Blog author Sarah Bingle

I currently work as a Research Assistant with the First 1000 Days Australia Project at the Indigenous Health and Equity Unit, Melbourne University and Community Arts Officer at Mornington Peninsula Shire.  Prior to this role I worked in Community Outreach for the Library has Legs, Windermere’s Communities for Children Project and established Arnam Liber – Living Heritage.

In 1992 I graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities majoring in English Literature, Sociology and Drama and in 1995 completed my second degree in Dramatic Arts – Animateuring (Theatre Making) at the Victorian College of the Arts, where I specialised in theatre directing, writing, choreography/ dance and performance.

Soon after graduating from VCA I established my own small arts business Hybridzo Cross Arts in Hawthorn, a community arts venue that promoted the work of up and coming and established visual, mixed media and performing artists.

I have over twenty-five years’ experience working within the community, allied health, disability, community arts, education and library sector. Along the way I came across the Advaita Vedanta teachings of Adi Da Samraj and spent the next 17 years practicing these teachings, working and saving to go on meditation retreats in California and Fiji.

Below: Adi Da Samraj and the Island of Naitauba in Fiji

 

 

 

 

 

Below: Fijian children outside Naitauba Primary School

IMG_1382

In 2003 I packed up my Melbourne life to live as a renunciate in our heritage ashram on a remote Island called Naitauba in Fiji for 3 years. In Fiji we worked and practiced alongside a strong Fijian community, celebrating significant cultural celebrations, practising meditation, sacred and cultural practices. My work in Fiji involved visual arts and performance, working on arts projects with the local Fijian primary school for community celebrations.

IMG_1381

Above: Fiji children performing the Meke.

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Artworks by Sarah Bingle

After returning from my residency in Fiji I worked as a Practice Manager in Allied Health, Diversional Therapies, Community Lifestyle Coordinator in Age Care and completed graduate studies in Pastoral Care, narrative and biography training with Eastern Palliative Care. Over the next three years I worked as an Coordinator for an Arts Education program for adults with disabilities.

In 2013 I commenced my Library Has Legs project and began to develop the Casey Cardinia Libraries Cultural literacy outreach projects, About Me (Life Story Work), Balee Koolin Bubup Bush Playgroup and Koori Kids Library programs. Programs which draw upon the wisdom of Aboriginal Elders and connects Aboriginal children and families to Dreamtime (Ancestral) stories, traditional knowledge and language to foster their sense of belonging, strengthen their cultural identity and develop their early year’s literacy skills.

IMG_0515

Above: Balee Koolin Bubup Bush Playgroup activities delivered on Country.

In 2016 I completed a Master’s Degree in Regional Education and Community Development graduating with a HD. The areas of study and research includes -Sustainable Community Development, Participatory Planning: local, National and International Perspectives, Designing learning for Adults, Indigenous Perspectives in Professional Practice, Early Years Literacy and Numeracy and Young People, Cultures and Education.

I am passionate about developing group devised theatre, community arts projects and events as well as place-based and culturally meaningful learning environments for children and young people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Over the last five years I have focused on cultural literacy and intangible heritage practices, working together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and extended community to revitalise traditional languages and cultural heritage practices. Practices which are transmitted by Elders, community leaders and artists, such as traditional language, crafts, stories, dance, knowledge. I believe that by empowering Aboriginal Elders and educators to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about their traditional culture and language in their early years, not only strengthens’ the identity and wellbeing of children but improves their confidence and self-esteem, increasing their motivation to learn.