Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Telling story project: Co-creating an archive of hope using narrative therapy and digital storytelling in Kalumburu a remote Indigenous community (#439)

Clare Wood 1 , Sudha Coutinho 1 , doreen Unghango 2
  1. Telling Story Project, Broome, WA, Australia
  2. Tramalla Strong Women's Group, Kalumburu, Western Australia

Telling Story is a social and emotional wellbeing project incorporating digital storytelling with narrative therapy practices. The aim is to reclaim and document stories of survival and resilience and enable people to speak of future hopes and dreams. The inaugural Telling Story project was held in the remote community of Kalumburu in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The project is a collaboration between the Tramalla Strong Women’s group from Kalumburu community and Telling Story facilitators (Community Mental Health Clinicians). The Tramalla Strong Women’s group regularly meet to yarn about issues and problems in their community and plan community led solutions and collective action. The Tramalla Strong Women’s group invited the Telling Story Project to document the strength of their community as a counter story to the often dominant negative narrative in the media.

The Telling Story Project unearthed and documented stories of how members of the community have responded to the issues affecting their community and ways to, stay strong during hard times using their strengths and cultural legacy. Digital stories were created from ‘rescued’ words following an intensive week of co-creation and the sharing of stories of skills and knowledge. The Telling Story Project in Kalumburu was part funded by a WA Mental Health Commission grant for suicide prevention therefore specific emphasis was placed on cultural continuity as this is evidenced as being preventative of suicide.

 The community chose to share these stories with a wider audience through national and international online platforms and regionally through ABC Kimberley radio which allowed these stories to be witnessed by people outside of the community. This presentation will highlight how Narrative Therapy practices provided the framework to unearth these stories as well as the process of returning outsider witness responses to the story owners. Telling Story is an ongoing project in Kalumburu. The delegates will be invited to participate in the project by witnessing the stories and send responses back to story owners. Telling Story works with other remote communities within the Kimberley region with the aim to create an archive stories of hope and survival to re-author remote communities as places of care.

  1. Coutinho, S. & Wood, C. 2015, Telling Story Project. Retrieved from
  2. Telling Story Project, ABC Open: Stories can be telling. Retrieved from