indigenous community workshops

D7z making hip hop at Ampilatwatja community.

For over 15 years, Monkey Marc has worked with indigenous youth and elders in more than 30 communities around Australia. He has run songwriting, music recording and video editing workshops, using hip hop, reggae and rock music and music videos as an outlet for creativity in these remote communities.

He has worked in indigenous communities across outback Australia including Punmu and Parngurr (Western Australia), Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Ali Curung, Ampliatwatja, Nyrripi, Papunya and Kintore (Northern Territory), Mimili (South Australia), Palm Island and Arrakoon (Queensland), and Wilcania (New South Wales). 

Monkey Marc pioneered Transfer of Knowledge projects, which transform traditional Dreamtime stories into modern songs. This helps to strengthen, preserve and reinvigorate sacred indigenous knowledge.

Monkey Marc workshop in Ali Curung, NT, October 2014.

There are huge challenges facing these communities, and not always a lot of positive role models. For the younger generation, it can be inspiring to see older brothers or sisters or cousins learning to record their own music, making their own videos, and even touring and performing their music live at community events and festivals.

The workshops develop multimedia production skills in the young people who participate. More importantly, it can have a powerful impact on the communities by spreading positive messages and showcasing positive activities, vibrant self-expression and respect for country and culture.

Ali Curung studio, Northern Territory.

Desert Sevens, Ampilatwatja, NT.

Desert Sevens, Ampilatwatja, NT.

( Workshop services )

Monkey Marc runs a wide range of workshops for youth and elders, sharing his extensive experience from recording, mixing and mastering, to training people in different aspects of music and video production.

His broad cross-cultural experience allows him to be culturally sensitive and respectful of a community's wishes and needs.

Workshops include:

  • Hip hop production and lyric writing
  • Reggae production and lyric writing
  • Recording bands in remote areas
  • Mixing and mastering of final product
  • Music video production
  • Training in Logic Pro and GarageBand
  • Training in how to record and mix bands
  • Aural history recording of stories
  • Transfer of knowledge workshops with youth and elders
  • Soundtrack production


Together with Warlpiri elder Steve Wanta Patrick, Monkey Marc has put together a Warlpiri skin name chart to help new people coming into community understand the relationships between community members.

This chart has also been used to assist the legal system in remote areas of Australia to help better understand cultural obligations.

Download the chart here.

Milpirri Cultural Festival

Over the last 4 years, Monkey Marc has worked on the Milpirri Cultural Festival in remote Lajamanu, NT, alongside the Track Dance Company, Steve Patrick, Mantra MC and Elf Tranzporter.

Milpirri is a cross-generational dance performance involving the entire community. It is created over a six-week residency in Lajamanu, facilitated by a creative production team. It leads to a performance involving around 200 community members, from primary school children, young men and women, to the male and female elders. It has been described as a cross cultural event that invigorates the whole community:

It came from a realisation in the community that the young were losing their way, the stories were not being passed on and interest in learning and education both mainstream and Indigenous was waning. The impact on the youth was devastating. This Warlpiri community grasped an incredibly creative way to meet the challenges of maintaining culture, of giving youth direction and of renewing the community’s belief in its own capacity.

“This is a desperate time for Yapa (Indigenous people). A lot of the old people are now gone. We have got to get all these stories out,” says Wanta. “Milpirri encourages Yapa (Indigenous people) and Kardiya (non-Indigenous people) to come up with something to help themselves. It gives hope really and encouragement to look to the many stories that exist for Yapa in Australia and in the Torres Strait” (South, The Guardian, 2014).

The documentary Winds of Change by Stewart Carter shows the process of putting this amazing cultural festival together. Watch excerpts from it here - Milpirri Ngurra-kurlu and Milpirri cloud extract.

Milpirri offers so much to the future of Lajamanu. For youth who are feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges, Milpirri provides support from all in the community, it teaches pride and deeper understanding of culture and offers a variety of great role models. Milpirri provides a place which values all in the community, black, white, male, female, young and old. It is an answer that comes from the country.
Cath South, The Guardian