News & Insights

Honouring and sharing local stories of resilience, survival, loss and the future

First Nations in the House is a new residency program as part of Refuge, inviting writers from across the country to share and respond to the matter of displacement, honouring and respecting local stories of resilience, survival, loss and the future.

First Nations writers Claire G. Coleman, Cassie Lynch, Laniyuk Garcon-Mills, Monica Karo and Timmah Ball will critically and creatively unearth the roots of each Refuge event, channelling the experiences wrought by displacement and the discussions that follow into a range of creative online journals.

Beginning in 2019 and extending to Refuge 2020, this year’s writers will focus on topics within North Melbourne School of Displacement, co-programmed by artist Keg de Souza and Wirlomin Noongar collaborator Claire G. Coleman, Words Nourish Neighbours by Seini Taumoepeau and In Case of… Rediplan by artist Kate Sulan and Red Cross.

Keep an eye on our news feed during Refuge as writers reflect and share.


Claire G. Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar writer and poet, and a collaborating artist for Refuge 2019: Displacement. Refuge drops us in the hot zone of different climate-related disasters: flood, heat, pandemic and displacement, this five-year project offers new ways to rally as a community and prepare for climatic events. Refuge is developed and presented by Arts House, a key program of the City of Melbourne, in collaboration with a range of emergency services and community partners including Red Cross, SES, Emergency Management Victoria, University of Melbourne and many others.

Cassie Lynch Writer, researcher and consultant Cassie Lynch is a descendant of the Noongar people whose ancestral lands comprise the south west and south coast of Western Australia. She is currently living in Perth and researching a creative PhD investigating colonial ideology and the intersection of Aboriginal cultural memory and Western concepts of deep time. Cassie is the artistic director and programmer for Woylie Fest, an all-Aboriginal storytelling festival for kids and teen.

Laniyuk Garcon-Mills is of French and Larrakia / Kungarrakan / Gurindji heritage, whose writing reflects the intersectionality of her cross-cultural and queer identity. She has contributed to Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives, won the Indigenous residency for Canberra’s Noted Writers Festival 2017. She is a recent resident of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Overland Writers Residency to address a lack of opportunities for marginalised writers.

Monica Karo, a Gunai/Kurnai and Gunditjmara descendant is a Melbourne-based poet, writer, actor and singer-songwriter. Reflecting a deep connection to spirituality through her ancestry, Monica brings a raw element by infusing her strong cultural values and personal experiences of womanhood into her poetry. Monica is a passionate young artist and mother who strives for an empathetic approach to life, all peoples and the environment.

Timmah Ball is a mixture of things: urban planner, writer and community arts worker. She grew up in Melbourne but her heritage is Ballardong Noongar from Western Australia on her mother’s side. She is passionate about using arts and culture to create inclusive cities and believes that planners need to think about people rather the zones and overlays.

Image by – David H Ottosen