonstrating the power of international cooperation.

We look forward to sharing more about this dynamic collaboration soon!