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Youth Link Kuranda encouraged young people to participate in a range of creative activities in the Kuranda area through the implementation of the Kuranda Youth Arts Engagement Program during the 2015-16 school holidays.

Local artists such as Astrid Carthew, Yuval Shalit, Digby Trapnell and Adrienne DeBrincat facilitated group programs targeted at young people aged between 7 and 18 years. Activities included hip-hop dance and songwriting, visual arts and production of a short film with local artists. 

Programs were interlaced with self-development topics such as respect, self-esteem, empowerment and healthy choices and delivered in partnership with Ngoonbi Community Services Indigenous Corporation. 

In addition to Regional Arts Development Fund  investment, Youth Link was able to leverage investment from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Mareeba Community Housing Company and Mareeba Shire Council’s Street to Home Project.


December 2015 to April 2016


Kuranda, Far North Queensland.

Key stats

  • 4 locally based artists and cultural workers
  • 50 participants
  • 640 visits


$4000 – Regional Arts Development Fund  

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the Mareeba Shire Council  to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. 


  • Participants developed their creative skills in a range of art mediums. Feedback from participants was positive:

The most important thing is if you are feeling down they will support you.

I look forward to the afternoons when the centre is open, good to have a place to hang.

  • Participation in the program increased significantly across the school holidays as more young people chose to engage in activities. Visit numbers increased from 89 in December 2015 to 303 in February 2016. The increase in visits from male participants was particularly notable, from 59 (December 2015) to 200 visits (Feb 2016).
  • Activities encouraged participants to express themselves and be involved in positive and safe group activities during the schools holidays.

The most successful outcome would have been a shift in the culture of what the young people were engaging in. The game ‘ping’ in Kuranda was becoming very problematic with the young people, the game involved gambling to some extent and this was having a ripple effect of fighting and stealing. We noticed this program shifting the young people into a collective game of break dancing and music.

  • The program strengthened the relationship between the two main youth services in Kuranda – Youth Link and Ngoonbi. There has been further collaboration between the two services including a youth week disco and a workshop in Cairns with the band Sticky Fingers.

Learnings and reflections

The engagement of young people and their willingness to participate in positive and productive group activities was a key success of the program. 

Youth Link noted the main challenges in working with at risk young people was behavior management. Artists found a flexible approach with participants worked well.

The expectation was formed prior to delivering, that it would be a closed group and ‘class room like’. This isn’t particularly the way when working with this target group. There needs to be a great deal of flexibility in the way the groups are run. This was overcome by talking with artists and allowing their expectations to shift and see outcomes in alternative ways.

Tip for others

Don’t focus so much on the produced result … focus on the process in between as that is where all the life skills are taught

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