Hello To All Community Builders Out There!

My name is Vanessa Van der Werff and I am a Masters in Social Work Student here at UQ in Brisbane. As part of my course from "Community Engagement, Participation and Governance" I am required as my piece of assessment to: propose, plan and implement a Community Project of my choosing. I have chosen to travel back to my home town of Cairns to Implement this project. Following are my thoughts, proposals and plans of my project.

My project will be implemented in Mooroobool, a suburb in Cairns. The community structure and bonds are not as strong as they could be. There is strong potential to create stronger bonds and build on the strengths of cultural diversity. By using the different experiences, skills and resources of the community and its members, together they can transform the community to a more supportive, constructive, sustainable environment.

Change Agenda
My agenda is to aid, support and facilitate certain community members to use dance, expression and festival activities to build connections throughout their communities. It is starting with 3 weeks preparation from now till the 9th of June, then ending with a Multicultural Gathering oganised by the group members. This Multicultural Gathering/Festival will be on Saturday 10th April. Each cultural dance team can teach different members of other dance teams and community members and spectators their style of dance. The team has expressed their interest in also facilitating a collaborative creative workshop which includes contemporary body movements and participants own choreography. A celebrity guest (Last season's finalist of TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" - Gianne Abbott, will come on board for the day to facilitate with these creative workshops, learn different cultural dance styles from members of the community, and hang out with the kids. All of these activities will be show cased at the end of the day, with performances and handing out of certificates of participation (optional - perhaps just for the young participants).

Here is the Flyer I made for the project. With the help of Simon (Thanks Simon)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I held an information day back in Brisbane for all those who could not attend the Cairns project, to thank and honour the ones who did, and to inform all of my friends and family who were interested in how the project went. I went through my blog as you can see with the photos my blog is projected onto the wall. I explained briefly my plan. Then I went through the implementation process, and evaluation and reflection. The following is a letter I showed this group as part of an evaluation indicator.

Hi Vanessa,

Just sending you some feedback on the Kulcha Konnect Dance Workshops which were held at the Mooroobool Community Centre on the 8th and 10th April.

The Cairns-based members of Kulcha Konnect (Tamara Pearson and Shelly Bingarap) have indicated that they are interested in continuing to host similar events on a regular basis, perhaps monthly.

I have spoken to Saga (the Manager of the Mooroobool Community Centre) about the prospects of this and she has indicated that she is willing to make the Hall available (fee exempt) for such future Community Development Projects.

I have gotten feedback from many Mooroobool Housing residents and they have indicated that their support for such future events.

I have also spoken with Lorraine Armour from Probation and Parole (Queensland Corrective Services) and she has indicated that although they mainly deal with adult offenders, they also have set up joint projects for juvenile offenders with the Cairns Regional Council such as involving young Graffiti Artists doing Murals on designated Council property such as skate ramps.

Lorraine has indicated that her department would be interested in helping promote future dance projects of a similar nature to the Kulcha Konnect Dance Workshops held in Mooroobool.

She also suggested we link up with the Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in Manunda, because they are also involved with many Community Development Projects particularly involving Youth.

Many Regards,

Reggie Van Der Werff
Kulcha Konnect Team Member

Kids own choreography

A few of the more confident kids who participated during the day workshops made up a routine to show case at night.

One of my most proudest moments. The "Cooler" or "Shyer" kids who didn't wish to participate, started to dance just as we packed up and are ready to leave. But they made their version of the dance much "Cooler"

Night Performances

PCYC local kids perform Capeoira
click on link to see how Capeoira is used to develop youth in community.

Gianne's Performance

Kids Jammin in between performances

Project 2

Night time showcase

Daytime workshops

Lunch time break

Tamara the Cairns Based Facilitator took charge after lunch

Project 1 Night Time Performaces

Multicultural Dance Festival

Various performances,from different cultures. A good turn out of people (200 or more)

Project 1 Daytime Workshops

Over 300 childern came to take part in various activities and meet local sport personalities

Miracles Do Happen

The very next day after months of rain, the sun came out and i was able to distribute my flyers to members of the community and meet with elders.

The fence of the Community Centre where the project was based