Grandma and Sis are going ‘down south’


Tony Lee and Dr Michelle Moss with Grandma and Sis

Tony Lee and Dr Michelle Moss with Grandma and Sis

Charles Darwin University researcher Dr Michelle Moss will chaperone Grandma and Sis to the big smoke for an international conference this month.

Grandma and Sis are handmade Indigenous marionettes and will star in the “Turn ‘em around Healing” (TeaH) presentation at the 3rd Biennial Childhood Trauma Conference in Melbourne. The conference runs from 29 July to 3 August.

Larrakia elder and healer Tony Duwun Lee will join Dr Moss in giving the multimedia presentation featuring 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 will give 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 will be a number of international child trauma experts at this conference so it will be interesting to get their feedback,” she said. “The conference will also be 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.

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