Kim has committed her professional life to working with First Nation communities. She has found that arts and culture are powerful tools in reaching young people and their families experiencing recurring hardship. Even when people have very little, they always have their story. And by using a variety of artistic mediums and approaches, Kim has found that when people tell their story, or at least the bit they are willing to share, it increases wellbeing and even educational and social justice outcomes.
Kim worked with the award-winning group Big hART before establishing Beyond Empathy in 2004 with long-time colleague and creative partner Phillip Crawford. Together they have worked in some of the most challenging places in Australia. Kim is skilled at working with communities marked by intergenerational disadvantage and long-standing conflict. Through the process of creating art and working towards a common goal, Kim has found that people, long-divided, can often find new ways of working together.
Kim believes in staying with communities for the long haul, sometimes staying with communities longer than a decade. She believes strongly in working in the ‘third space’, an educational model of teaching and learning simultaneously. It is a reciprocal approach that aligns with the core values of First Nations communities and is created by true collaboration. In the third space, a neutral space, no one assumes superiority over the other. It is a central concept to how BE operates across all of its projects and it has proven successful in what BE produces creatively and building new practices by the artists that use it.
Kim is often asked to speak about the work of Beyond Empathy at public and corporate forums. She is a mentor to several other community workers and has been awarded for her work and the partnerships she has forged across government and the corporate, philanthropic and community sectors. Last year, along with a small group of other national creative leaders, she was appointed to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s Arts Reference Panel. She is an executive member of the Sports Health Arts and Education Academy in Moree, NSW.
After several years of working in the community welfare sector, Phil moved from Sydney to Melbourne to complete a bachelor of Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts. In 1998 Phil started working with Big hART and over the following years he collaborated with communities across Australia on various performance, installation and multi-media projects included in the programs of major arts festivals across Adelaide, Melbourne and Ten Days on the Island in Tasmania.
In 2004, Phil and long-time colleague Kim McConville established Beyond Empathy where he now works alongside Gemma Parsons on BE’s Illawarra projects. Phil and Gemma focus on producing collaborative film works with community.
Phil has been doing this kind of work for quite a long time and his unique and unconventional approach to filmmaking and community work is exemplified by the unusual awards he been given for his work: an AFI (Australian Film Institute) Award for the ‘concept’ of the film HURT, a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Innovative Combination of Documentary and Fiction for HURT, the Inaugural Arts Fellowship from the NSW Law Foundation and a special jury prize in the Free Spirit Competition at the Warsaw Film Festival (which recognises independent and rebellious films from around the world) for the film Rites of Passage – the jury noting its interesting approach to film making based on community work.
Films that Phil has directed have screened at national and international festivals, screened on Arte in Europe, Channel 4 in the UK, SBS and ABC in Australia and have won many nominations and awards for their distinct vision and process.
Project Manager, Moree
Jess is a proud Gomeroi woman who comes from Moree, NSW and is relatively new to the Arts industry. Jess has been working as the Moree Project Coordinator for Beyond Empathy (BE), an arts organisation, for over 18 months. Jess is heavily involved in her local community and is very passionate about making a difference for her people and community. Jess has spent the past 18 months managing the 3Moree Project which culminated this year in the success of the Festival of the Brolga. Jessica’s work with Beyond Empathy sees her manager a widespread number of projects and workshops within her local community which have reached audiences from ages 2 to 80. Jess sees this as a wonderful means through which she can bring about inclusion, equality and break the cycle of transgenerational trauma.
All Abilities and Access Project Manager
Ned McDowell is Beyond Empathy’s All Abilities and Access Project Manager for the New England and North West NSW. He is also a visual artist, a participant in a myriad of art practices which contribute to the welfare and improvement in the lives of people who identify living with a disability.
Ned himself proudly lives with the disability of Bipolar 1. Ned believes that art is a powerful tool in the treatment of mental illness. Art is a means to reignite imagination, self-confidence and self-worth. Ned uses his arts project management, his own art practice and exhibitions as a nonconfrontational platform to generate greater dialogue, awareness, education and understanding of mental health issues across the wider communities.
Ned strongly believes that maximum participation across all demographics is inherent to the success of a project, whether defined by age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, employment and disability. This greater participation contributes to a fuller picture, and that art itself can create a greater story, which otherwise could not be told.
Community Artist/Online Content Manager
Raphaela Rosella (Rosie) (1988) is an Australian photographer from Nimbin, NSW working in the tradition of long-form documentary storytelling. Rosie has been involved with Beyond Empathy since 2006. First as a participant through the BE Leadership Program and now takes on multiple roles as our photographer, community artist, mentor and online content manager.
Working closely with BE, Rosie uses visual storytelling as a device to question our readiness to stigmatise and to stereotype. Blending the conventions of documentary and art, Rosie has spent over 8 years documenting women in her life as they grapple with the complexities of motherhood, violence, and turbulent relationships. Each experience has been rewarding, complex, and at times heartbreaking. Rosie is committed to telling these stories in the hope that audiences begin to consider the cyclical nature of social disadvantage, and acknowledge the resilience of young women who share this lived experience.
Rosie has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and abroad and in 2014 she was one of 12 photographers selected worldwide to attend World Press Photo’s prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass held in Amsterdam. Furthermore, her work has received many distinctions including: First Prize (Portrait Singles Category) World Press Photo Contest (2015) and Australian Photobook of the Year (Momentro Pro) (2015).
Rosie holds a bachelor of Photography with first class honours from the Queensland College of Art (2012) and a diploma of Community Services (Case Management) (2014). She is represented by Australian photo collective Oculi and throughout Europe by Agence Vu.
Photographer, projects Illawarra
Emma Korhonen is a photographer, artist from the Illawarra where she works closely with Phil and Gemma documenting BE’s film projects Protection and Blue Rose.
Emma grew up with several talented artists, photographers and musicians in her family, and was encouraged from a young age to be as creative as she can be. Facing multiple health issues, BE has provided Emma with a supportive environment to practice her art making. She is thankful to have several creative outlets to express herself through art and photography and is currently being mentored by BE photographer Raphaela Rosella.
Emma studied fine arts at West Wollongong TAFE from 2006-2011 and focused mainly on traditional media, but is particularly interested in wildlife illustration. She is a self-taught landscape photographer and has been taking photos in a variety of styles since 2006.
Emma also plays guitar, was once in a band, and enjoys having the occasional jam with her brother in his garage.
Nate Weatherall is a hiphop artist from Armidale and is part of the Gumbaynggirr tribe of NSW. Music has been part of his life from a young age and first became involved with Kim McConville as a participant through Big hART’s project ‘Knot at Home’ back in 2003.
Nate is passionate about making a difference for his people and community and has been working with BE since 2011. Nate now facilitates hiphop workshops on a regular basis throughout Armidale and Moree and has worked alongside numerous talented artists including Spit Syndicate, Jimblah, Radical Son, Emma Donavon and Jess Ruibero.
BE gives Nate the opportunity to grow as an individual artist and be part on a number of projects and workshops within his local community and others. Nate believes BE projects break down barriers within communities and give young people in communities the opportunity to build confidence and showcase their unique talents.
Shaniece Igano is a community filmmaker that resides in Illawarra and began working with Beyond Empathy while making ‘Rites of Passage’ in 2009. Her passion for working behind the camera grew as she learnt on set.
In 2012, she created her first piece of film called ‘Legoland’; an installation piece that spoke about her personal experience in living in her community. Her piece of artwork was awarded a place at ArtExpress; a NSW statewide exhibition showcasing the best of year 12’s artwork.
Due to this success, she has been awarded Cate Stevenson Scholarship (2013) at International Womens Day Illawarra, the special mention award at FlickerFest (2014) and at Short Soup International film festival (2014). Her film has also been showed in Austria (2014).
She began to pursue filmmaking at TAFE after she left school in 2013 and completed a Certificate IV in Screen and Media. As she finished, she found that her passion was also in communities and then completed a Certificate IV in Community Services.
Shaniece is now a leading producer in stART productions and has worked on several projects in the Illawarra; collaborating with several communities in creating promotional content and retelling of stories.
Shaniece also works on assisting in the filmmaking process as an editor for upcoming feature-length film, ‘Protection’.
She loves the process of storytelling and loves empowering people to be the best they can be.