Resurgence: Possum has been designed in consultation with senior cloak makers. They have helped guide Speaking in Colour to make sure the programs are housed in cultural appropriateness for the different genders and generations that we are working with.

Starting with an armband and a ‘contract of respect’ Speaking in Colour will step through the process of making a Possum Skin Cloak while teaching the cultural significance and knowledge surrounding these practices. The program is focused on connection and relationship building for the participants as well as cultural revitalisation through learning.

About Possum Skin Cloaks

Simply put Possum Skin Cloaks are utilitarian objects. Starting as a baby blanket, three pelts are sewn together with kangaroo sinew to create a warm and soft blanket, much like a sheep skin rug today.
Over the years the blanket would be added to. Iconography would be burnt and scratched into the underside of the leather creating a historical narrative. Ochre mixed with a resin would be painted onto the leather recording the owners belonging and connection to country.
Over time with additional pelts the blanket would transform into a cloak, used in wet weather (leather side out), as a warm cloak when cold and a blanket the mum would share with her children. Finally,
people would be laid to rest wrapped in their Possum Skin Cloak.

We provide educators with more than enough information so they can authentically embed Aboriginal perspectives into their classrooms, we also provide NESA endorsed teacher professional learning and an education kit so even after the program is finished this education kit can continue the conversation in their school.

To deliver our Resurgence: Possum we are generally on site at each school one day per week for 10 weeks. The units of work and lesson plans we provide identify cross key learning areas and assessable outcomes.

The opportunity doesn't end with the artist in residence program, the following year participants are invited to be part of our yearly exhibition at a regional gallery or museum.

Program cost

The program includes the following

  • Possum: Aboriginal education kit
  • Teenage or adult sized cloak
  • Program delivery
  • Teacher professional learning (40 staff, additional staff at $145pp)
  • Interim report - provided at the conclusion of the program with the completed body of work. Evidencing student and teacher program and TPL engagement and possible impact.
  • Final report - provided after the exhibition reporting on all aspects such as advocacy, attendance and engagement.

Total: $17,899 for a teenage sized cloak

Total: $19,099 for an adult sized cloak

Note: Travel 50kms outside Newcastle CBD incurs additional costs. (50% paid at the start and 50% on the completion of the project)

Download the Resurgence: Possum Skin Cloak program proposal

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can I reduce the cost of the program by not including the TPL?

    Speaking in Colour was created to assist teachers to implement Aboriginal perspectives into their classrooms across key learning areas and linked to curriculum outcomes. We have qualified teachers, with many years’ experiences, who can deliver this NESA accredited TPL. Our recommendation is to provide the TPL for the whole school. This means that other teachers from other key learn areas get to understand the program, be involved if they like and see how they can achieve learning outcomes by implementing this culture knowledge into their teaching programs.

  • Can I reduce the cost of the program in any way?

    Our costing covers our program delivery, materials, and associated resources. As a wellbeing program, using Aboriginal methodology, our final report will demonstrate the impact these programs can have.

  • How many people can participate?

    For primary schools, we recommend classes be kept together. Therefore, class numbers between 22 and 28 could be accommodated, over a minimum of 45 minutes.
    For high schools, as these are practical lessons, we recommend only 25 students at one time, over a minimum of 45mins. In the high school setting you may like to you might have Aboriginal girls in one class and Aboriginal boys in a separate or some other arrangement, but we ask these are still a maximum of 25 students per class.
    Presenters are available for the day, during this period we can accommodate 3-4 groups of students across the day.

  • Can we run both the Interwoven program and Possum Skin Cloak program at the same time?

    Yes, this is possible however, different teachers specialise in different programs. Therefore, these would be separate booking. Our suggestion, to maximise engagement for your students and community, is to run the programs on different days.

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