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The Indigenous Story Project hosts Indigenous stories across many forms. It aims to provide an opportunity to gather, (re)generate, and host stories, and thus knowledges, through spoken word, in music, in film, in visual arts, writing, and all dynamic multimedia forms. 

The Indigenous Story project welcomes contributions—large-scale to small, including independent creativity captured on mobile phones and other hand-held devices, and other technologies. All contributions are moderated.  

Sandra Phillips

Founding Judge

Associate Professor Sandra Phillips is a member of the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng nations in Queensland. Professionally, Sandra is a member of the Indigenous professoriate at the University of Technology Sydney where currently coordinates Indigenous Higher Degrees by Research.


Sandra’s field of expertise is in Indigenous creativity and the Indigenous literary sector. Her PhD research, completed in 2012, at the Queensland University of Technology examined “Re/presenting Readings of the Indigenous Literary Terrain”. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Government) in 1988 from the University of Queensland.


Sandra is also a director of the board of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), member of the Library Board of Queensland, and member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Sandra continues to be a widely-recognised and valued leader in the Indigenous literary sector dating back to when she first worked in publishing with Magabala Books in the mid-1990s.


Sandra previously lectured in Creative Writing and Literary Studies at QUT Creative Industries in Brisbane, 2013 to 2017. For the year prior and immediately after conferral of her PhD, Sandra was the Lecturer in Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Arts and Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she initiated, developed, and delivered a 13-week course titled ‘Reading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writing’.


Sandra has written numerous book chapters and journal articles and edited books and journals on a range of Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous creativity-related topics. She has also been invited speaker at many writers’ festivals and was recently invited to appear at the Women of the World London Festival in March, 2019. She also speaks at academic conferences on the writing, publishing, and audiences for Indigenous literature and storytelling. Sandra has extended her experience and expertise to the supervision of students entering higher degrees by research in the fields of creative writing and creative industries.


Upon her appointment in February, 2018 to UTS, Sandra became a member of the UTS PVC Management Committee (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) and has been the Senior Indigenous Academic on the UTS Indigenous Research Committee and a member of the UTS Graduate Research School Board. She has been a Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) since 2017.


In 2019, Sandra was appointed to the board of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Since 2017 she has been member of the Library Board of Queensland and was the inaugural Chairperson of an Advisory Panel at the Brisbane Writers Festival which led to the establishment of the innovative immersive literary arts tourable venue, Angel’s Palace. She has been a literary judge for the Stella Prize in 2017, the David Unaipon Award 2012-2016 and B&W! 2010-2011; and is currently a judge of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction 2020.


Prior to her academic career, Sandra worked as a book editor for Magabala Books in Broome and the University of Queensland Press in Brisbane, and she was the first Aboriginal person to manage Aboriginal Studies Press at AIATSIS. Sandra has also worked in the federal government for the Department of Communications and the Arts. Sandra has received a number of awards including the QWC Johnno Award for services to writing in Queensland and the QUT Women in Research Grant Scheme in 2016. She also received QUT Creative Industries Dean’s Commendation Doctoral Thesis Award in 2012, and was the recipient of QUT’s inaugural Oodgeroo Noonuccal Research Scholarship (Postgraduate) 2007-10. Sandra has raised three sons who are now young adults and she has one granddaughter.

John Harding

Panel Judge

John Harding is one of Australia's leading playwrights, with 12 productions staged, and/or broadcast in Australia and abroad. He is a tireless worker in the struggle to create a space for Indigenous people on the Australian stage.


John is the founding member and inaugural administrator of Ilbijerri ATSI Theatre Cooperative in Melbourne. For Ilbijerri's first production, John wrote “Up The Road” and went on to win the Australian Human Rights Award for its second extended production in 1997 which was toured nationally by Belvoir Theatre and directed by Neil Armfield.


His earlier work includes 1990’s “Not Just Bricks and Mortar” for the Victorian Housing Commission which was staged at the Inaugural Melbourne Fringe Festival.

John was also the Artistic Director of the 1996 Nambundah Arts Festival at Belvoir Theatre. In 1994, John wrote “Little Blak book of Poems”, a book of poetry published by Dynamo House (Melbourne).


John has directed three major productions, "Enuff at the Malthouse” in 2002 and "No Parking)" in 2001 at Theatreworks, and “Second Helping" in 2005 at North Melbourne's Arts House.


John is also an accomplished performer. He wrote, directed and starred in a play titled “Sisterly Love” after workshopping it twice, once at The University of Melbourne in 2014, and again at La Mama theatre in 2015. The play is about the two Tasmanian Aborigines that were hung at the Old Melbourne gaol in 1842.


John also co-wrote and co-starred in "Blak and Tran II” in 2004, with Hung Le for the Adelaide and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and “Natives Striking Blak”  in 2007 for Ilbijerri Theatre, also performed at the Adelaide and Melbourne International Comedy Festivals.


John has worked in television for ABC "Blackout" program, and SBS’ "ICAM Program”. While at SBS John produced and wrote the first Indigenous comedy show, a 26-part series titled "The Masters", directed by Michael Riley.


In recent years John has moved into film and made three documentaries.

“Nganampa Manta” (PY Media) for the Pitjatjanjara people and “Fitzroy Stars” (Movie Mischief), both purchased by Message Stick for ABC television. The third documentary short film was commissioned by City of Melbourne and called “Lets Talk Treaty” as a part of the 2011 Laneways Program.


In December 2012 John won the CBAA prize for his radio coverage of the 40th anniversary of the Tent embassy in Canberra in January of that year.


John has lectured on Indigenous theatre in various universities, and schools. He has also served on the Indigenous advisory committees for the Australian Arts Law Centre, the National Indigenous Writers Network and The Melbourne Writers Festival.

Nathaniel Andrew

Panel Judge

Nathaniel is an internationally recognised musician, performer and music educator who has had an extensive music career as a Bassist, Guitarist and vocalist.  He received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies (with Distinction) from Central Queensland Conservatorium (CQCM) before completing a Master of Music (Jazz Studies) from the University of Cincinnati (UC).


Nathaniel began his professional performing career in 2003 as a session musician for local recording studios and festivals before being accepted into the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music 2004.  In 2008 he was accepted on a full scholarship into a Masters of Music at The University of Cincinnati in Ohio, USA. During his time in the USA, Nathaniel had the opportunity to perform and work with artists including Bootsy Collins, Mel Carter, Wilbert Longmire and Jeff Coffin.


From 2014 to 2019 Nathaniel was the Head of Music at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts where founded the ACPA Gospel choir, which under his leadership went on to, perform with artists including Jessica Mauboy, Archie Roach, Isaiah Firebrace, Troy Cassar Daley, Kate Cerebrano, Katie Noonan and John Farnham at events including QMF’s 2017 “You’re the Voice” concert and at the closing ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  From 2014 to 2018 Nathaniel was the musical director for ACPA Productions “Black Electric” (2014), Knock Knock (2015), Flight (2016), Awakening (2017) and Eclipse (2018) which premiered at the Queensland Performance Arts Centre.  In 2016 he was announced as VET Trainer of the Year at the Queensland Training Regional Awards.


In 2019 Nathaniel was the music director for “The Sapphires” presented by Hit Productions, which is currently traveling to over 140 venues around Australia.  In this position he worked closely with award winning actor Tony Briggs and lighting designer Mark Howett.  He also provided opening music for the 2019 Birraranga Film Festival, which premiered award-winning films from around the world.


Nathaniel’s performing credits include Macy’s Jazz Festival in Cincinnati, USA alongside acts including Jasmine Sullivan, Robin Thicke, The O’Jays and Anita Baker (2009), Festival of Voices in Hobart, AUS (2016 as bassist), Opening for Chrissette Michelle and Frankie Beverly and MAZE, Opening for Al Jarreau (2008), Latrobe University’s Hyllus Maris Lecture and QMF’s “You’re the Voice” events accompanying Isaiah Firebrace (2016 X Factor winner), Aboriginal Tourism Expo at the Sydney Opera House (2015), Guest Lecturer on Bootsy Collins Funk University, Numerous performances with “All Together Now” 2018 winner Lai, Freelance bassist, guitarist and vocalist with numerous Brisbane musical groups, Yamaha Music endorsee, Elixir Strings endorsee, Sponsored by Mark Bass amplifiers


Nathaniel is a proud Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri, Ngarrindjeri, Wadi Wadi, Wiradjuri and South Sea Islander man