ABOUT FERMENT COLLABORATE
Steph is a highly professional, community-focussed project manager, facilitator, events manager, and community and cultural development practitioner. His work is highly regarded in rural, Indigenous and urban communities.
Former Creative Director Human Ventures / SpeakOut Limited
Current Managing Director, Welcoming Cities
Ferment Collaborate reminds us that creativity and the agency of storytelling is a vital part of the health and well-being of a community. Love this organisation!
Creative Director, Umbershoot Films
Through the Australian and Northern Territory Government’s Community Recovery Fund Steph created useful high quality culturally appropriate Cyclone Preparedness short films for remote Indigenous communities. Steph’s dedication to working with Yolngu in remote communities and meeting the requirements of the agency was evident in the quality of the project and meeting the grant deadlines.
Department of the Chief Minister, Northern Territory
Thank you very much for the film production – a really fantastic result.
CEO, Bidgerdii Community Health Service
I acknowledge and pay respect to the First Nations Traditional Custodians of this land, Australia, past, present and emerging and support the Uluru Statement From the Heart and requests for truth telling processes concerning Australia’s history.
Ferment Collaborate (FC) is my own consultancy business, specialising in community engagement, participatory filmmaking and community arts and cultural development projects, delivered with clients and communities across Australia.
I am a creative producer, engagement specialist and community-connected film maker, drawing on twenty years of activism, advocacy and community building to share grass roots stories, with heart.
My main skills are in participatory process design, project and program management, cross-cultural engagement, workshop/event facilitation, community planning, multimedia, design and filmmaking.
My work involves research, discussion and co-design with people and communities to create great outcomes that demonstrate the value and importance of inclusiveness and cultural diversity. My approach is informed by the intersection of community arts, cultural sharing and decision making, as a complex space available to community leaders, planners, cultural facilitators and community workers to facilitate, understand and instigate community-lead change. These areas of focus bring together the various “careers” I’ve had in activism, social/community planning, community arts and multimedia.
Much of my freelance work involves creating digital stories in public spaces, engaging with people through placemaking, multicultural and social inclusion frameworks. This approach aims to connect with people’s shared connections, overlapping experiences and sense of belonging, encouraging them to contribute stories that describe diverse histories, cultures and worldviews.
My focus is on collaborating with people to create great outcomes that demonstrate the value of inclusive communities and cultural diversity.
Most of my work has been with regional communities around Australia. Over the past 12 years I’ve also worked with notable social planning (Plan C, Sarkissian Associates) and community arts (SpeakOut, Contact Inc and Curious Works)agencies.
A large proportion of my professional and activist focus involves working with Indigenous people and communities around Australia. I maintain strong working relationships with Elders, community leaders, young artists, Indigenous service providers and Aboriginal controlled organisations in Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and NSW. I’ve also co-authored two award-winning publications with long term colleague and friend Dr Wendy Sarkissian (Kitchen Table Sustainability: 2008 and SpeakOut: 2009) and have received over fifteen professional awards for work with Wendy as a consultant and formerly with Sarkissian Associates Planners.
(Check out the Production page for news on the documentary I’m making with Wendy titled Road To Healing.)
I hope you enjoy my website and the work I am passionate to share. If there’s a way for us to work together, brainstorm opportunities or for you to support one of the projects on our In Production page, please get in touch through the Contact page.
Thanks for reading, Steph
KEY SERVICES I OFFER
Socially inclusive approaches to multimedia making that connect with community capacity, themes and priorities
- SHORT FILMS, WEB SERIES, DIGITAL STORIES, PODCASTS
- PARTICIPATORY FILMMAKING WITH COMMUNITIES
- PROMO, HIGHLIGHT & DOCUMENTATION FILMS
- MUSIC VIDEOS, ARTIST SHOWREELS, RADIO & TV ADS
Content design, scripting, planning and capacity building with community members to design, create and share multimedia works that reflect a diversity of local voices and stories
- SOCIAL AND ACTION RESEARCH SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT
- ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR INCLUSIVE MEDIA MAKING
- LOCAL COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING
- PATHWAYS TO CONTENT DISTRIBUTION
CREATIVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Creative, leading practice engagement approaches for community planning, government consultation, advocacy design and more
- WORKSHOP FACILITATION PROCESS AND FACILITATION
- PUBLIC SPACE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
- COMMUNITY ARTS & CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (CACD) PROCESS
- THE SPEAKOUT, PARTICIPATORY DESIGN, FOCUS GROUPS, WORLD CAFE, FISHBOWLS AND MORE
FIRST NATIONS & CALD COMMUNITIES
Specialising in collaborating with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
- CROSS-CULTURAL PROCESS DESIGN AND FACILITATION
- STRONG NETWORKS AROUND AUSTRALIA
- CULTURALLY SENSITIVE PRODUCTION APPROACHES
- SUPPORTING EMERGING CONTENT MAKERS
MENTORING NEXT GENERATION CHANGEMAKERS
One of my priorities is creating opportunities to support, mentor, train and employ young emerging artists and community workers
- OPPORTUNITIES FOR REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE
- PATHWAYS TO FREELANCING EMPLOYMENT
- NETWORK OF MENTORS AND SUPPORT
- DESIGN AND FACILITATION OF SKILL SHARE EVENTS / PROGRAMS
PRINCIPLES: HOW I WORK
Understanding the wider context of where work happens is essential to creating outcomes that can make change happen. We always need to understand, as best we can, how local cultures and contexts effect the way we design and implement our work and how that locates with the local built and natural environments.
Culturally appropriate approaches to how we carry out our work provide a tangible basis for encouraging people to participate, share their knowledge and stories, engage with each other, build trust and awareness and become more active in community projects and decision making.
Each one teach one
Each step of our work involves creating opportunities for training, skill sharing and mentoring, particularly focusing on how we can support people to teach, mentor and train others in the community toward building stronger networks and local capacity.
We like think about empowerment as a tangible outcome of people feeling respected, accepted and included. Empowered people are able to use voice, influence and action to positively effect their life and those around them, including at a community level. We create spaces where people connect and learn and where they can empower each other.
Our approach to projects comes from understanding the need to include all voices, human and otherwise, in conversations that guide the way communities, organisations and projects are planned, managed and celebrated. This extends to including Environmental voice in how we work, minimising impact and waste and contributing positively to local landscapes.
We recognise that communities and organisations have stregnths that make them what they are. We build upon that foundation to strengthen local capacity to engage with complex problems and opportunities and to design and test appropriate solutions.
Projects we're working on