Ngarrindjeri actress and aspiring author Leesha Cole and Narungga (Nharangga) and Saxon clan man Kyron Weetra – who works across music, theatre and writing – have been selected for the inaugural First Nations Critical Writing for the Arts mentorship.

The program is a collaboration between Arts South Australia and InReview as a delivery from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy for South Australia. It will connect Weetra and Cole with experienced First Nations arts writers and support the emerging writers to develop their skills while building a portfolio of professional, published work.

Through a public callout, expressions of interest were received from emerging First Nations writers around the state who had an interest in developing critical writing skills within the arts across an array of mediums.

“South Australia is renowned for its incredible artists and I’m so happy that this program will support these two talented First Nations writers to share their stories with the world,” says Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels.

“This program has been designed to support up-and-coming First Nations artists like Weetra and Cole to hone their writing by providing experienced Aboriginal artists to guide them early in their careers.

“I’ll be sure to look out for their work in the not-too-distant future.” 

Cole will be mentored by Meriam (Magaram), Wuthathi and Bindal Juru journalist and business woman Nancia Guivarra, who has extensive experience working with and leading platforms like NITV, ABC, SBS and Koori Radio.

Nationally celebrated visual artist, curator and writer Troy-Anthony Baylis, who is a descendant of the Jawoyn people from the Northern Territory and is also of Irish ancestry, will mentor Weetra.

Mentorship recipient Cole says the program will help her progress toward one of her long-held dreams.

“Whilst I have yet to be published, it is one of my dreams,” she says. “I believe this mentorship will help me grow and enhance me as an artist.”

Weetra says the opportunity will add another dimension to his already multi-disciplinary arts practice while also amplifying First Nations voices.

“I see this as a fantastic opportunity to nurture a facet of my writing and add to the pool of representation,” he says.

Weetra and Cole began their mentorships this month.

Applications for a second round of the First Nations Critical  Writing for the Arts Mentorship program will be sought later in the year.

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