Blog

Pacific Youth Reconnection Project: A New Reference Group

By: Ms Thelma Thomas, Category: Science, Date: 26 Mar 2013

As custodians of one of the largest and most significant Pacific collections in the world, we're committed to engaging Pacific Communities.

A New Reference Group #1

Thelma Thomas © Australian Museum

Our Pacific Youth Reconnection Project (PYRP) is aimed at addressing the over-representation of young people from the Pacific Diaspora in the NSW Juvenile Justice system, through initiatives which connect Pacific young people and their communities to the Cultural Collections.

As part of a broader program of diversionary or remedial measures, exposure to cultural collections is intended to help address the symptoms of cultural dislocation including Juvenile Justice issues.

Why have we formed a reference group for our PYRP?

The aim is to ensure that we are providing initiatives and projects which are relevant to Pacific young people.

How did the group come about?

I sent information out to Pacific community organisations stating our request for Pacific young people to join this group. We received an overwhelming response. Seven Pacific young people have been chosen, all with diverse knowledge and life experiences, including academic students and ex-offenders.

They will assist with designing and facilitating initaitives, whilst also learning more about the Pacific Collections, their cultural heritage and gaining valuable experience.

What's the group been working on?

Since forming in February 2013, the PYRP youth reference group have visited the collections, attended events and workshops out in the community and are currently working on their first youth day at the museum for April 2013.

Our PYRP will continue to utilize the Pacific collections as part of a process to reconnect marginalized Pacific youth with their cultural heritage and contribute towards a positive self-identity. In partnership with other Government and non-government organizations, we will lead and develop new initiatives aimed at connecting marginalized young people from the Pacific Diaspora in NSW with the Australian Museum’s cultural collections through on–site visits, outreach initiatives, community events and workshops.

Watch this space!