Issue 6
Tuesday, 07 August 2018
Charles Darwin University
Tony Lee and Dr Michelle Moss with Grandma and Sis
Tony Lee and Dr Michelle Moss with Grandma and Sis

Grandma and Sis have gone ‘down south’

By Danielle Lee-Ryder

CDU researcher Dr Michelle Moss chaperoned Grandma and Sis to the big smoke for an international conference.

Grandma and Sis are handmade Indigenous marionettes and starred in the “Turn ‘em around Healing” (TeaH) presentation at the 3rd Biennial Childhood Trauma Conference in Melbourne.

Larrakia elder and healer Tony Duwun Lee joined Dr Moss in giving the multimedia presentation that featured didgeridoo playing, a film and the marionettes.

Dr Moss said the marionettes had been effective in raising awareness about child trauma and safety in remote communities.

“The reaction has been incredible; overwhelmingly positive,” Dr Moss said.

Mr Lee said elders and other community leaders used the marionettes to tell stories and engage the children, some of whom were considered the most vulnerable in Australia.

“It’s all about trust and helping kids in a way they understand,” he said.

At the conference, the pair gave an overview of the CDU-funded pilot study to their peers from across the world.

Dr Moss said TeaH embraced traditional healing and creative therapies for children in remote communities across the Top End.

“There were a number of international child trauma experts at the conference so it was interesting to get their feedback,” she said. “The conference was also a great showcase for the innovative work CDU is doing in the area.”

The team is planning to work with five more communities across Arnhem Land in the next two years.

The Australian Government’s Public Health Network funded Dr Moss’ and Mr Lee’s attendance at the conference.