Ferment Collaborate is a cultural development and community planning agency. We use creative approaches to practitioner collaboration to engage, involve and partner with communities to deliver leading practice approaches to community cultural development (CCD) projects, programs and events, generating spaces for intercultural exchange, community-driven empowerment and local capacity strengthening.
We work with community organisations, government and the private sector to create practical, culturally appropriate responses to inclusion, engagement, capacity, expression, planning and governance needs. Ferment Collaborate is building pathways for:
- collaborative approaches to engagement, arts management and cultural development
- socially inclusive engagement and planning practices
influential community framing of and access to decision making
- platforms and resources for dialogue, showcasing, organising, celebration & enterprise stronger, skilled and more connected communities
- strengths based development approaches
- celebrating diversity
Our work is about connecting people with identity and place while strengthening capacity for cultural expression and advocacy. Focusing on empowerment enables communities to self manage and advocate, acknowledging that people organise themselves in ways that don’t always directly correlate with formal governance approaches and priorities. We encourage storytelling and new thinking about collaboration through creative approaches that reflect cultural diversity and inspire shared celebration.
Why Sri Lanka?
Ferment Collaborate's Venesa Matram Program (venesa means 'change' in Sinhala) works with arts, cultural and change organisations in Sri Lanka to support collaboration, capacity strengthening and new opportunities for creative community building. As Sri Lanka emerges from civil war and natural disaster, facing a complex range of social, cultural, economic and environmental issues, we want to support people who are actively working to promote grass roots approaches to community building and connecting people.
Our main project in Sri Lanka is the Venesa Matram Symposium, which focuses on strengthening community worker's capacity and supporting creative approaches to community building and arts practice. Our approach is underpinned by ‘Three E’s’ -expression, education and enterprise, with elements of these three areas incorporated into the way we communicate, design and facilitate projects and build relationships with local people. These three areas of focus have emerged through our engagement with Sri Lankan artists, cultural workers, community builders, small business owners and activists.
Born in Australia but with family originating from Sri Lanka, Steph Vajda, Ferment Collaborate Director, began this work in 2010 and continues to work with local agencies to make positive change possible.
Ferment Collaborate (FC) has grown from a persistent desire to meaningfully connect people's cultural practices with the way governance, planning and community organising take place. Much like you, we have experienced (if not facilitated) participatory events or activities, intended to create access to the way government makes decisions. Often these events can feel so detached from everyday life, from what we know of our local people and cultures, from practical, meaningful ways to create safer, connected, resourced communities with a strong sense of identity and a real sense of place.
We collaboratively design approaches to community building, such as organisational and planning systems, participatory arts projects or creating spaces for dialogue, exchange and showcasing, with a focus on strengthening the capacity of community organisations. FC aims to build practical connections between systems of governance and decision making and the strengths and cultural practices of a community.
Ferment Collaborate works with community agencies to design creative approaches to development, management and change. Our approach is focused on collaboratively designing processes that increase people's ability to actively participate in their community, in the way decisions are made by local government and that strengthen the capacity of local change makers and facilitators to continue delivering these processes beyond our involvement.
Our fundraising campaigns are designed to source project funding to develop, implement and evaluate some of our ideas through collaborative projects with community agencies. Based in Australia but operating internationally, we are presently developing a range of projects to support participatory arts, cultural planning and social change facilitators in Australia and Sri Lanka. FC’s work in Sri Lanka is delivered with 90% of funding sourced through donations reaching Sri Lankan agencies, individuals and project delivery. and does not provide income or salaries for non-Sri Lankan workers.
When you support our work you can choose what level of involvement you are interested in - from donating money to being actively involved in shaping the work we do.