Cultural Mapping

  • This clip features Liyadhalinymirr Songman, translator and cultural facilitator Ṉäkarrma Guyula and senior Wagilak Songman Roy Wunupingu speaking about the importance of mapping Song Cycles , and their efforts to do so in collaboration with SharingStories.
  • SharingStories is working with senior cultural custodians to map and hold Song Cycles and the knowledge they hold for future generations.

Ancestral Dreaming Tracks are a means by which Indigenous people have travelled from place to place for thousands of years. Written into the landscape by Creation Ancestors, who sang Country into being, the songs and stories associated with their travels invoke their epic journey’s and the events that occurred on them.

We work with partner communities across Australia to map and record some of these important journeys. SharingStories facilitates travel on Country with sometimes up to fifty community members. During these journeys young people learn from senior custodians, important sites are visited and on occasion relocated through collective remembering, songs and dances are enacted – Country and people are revitalised.

Alongside this process important cultural knowledge is documented using multiple new media art forms and technologies, these include surround sound, GPS, 360 degree, drone and linear video, artwork, animation, conventional, binaural and surround sound audio recording. New media skills transferred during SharingStories Digital Storytelling Programs are built on and developed during Cultural Mapping Programs.

Cultural Mapping and the use of new media to record and interpret traditional knowledge on Country builds community capacity to hold and transfer knowledge both now and in the future.

Some of Our Work

Over the last five years we have worked with the Nyikina, Wägilak, Adnyamathanha, Gija and Liya Dhalinymirr communities in a deep mapping practice that has seen hundreds of young people returned to Country to travel along these Ancestral Dreaming Tracks with senior cultural custodians and knowledge authorities. The work has resulted in comprehensive, layered multimedia interpretations and documentation of important stories including the:

  • Nyikina story of Woonyoomboo the Night Heron
  • Liya Dhalinymirr story of Mukarr the Giant Green Turtle Hunters
  • Gija story of the Frog and Brolga
  • Adnyamathanha story of Yulu the Kingfisher Man
  • Wägilak story of Gandjalalala the Sugarbag Hunter

Nyikina Story of Woonyoomboo the Night Heron

Senior Nyikina custodians Annie Nayina Milgin and Darraga Watson working with SharingStories Program Director Taz Miller at
Jarlmadangah in the Kimberley, to map the journey of Creation Ancestor Woonyoomboo the Night Heron.

Senior Nyikina custodian Annie Nayina Milgin using the drone to map
Nyikina Country.

Liya Dhalinymirr story of Mukarr the Giant Green Turtle Hunters

After the Märi Gutharra sat and ate turtle together at Burukamurru
the Hermit Crab people fed on theremains of the turtle meat. In this
picture the dancers are dancing the Hermit Crab Dance; it is
responsible for cleaning up and changing the area. The fire that was
burning is covered up. For a deceased person from our clan,
this is the song and dance for cleansing and re-opening the sacred
ground. It comes at the end of the funeral ceremony, just like the Wata
(Wind) song and dance, cleanses and changes the landscape for
the Wägilak clan. – Yingiya Mark Guyula

Community on Country as part of the Mukarr Giant Green Sea
Turtle journey led by Senior Liya Dhalinymirr cultural custodians
and knowledge authorities.

Gija story of the Frog and Brolga

Shirley Drill teaching on Gija Country.

Frog and Brolga animation on Country.

Adnyamathanha story of Yulu the Kingfisher Man

Arthur Brady using the drone on Country to record important sites
on the Yulu trail with senior custodian Cliff Coulthard.

Senior Adnyamathanha cultural custodian Cliff coulthard teaching
on Country.

Wägilak Story of Gandjalalala the Sugarbag Hunter

Wayne Bidingal and Miko Cameron dancing at Dhupuwamirri as part of
the Gandjalala cultural mapping project.

Mr Roy Ashley Wanapuyŋu teaching on Country at Weemol
with his grandson James, painted with the sacred
totemic stringy bark tree.