Victor Steffensen, Mulong Director
I am an indigenous film maker, musician, and consultant reapplying traditional knowledge into the changing world and todays society. I have been interested in traditional knowledge since I was a boy. I was inspired by my mother and grandmother’s heritage, the Tagalaka people of Northern Queensland, and their struggles of loosing family through the stolen generation years. My work started in 1995 when I realised the urgent need to record the invaluable wisdom of the Elders before it was lost. Over many years, through my love of the arts, film making, culture and environment, this has developed into my life’s work; re-engaging traditional practices through creative community projects.
My work is based on a holistic knowledge map which includes people, the relationship with the land, and our evolving culture; so I find myself undertaking projects in health, culture, education, and environment. By working with communities and documenting their aspirations via the art of film, I began to see a process of empowerment which has the potential to pave a road for generations to follow. Translating, educating, and recording indigenous and community knowledge is best done through visual story telling. I believe film is the closest way that technology can match traditional transfer and passing down of knowledge. My dream in portraying these stories is to encourage and continue the oral teaching practice of indigenous peoples which sustained healthy cultures worldwide over thousands of years.
I have learned that the best way to make an influence is by having fun, reimplementing activities we believe in, and creating education for our children. This is how my work has led me to develop the Living Knowledge Place, a community driven education site that showcases our culture, our country, and our aspirations for the future of our environment and our wellbeing.
The common desire I find in Indigenous Elders right across Australia and the world is to have Indigenous knowledge taught in schools. What I see missing from Indigenous Australia is the opportunity to demonstrate our values, and for the benefits of those values to be shared by mainstream society; a platform for our community works and aspirations, our own education which is relevant to our children and the environment we live in, an initiative that acts on changing world views such as climate change from a community level, an educational resource that we can share and take ownership of to inspire opportunities and ideas that evolve all of Australia into the future.