20 May 2022: Six high-school students who participated in a University of Canberra creative writing workshop last year have had their stories turned into the design for the 2022 Canberra Raiders Indigenous Round jersey.
The students participated in the workshop as part of the NRL’s School to Work program, an education and employment program that aims to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to complete their schooling, and which the University of Canberra supports by providing their Story Ground workshop to participants.
The Raiders will wear the jersey in the NRL’s Indigenous round, which falls in line with Reconciliation Week.
“UC partnered with the NRL School to Work program in 2021, after they became aware of the student support work I had been doing with Indigenous students through Story Ground,” said Director of Indigenous Engagement Dr Paul Collis.
“The student responses have been overwhelmingly positive – students have provided works of poetry, prose, drawing, photography, interviews and letters, andexpressed themselves before teachers, lecturers, and staff support workers.”
Through the program, participating students wrote about their own connection to Country, and those stories, ideas, and themes were then used by Liritja artist Kayannie Denigan to create the jersey artwork, titled Enduring Connections.
“Incorporating my unique style and the evocative creative writing of the NRL School to Work participants, this artwork represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connections to Country,” Ms Denigan said on Instagram.
“This style was inspired by an aerial view of the land of my ancestors, the stark but beautiful delineation of shrubs, grasses, rocks and sand dunes.”
The artwork on the jersey is split into five panels, each of which was inspired by the Story Ground writing pieces.
The students attended a presentation of the jersey to Raiders’ Indigenous players last week.
The Canberra Raiders will wear the jersey when they take on the Parramatta Eels in round 12 – the NRL’s Indigenous Round.