Image: Children in Ernabella as part of Carclew’s Tjitji Tjutaku Inma project, 2012. Photo: Lee-Ann Buckskin.

Tjitjiku Tjukurpa

The Children's Dreaming Project

Language and Arts!

From 2011, Carclew undertook a three-year project with communities across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) and Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. Tjitjiku Tjuta Inmaku Pakantjaka or Tjitjiku Inma (For All the Kids to Dance Ceremony) was a language project developed by Pitjantjatjara Elders who were concerned that their stories were in jeopardy. Faced with modern cultural pressures, fewer Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara children were learning language and without this language the inma was being compromised.

Tjitjiku Inma documented oral and visual material, including Inma (song and dance) and Walka (meaningful marks/patterns on the body), with the project resulting in a trilingual educational resource. While highly successful and expansive in reach, there are still communities in the APY Lands that have not yet been involved.

With support from the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts’ Indigenous Language & Arts Program, Carclew in partnership with Lee-Ann Buckskin & Associates are proud to be moving into the second phase of this important project with Tjitjiku Tjukurpa (The Children’s Dreaming) Project.

Under the guidance of cultural custodians, Carclew, Lee-Ann Buckskin & Associates and regional partners will work with children from Amata, Ernabella, Mimili and Davenport Communities to teach and record ancient inma in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages, through exploration into the Seven Sisters Dreaming from this region.

Tjitjiku Tjukurpa is made up of 4 key projects:

The Excursion – 16-23 June 2019

The project kicks-off with a group of thirty children from associated communities undertaking an 8-day journey, tracking the Seven Sisters Songline from Whyalla through to Amata and ending at the sacred Cave Hill site.  Along the way, stops will be made to learn relatable inma–song, dance and walka from significant cultural custodians. A key outcome of this deliverable will be the development of a digital resource, which aims to better assist educators in teaching specific Aboriginal content in the classroom.

Amata Residency – Term 1 and 3 2019

During the Amata residency, children will learn ancient Inma and Walka of the Seven Sisters Dreaming. Inma is the ceremonial song and dance that accompanies the Tjukurpa (dreaming stories), and Walka, the body paint. Children will also learn the ancient art of Punu (traditional wood work). It is vital for the next generations to learn these art forms to ensure this ancient knowledge is not lost. 

Pukatja (Ernabella) Residency – Term 3 2019

The Pukatja residency will see children work with renowned claymation artist Jonathan Daw, to recreate the Seven Sisters into a contemporary children’s animation. Students will be able to take the ancient story and transform into a visual Claymation of their imagining. 

Mimili Residency – Term 4 2019

This residency will see Mimili School students work with contemporary music duo, Electric Fields, to transform the ancient songs of the Seven Sisters into modern contemporary music tracks. The students will work with Electric Fields during a one week residency to workshop and record the songs. 

At the end of the 2019 residency’s, the four projects will be brought together for a public outcome, where we will see a live performance of the Inma performed by the children from Amata, a screening of the Claymation video and a performance of the contemporary song/s by the Mimili children and Electric Fields.

To ensure the story and project lives on, and is accessible to all students to come, the projects contents will also be produced into an educational and interactive website that teachers can use in the classroom.

Program enquiries:
Bethany Ashley-Ward, Manager – Arts Programs. Email:
Lilla Berry, Project Officer - Arts Programs. Email:


If you or your organisation is interested in supporting high quality creative experiences for Aboriginal children and remote communities, we welcome you to get in touch to discuss further.
Lucy Markey, Senior Manager, Marketing & Development
Email, Phone 08 8230 1118 / 0411 106 257


Contact Details

Bethany Ashley-Ward
Manager – Arts Programs
08) 8267 5111