We bring together knowledge, cultures and stories to create content and experiences that inform and advocate.
We work to embed First Nations knowledge in the systems that shape our society - through digital platforms, storytelling projects, resource creation and campaigning. We are currently focused on supporting change in the education system by making resources for schools, and through advocacy.
We work with a range of partners and collaborators to develop new ways of maintaining and celebrating our cultures. We work with First Nations communities to support them in strengthening culture and sharing it with future generations.
Facing the Numbers explores the human stories behind the statistics of First Nations disadvantage in the criminal justice system. We are working with First Nations filmmakers to share the stories of individuals and families. Facing the Numbers is a systemic advocacy campaign and we are collaborating with First Nations justice organisations to drive meaningful action. Watch this space!
The First Nations Bedtime Stories is a key project from Common Ground, designed to maintain and strengthen First Nations cultures. Each year we work with First Nations Elders and knowledge custodians to share non-secret Dreaming stories with the next generation of Australians through short films.
Common Ground was founded in 2018 by Rona Glynn McDonald, a proud Kaytetye woman from Mparntwe (Alice Springs). After moving to Naarm (Melbourne), Rona met many people who wanted to learn more about First Nations cultures and communities. But there is a critical lack of representation of First Nations people in many aspects of our society. The colonial systems that impact the way we live fail to consider, support and represent First Nations people and the knowledge and solutions we hold. This includes the media, our schools, governments and businesses.
This has two deeply damaging effects on us all. It prevents First Nations voices and communities from being heard and furthers systemic disadvantage. And because so few non-Indigenous people learn about First Nations cultures and perspectives, the knowledge gap widens.
Common Ground exists to address these issues by changing these systems and centering First Nations people, knowledge, cultures and stories.
Common Ground knows that the more people who learn and connect with First Nations people and experiences, the more they will understand and respect our communities. The more we all know, the more we can help shape the systems that govern our lives, so they centre First Nations people, cultures and solutions.
“We must share the truths of our past, the lived experiences of the present, and the rich cultures across our continent - to break down the divides between non-Indigenous Australians and First Nations people - and find common ground.” ~ Rona Glynn-McDonald
Common Ground first launched with our website that brings together First Nations knowledge, cultures and stories. Here we provide articles, videos, audio interviews, educational resources and many other forms of content for learning. We have continued to evolve into a leading First Nations not-for-profit, with a variety of digital platforms, cultural storytelling projects and strategic partnerships.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and cultures are a rich asset for Australia, for everyone. We are demonstrating how centering First Nations knowledge and solutions benefits First Nations people and everyone else too. Whether it's sustainability, creativity, land care, wellbeing, identity, governance, agriculture, art, fire management, inclusion, biology or history: our community is joining together to embed First Nations knowledge into the fabric of our society.
Our branding features an artwork by Rupert Jack. Rupert Jack is a senior Pitjantjatjara man from the APY lands. Speaking about his Kaltu Kaltu artwork Rupert says:
"This 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".
With the help of Ernabella Arts, and Rupert Jack we've made a digital version of the artwork to tell a story in our brand. You will see it across our website and social media channels.