Storytelling is the thread that weaves First Nations people with our Old People, Ancestors, Country and kin. Stories connect us with each other, our allies and ourselves.

Common Ground builds on existing community power to strengthen the stories we tell ourselves and others, so we can reimagine stronger futures. Futures that are grounded in reciprocity, justice and truth-telling.

What we do

Robin Japanangka Granites, 2020

Amplify and back First Nations voices

Common Ground amplifies and backs First Nations voices with diverse lived experience. We create spaces for First Nations people to learn, hold and share stories. We facilitate opportunities for capacity-building and skill-sharing across all storytelling mediums.

Strengthen the storytelling ecosystem

Common Ground works to strengthen the storytelling ecosystem by building power, relationships and pathways. We facilitate opportunities for First Nations people to enter the storytelling space and thrive within it. We meet First Nations storytellers where they’re at by tailoring our approaches and processes.

Educate and build accountability

We know that shifting mindsets is an important part of changing systems. We bring together people and stories to create content and experiences that inform and advocate. Common Ground makes resources for schools, runs campaigns and backs advocacy work.

Our vision

Future systems that centre First Nations people, Country and truth-telling in everything.

Our work

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Common Ground works on unique and impactful projects to achieve our vision. Our projects centre First Nations storytellers and communities in innovative ways, bringing knowledge as old as time into digital spaces.

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Our story

Filming for First Nations Bedtime Stories, 2019

Common Ground exists to bring connection, truth and deeper understanding through storytelling.

Australia is built on a story that ignores its true history. We face many challenges, but ignore many of the solutions that First Nations people hold.

Since 1788, Australia has been largely shaped and governed by colonial narratives and systems of power. These systems do not consider First Nations voices and solutions. The work we do at Common Ground is about changing these systems so they centre First Nations ways of thinking, being and knowing.

‘Systems’ are the large, broad parts of something – rather than the individual, one-on-one aspects. When we talk about ‘systems’ of society we are talking about the processes, institutions or structures that shape the way we live. Like government, education, media, business, the legal system and dominating societal norms. These systems are shaped by the narratives and mindsets that people hold.

Our world was (and continues to be) colonised through storytelling. Stories have the potential to divide us, but they also have the power to strengthen connection and community.
– rona glynn-mcdonald

The consciousness of wider Australia is shifting. More and more people understand that they have missed out on the opportunity to learn from and connect with First Nations people and cultures.

Common Ground launched in 2019 with a website bringing together First Nations knowledge, cultures and stories. We have continued to evolve as a place of storytelling and education, to create opportunities for First Nations people to be authors on our terms.

We create content and educational resources. We work with First Nations communities to record old stories in new ways. We develop strategic partnerships in different systems to deliver unique and impactful projects.

First Nations people are the original storytellers, and Common Ground is building on a journey 80,000 years in the making.

Our artwork

Kaltu Kaltu is my father's name. It is also the name of a seed that can be made into bread. This is good food. My father was born in a place called Angatja, under the blue mountains named Murpu. There are many of these seeds there which is why he was called this.
– rupert jack

Rupert Jack is a senior Pitjantjatjara man from the APY lands. With the help of Ernabella Arts and Rupert, we've created a digital version of Kaltu Kaltu to tell a story in our brand. You will see it across our website and social media.

Like the seeds in Kaltu Kaltu – we are sowing truth, knowledge, culture and connection into the fabric of society.

Kaltu Kaltu by Rupert Jack