First Peoples’ Cultural Competency Program

Working with a program facilitator, participants explore an ancient story, over 2,300 generations, and 65,000 years in the making. Learn about the many differences between First Peoples’ communities and cultures; learning who we are, our strengths, challenges, and what we can make of the future, together.

Through a series of interconnected case-studies, you will learn about stories of first contact, self-determination, and cultural strength and diversity as experienced by Koori families in Victoria.

"Your presentation contains a wealth of information and your years of research is evident, especially when it comes to debunking and questioning common held beliefs…Loved the video you created which outlined the differences between Cultural Awareness, Cultural Competency and Cultural Safety." Participant Testimonial

Program Modules

Module 1: Program Overview & Cultural Protocols

Our initial session provides participants with an introduction to the Cultural Competency Program, facilitator(s), what Cultural Competency is, and why it’s necessary, followed by an overview of the program’s structure, and primary objectives. We also begin our exploration of the cultures and history of Koori people in South-Eastern Australia, using multimedia resources.

Module 2: Exploring First Peoples’ Cultures & History

Having been provided with a basic introduction to the FPCCP, this session takes participants deeper into an exploration of South-Eastern Australian Koori culture and history, utilising many of the stories found in Melbourne Museum’s First Peoples’ gallery. These stories help us to begin a conversation relating to traditional cultures, pre-contact and post-contact history, social upheaval, community structures, science and technology, politics, and more.

Module 3: Country

In this session we are introduced to some of the key concepts and methodologies in which First Peoples care for and nurture the land and waterways which sustains us all. We look at traditional technologies, knowledge, and systems, and look at our environment today, and how we can reshape our understanding of where we live and work.

Module 4: First Peoples’ Case Study

In this session we are presented with a case study with which we begin an in-depth exploration of Koori history and culture, building upon the introduction we gained in Module 2. We do this by examining the journey of a single Koori family, from a time prior to first contact with non-Indigenous invaders, through their experiences with “frontier” violence, displacement, the push for self-determination, the Stolen Generations, civil rights, community development and empowerment. The module uses their story to find the common stories and challenges experienced by all Koori families throughout South-eastern Australia.

Module 5: Diversity & Cultural Representation

Identity is shaped by the many influences that surround us, starting with our family and our community. For Koori children growing up in Victoria, our education system and the media both detract from and play a contradictory role in how that identity is shaped. This session is dedicated to exploring themes of social responsibility, cultural pride, privilege, misinformation, and institutional racism, with a view towards understanding their effects, so that we may overcome them.

Module 6: Workshop

This session is an open platform, for discussion, and working towards better outcomes for placing First Peoples cultures and history at the heart of everything we do. Here we will take what we have learned through the course of the program, and workshop how as individuals and as part of the Museums Victoria family we can continue to build towards a culturally safe, and progressive work environment.

Program Facilitator

John Patten – Manager of Diversity & Belonging

John Patten is a cultural educator, historian and artist who comes from a culturally rich and politically active Yorta Yorta and Bundjalung family. A keen storyteller, John has worked for many years to help audiences learn about First Peoples’ culture and history, breaking down misconceptions and revitalising ancient stories and knowledge.

Program Schedule and Bookings

The Cultural Competency Program is delivered onsite at Melbourne Museum on Mondays and Tuesdays, and online Wednesdays and Thursdays, excluding school and public holidays.

Make an Enquiry

For enquiries, please contact:

  • John Patten, Manager of Diversity and Belonging, on 0431 239 668 or via email [email protected] (9:30am-1:30pm weekdays); or
  • Andrew Puhanic, Head of People and Culture, on 0466 314 685 or via email [email protected].

Contribute to Change

The Museums Victoria Cultural Competency Program has been developed with the directive that First Peoples’ cultural knowledge belongs the First Peoples’ community, and should not be monetised, unless all funds generated are directed back into First Peoples’ employment, development pathways, and community initiatives, including funding additional program facilitators, and traineeships.

Featured Resources

Join the mailing list and get the latest from our Museums direct to your inbox.

Share your thoughts to WIN

We'd love to hear about your experience with our website. Our survey takes less than 10 minutes and entries go in a draw to win a $100 gift voucher at our online store!