Carmen Lawrence Award for Community Building

This inaugural award is for the centre, individual or group that has demonstrated effective community development practices, to contribute meaningfully to a stronger, healthier, more inclusive local community. 

Winner: Escare and Esperance Community Arts (2019)

Arts based activities and projects are widely recognised as a way of bringing people together and impacting positively on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Capacity building and community development is central to the success of the Esperance Aboriginal Community Arts projects that have been undertaken by Esperance Community Arts and Escare in collaboration with Esperance Seawater Families Group and Tjaltjraak Native Title Corporation. 

The collaborative relationships of the groups involved, is built on trust over many years. Esperance Community Arts and Escare are aligned in their approach to community development and share a passion for working alongside local Nyungar community members. The projects demonstrate the working relationships in their community between various groups with aligned values and shared outcomes; particularly around building local capacity. All staff and volunteers have a buy in to the overall aims of the projects and this serves well in terms of the “doing” i.e.; organising the shopping, putting up posters, taking photographs, and looking out to alleviate barriers to participation. 

An outstanding example of one of the successful projects to come from this collaboration is the Wanju Nyungar Boodja Welcome to Country Project. It really helped to raise the profile of Nyungar culture and language in the region with lots of interest and support from the wider community, and has triggered many requests for murals with Indigenous content.

Pictured: Winners and finalists of the Carmen Lawrence Award for Community Building


From the Awards panel: The panel were impressed with the long term impact this collaboration is making on the broader community of Esperance and surrounds and the variety of different community groups, schools and organisations that have become involved. The project has overcome difficulties and has managed to turn local government opposition to community art to fully embracing it and supporting future arts projects. Using art to break down cultural barriers and create pride and a sense of community across the population of Esperance is community building at its best. The beautiful artwork and sense of community pride will last beyond the work of the people currently involved at the Centres