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.
Much of my freelance work involves creating digital stories through placemaking frameworks by engaging with people in public spaces as a way of using shared places connected to an inter-connected sense of belonging, encouraging people to contribute stories that describe diverse histories, experiences and cultures. These areas of focus bring together the various “careers” I’ve had in activism, social/community planning, community arts and multimedia.
Our 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, as well as a few contracts working with notable community arts agencies including SpeakOut, Contact Inc and Curious Works.
A large proportion of my professional and activist focus involves working with Indigenous people and communities around Australia. I maintain positive 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.
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
Film – Community program and event documentations, short fiction and documentary films, participatory filmmaking workshops/programs, digital stories, promotional films, music videos, film editing for online, broadcast or projection purposes
Audio – podcasts, sound recording, basic audio engineering and mastering, sound and soundtrack design
Design – basic web and graphic design
Community engagement – Creative grass roots engagement design and facilitation of one off or ongoing programs / activities
Community Arts + Cultural Development – workshop facilitation (film and sound related), program research and design, process design, training
Skillsharing programs – skill share program design and customised events
COMBINING CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT AND MULTIMEDIA
Creative use of multimedia and a range of engagement processes to facilitate cross cultural placemaking outcomes with communities around Australia since 2000
COMMUNITY LEAD PROCESS
My work is always based on engagement with communities to create spaces for inclusion, co-design and active participation, ensuring any work I produce reflects the diversity of local voices
COLLABORATIVE CONTENT MAKING
Creating film, audio and media through an advocacy framework, using collaborative story design and participatory filmmaking
WORKING WITH FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
Specialising in collaborating with Indigenous and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities
MENTORING NEXT GENERATION CHANGEMAKERS
One of our priorities is creating opportunities to support, mentor, train and employ young emerging artists and community workers
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