Heritage worker on ladder to success
A young cultural worker at Roebourne’s award-winning Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation Archive and Cultural Centre has been awarded an inaugural scholarship, which will see her complete residencies at the premier museums of Britain and Australia.
Roebourne resident Finola Woodley, 26, is the only WA winner and the youngest of six people selected nationwide to be part of the Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Scholarships.
The scholarships send winners to intern at the British Museum and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London and the National Museum of Australia.
Ms Woodley said she had entered after hearing about the scholarship through her workplace, which documents the history of the Yindjibarndi people.
“I wanted to go for the scholarship because it has a lot to do with the job that I do now and the corporation I work for,” she said.
“(My job) is a lot of work, but I love it and I love my culture.”
The three-month scholarship program is a joint venture of the National Museum of Australia and The Prince’s Charities Australia, and emerged from community consultation around a 2015 exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects on loan from the British Museum.
It was introduced this year to give indigenous cultural or heritage sector workers in regional communities hands-on experience with major national and international historical collections and access to mentoring at the highest level of the industry.
NMA director Mathew Trinca said the scholarships were an important program for heritage workers and museums alike.
As the youngest award recipient, Ms Woodley said the program represented an exciting step for her career.
“It is a big opportunity and as a young person ... I feel privileged, because it’s something I can give back to my community,” she said.
Ms Woodley has completed the first stage of the scholarship in Canberra and will soon travel to London to begin her internship at the British Museum.
Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation Archive cultural worker Finola Woodley, 26, is honing her historical skills in residencies at the National Museum of Australia and British Museum after winning an inaugural scholarship for indigenous Australian workers in the heritage sector. She is the youngest of six winners nationwide and the only West Australian.