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Blak Up!

Connection. Activism. Arts.


What is Blak Up?

Blak Up is a dedicated First Nations event for young people aged 16-35 years old designed to engage and ignite the fight for change and build Blak power. 

The all Blak line-up  presented at thisl expenses paid 4-day camp, featured inspiring presentations, practical workshops, arts and musicians, to help guide young First Nations people; connect them with each other; and support them to create change in their own communities.

Blak Up participants accessed:

  • Workshops and panels on organising, activism and campaigning
  • Cultural activities, wellbeing and collective care
  • Deadly First Nations musicians and artists
  • Learn from Elders and experienced activists/campaigners
  • Opportunities to sign up to First Nations movements and campaigns
  • Ongoing support to create change locally


The time is now to build and create connections to fight for our future. White Australia has a Black future. The event will be for young First Nations people to learn from Elders and experienced activists and campaigners.

Blak Up is an opportunity to create new connections, learn and decompress. It offers a chance to listen to stories of wins and learnings from past campaigns and movements. 

When and where is Blak Up taking place?

Blak Up is took place Tuesday 8 – Friday 11 November 2022 on Gunditjmara Country, near Warrnambool.

Who can apply?

We encourage and prioritise young mob aged 16-35 years who have lived experience in the justice system, state care, mental health system, housing precarity and those mob who live remote, rural or regional.

FYA First Nations seeks to ensure Blak Up is an inclusive and safe place for young First Nations parents, people with criminal records, disabilities; and LGBTQIA+ communities.

Applications have closed

The closing date for applications was 11.59pm AEST, Sunday 9 October. 

Participants were selected from applications by a panel of First Nations people, which may include Gunditjmarra Traditional Owners, FYA staff and other partner organisations. They were selected based on their answers to the questions in the application.

Artwork by Little Butten

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened on Day 1?

10:00AM – 10:30AM Welcome to Country

10:30AM – 11:30 AM Fighting Gunditjmara Panel
Location: Main stage
Hear from young Gunditjmara people on historical and modern day examples of the Fighting Gunditjmara, and why it is important to protect country and kinship. Facilitated by Meriki Onus (she/her). Speakers include:

  • Christopher Saunders (He/Him), Gunditjmara man working Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation. 2019 Mr NAIDOC VIC and FYA First Nations Governance Group member.
  • Jidah Clark (He/Him), Djab Wurrung lawyer with strong policy expertise, having worked for over a decade across the private, public and community sectors.
  • Tarneen Onus-Browne (They/Them), Gunditjmara, Bindal, Yorta Yorta person and Torres Strait Islander. Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance Organiser and Community Legal Education Officer at VALS.
  • Tyson Lovett-Murray (He/Him) Gunditjmara, World Heritage Site Park Ranger at Gunditj Mirring.

11:30AM – 12:00pm Icebreaker
Location: Main stage
Get to know each other better with a group connection activity.

12:00PM – 1:00PM Lunch

1:00PM – 2:00PM Imagining a world without police & prisons
Location: Main stage
This expert panel will discuss what prison and policing of our people in the colony means today, and how we imagine a future without them. Facilitated by Nayuka Gorrie (they/them). Speakers include:

  • Professor Chelsea Watego (she/her) Munanjahli and South Sea Islander Academic and author of Another Day in the Colony’
  • Aunty Veronica Gorrie (she/her) Gunnai/Kurnai, award winning author and activist 
  • Andrew Krakouer (he/him) Noongar, Yamajti, Minang and Ingarrda. Former AFL player, formerly incarcerated and media personality.

2:00PM – 2:15PM Break

*Choose ONE workshop to attend at 2:15PM

2:15PM – 3:15PM Workshop #1 What is organising?
Location: Main stage
Learn what organising is and how to do it from mob who’ve been creating movements for years. Facilitated by Meriki Onus (she/her). Speakers include:

  • Millie Telford (She/her) Bundjalung and South Sea Islander who is First Nations Justice Director, Australian Progress and Co-Founder of Seed Mob.
  • Talei Elu (She/Her) Saibai Koedal woman from Torres Strait Islander and Seisia community member.

2:15PM – 3:15PM Workshop #2 Banner-making workshop with Gabi Briggs
Location: Marquee

2:15PM – 3:15PM Workshop #3 Dreaming Blak Futures
In this workshop we’ll look at ways to use poetry to maintain connection to Country and identity incorporating the presence of land and cultural motifs. Facilitated by:

  • Laniyuk (She/Her) is a Larrakia, Kungarakan, Gurindji, and French writer and performer of poetry and short memoir.
  • Remy Cohen Collective Imagining participant

3:30PM – 6:00PM Music Performances
Location: Main stage

  • Chasing Ghosts, Thunghutti Musician & Storyteller band
  • Philly, Wemba Wemba Rapper
  • Becca Hatch, Kamilaroi & Samoan Musician

6:00PM Travel back to camp

6:30PM Mob wellness & debriefs
Join Mbarbrum counsellor Caroline Kell (she/her), for a grounding session & small group debriefs.

7:00 PM Dinner

8:30 Blak Astronomy
Location: Southcombe Lodge
Join Karlie Noon, Gamilaraay astronomer, to explore what the night skies told our ancestors.

What is happened on Day 2?

9:15AM – 10:00AM Travel to Eel traps

10:00AM – 1:00PM World Heritage Eel Trap Tour
Location: Offsite
Hosted by Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism, with lunch provided by Tae Rak Cafe.

1:15PM – 2:00PM Travel back

2:00PM – 3:00PM Generations of Resistance
Location: Main stage
In this panel, we’ll learn lessons of past and present resistance to transform the future from different generations involved in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Sovereignty movements. Facilitated by Meriki Onus (she/her). Speakers include:

  • Tarneen Onus (They/Them), Gunditjmara, Bindal, Yorta Yorta person and Torres Strait Islander
  • Aunty Gwenda Stanley (she/her) proud Gomeroi woman and grew up in Top camp Moree. She is a dancer, educator and cultural ambassador

3:00PM – 3:15PM Break

*Choose ONE workshop to attend at 3:15PM

3:15PM – 4:15PM Workshop #1 Get Up Stand Up Blak Up
Location: Main stage
Get inspired by Blak-led campaign wins from the Betaloo Basin, Torres Strait 8 and the abolition of public drunkenness in Victoria told directly by the mob who made it happen. Facilitated by Roxy Moore (she/her). Speakers include:

  • Larissa Baldwin (she/her) is a proud Widjabul Wia-bul woman from the Bundjalung Nations and until now GetUp’s Chief Campaigns Officer, and co-founder of  Seed Mob. 
  • Daniel Billy (he/him) Warraber activist and co-founder of Torres Strait 8

3:15PM – 4:15PM Workshop #2 Tik Tok Creators Workshop
Location: Marquee
Hear from original BlakTok creators about what works, what doesn’t, how to look after yourself and navigate the internet, how to succeed and take control of Blak narrative using platforms like TikTok. Facilitated by Tallulah Brown (she/they/he). Speakers include:

  • Meissa Mason (She/Her), Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal queer woman and Tik Tok Content Creator
  • Sari-Ella Thaiday (She/Her), Erub, Saibai, Yidinji Content Creator on Tiktok

3:15PM – 4:15PM Workshop #3 Mutual Aid Workshop
Location: Yarning Circle
Mutual aid is when we organise together as a community to meet our needs and oppressed peoples all over the world have become experts in survival. Facilitated by Nayuka Gorrie (they/them). 

4:15PM Small Group Debriefs
You’ll debrief the day with your allocated group and facilitator.

4:30PM – 6:30PM Music performances & Justice 4 Cassius action
Location: Mainstage

  • 2Lubly, Musicians Lulkbudia (Miriwoong Gadjerong) and Sarah (Nhanda, Malgana and Yamaji)

6:30PM Mob wellness
Mbarbrum counsellor Caroline Kell (she/her), and founder of BlakWattle, will run a grounding exercise. 

6:45PM Travel back to camp

7:00PM Dinner

Who are the trainers and mentors?

Our trainers and mentors will include:

  • Roxy Moore, Noongar, First Nations Executive Director (she/her)
  • Meriki Onus, Gunai and Gunditjmara, Director of Programs & Movements (she/her)
  • Nayuka Gorrie, Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta, First Nations Director (they/them)
  • Tallulah Brown, Gomeroi, First Nations Program Officer (she/they/he)
  • Johnathan Binge, Gamilaraay, Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr, First Nations Program Officer (he/him)

What inclusion and accessibility support will be provided?

We work to make all our events as accessible to as many people as possible. We ask about accessibility needs in the application form and if you have any access requirements not covered below, please email  or set up a yarn with our First Nations team here:
Accessibility at the venues
Blak Up will be held on Gunditjmara Country.
Auslan Interpreters
Auslan Interpreters can be provided for gatherings.
Gender neutral bathrooms
Will be available.
Covering costs
All travel, accommodation and meals are covered by FYA. We will also cover childcare, support workers, companion animal care and lost wages (e.g. if you have to cancel any shift work to attend the event).
How will you ensure this program is COVID safe?
Prior to gatherings FYA will send a welcome pack to all participants which will include Rapid-Antigen-Tests and N-95 face masks. To be able to attend any in person event with FYA participants must:
  • Be double vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Have negative Rapid-Antigen-Test results prior the each event
  • Be well, and not present with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Not be waiting on COVID-19 test results.
  • Not have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19, until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result
  • Not be directed to isolate by the public health authorities e.g. recently returned travellers or people who have been in hot spots
Developing COVID-19 symptoms during the gatherings
If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 during the gatherings, you need to immediately let staff know. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
If you do develop symptoms during the gatherings we will need to ask you to put on a face mask, isolate you at the venue and we will arrange for you to be safely transported back home, where you’ll need to get a COVID test. You’ll only be able to attend the program again after receiving a negative test result.

How is the program funded?

The event is fully funded by FYA. All expenses are covered because we believe that is important to allow participation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions or want more information about Blak Up you can email them to or book in a 15 min yarn with our First Nations team


I’m interested in supporting Blak Up. How can I help?

Interested in becoming a partner for Blak Up? If you’re a youth First Nations led organisation, group or movement working on social change, we’d love to hear from you. Set up a yarn with our First Nations team here: