Symposium and the Instigators

(formerly referred to as Riverland Skillin’ It)

Symposium is a youth-led, community-based and locally-driven initiative to nurture a culture of skills and knowledge-sharing between individuals and community in the Riverland.

Symposium will culminate in a festival of one-hour workshops in July/August led by young people for other young people. The festival and workshops are being developed and designed by a core group of young people aged 18-26, who have named the project Symposium and themselves Instigators.

The Instigators are being mentored by Part of Things and have access to Part of Things physical and virtual spaces throughout the process of developing and delivering Symposium.

Core Instigators: Kirsty Charity, Cody Dolan, Hayley Wilson, Kirste Vandergiessen

Primary Mentor: Alysha Herrmann (Part of Things)


Our rationale for Symposium is to create a project that:

  1. Brings together and supports a cohort of young adults to connect, inspire and empower each other (during the project and beyond it).
  2. Showcases and builds momentum around a positive story of a youth-led project – to remind our wider community that we have so many talented and incredible young people living and working in our community right now.
  3. Puts some real resources (ie cash) into the hands of young people who need it.
  4. Develops the confidence and skills of local young people and connects them to mentors/champions/allies for longer term impacts (beyond the life of the project)
  5. Can be leveraged into further projects by and for young people in the Riverland. Ie. we’ll have photos, videos, evaluation material that we can use to apply for bigger grants and to attract more local buy-in.
  6. Can be delivered in and around any ongoing COVID impacts. Recovery is real, and the psychological impacts are just as important as the practical impacts our entire community is wrestling with (loss of jobs, businesses closing etc).


November 2020 – February 2021: Assemble the Instigators

This period will include Part of Things and our supporters reaching out through existing networks (including our very supportive local ABC Radio Riverland team) to recruit the 4-5 Instigators (aged 18-26) who will lead and deliver this project. There will be an application process via the Part of Things website. Once recruited the Instigators will come together for 5 x 2 hour workshops. These initial workshops will be facilitated by project mentor Alysha Herrmann and will cover skills in project planning, strategic marketing, documentation and evaluation, but the primary purpose of these initial workshops will be for the Instigators to get to know each other, form a healthy working relationship and articulate their vision for the project. At this point we will also set up a digital communication platform (a Mighty Networks Hub) for the Instigators to connect and collaborate across the life of the project.

During this period the Instigators will also participate in workshops/training with a local accountant to set themselves up with ABN, invoice templates, P&L spreadsheet template and other basics to be engaged with Symposium (and future ideas they may have) as freelance sole traders (ie. micro businesses).

February 2021 – April 2021: Create Knowledge Bank Pilot

The Instigators will each create a single skills workshop/resource that can be accessed online reflecting an individual area of interest/expertise. This might be a short video, a series of connected PDFS or something else entirely.

Throughout this period all of the Instigators will have access to each other through the closed digital hub (Mighty Network) to support, share, learn and collaborate, and they will also have ongoing access to co-working desks at Part of Things across the project. During this period of development each Instigator will also have access to the primary mentor to problem solve any hiccups and bounce around their ideas. The budget includes additional specialised mentoring to support them in producing their knowledge bank contribution (such as high-quality videography, graphic design, presenting skills etc).

These resources/the knowledge bank will be officially launched at the Festival (teasers/pre-launch campaign will support promoting the festival beginning in mid-late June).

May 2021 – July 2021: Symposium (Festival Outcome)

Together the Instigators will decide an overall vision and theme for the Symposium. Instigators will be in charge of the marketing and project plan to deliver the festival and they will be supported by an additional 1 x dedicated Festival coordinator (under 26) to achieve their vision. 

Each of the Instigators will be responsible for planning and delivering 1 x 1hour workshop themselves within the festival, and inviting 1-2 other young people to plan & deliver a workshop in the festival. This will deliver a total of 15 x 1hour youth led workshops during Symposium. Each of the 15 workshop presenters (Instigators) will be paid a small fee covering: their time on the day, pre-planning of their workshop and how it will be delivered in the festival.

3 of these workshops will be trialled/presented as tasters in Renmark, Loxton & Waikerie (9workshops total) in the lead-up to the final Symposium of 15 workshops presented in Barmera as the most central location. These taster workshops will assist workshop presenters to develop their confidence and act as magnet/promo for the final festival.

All 15 Instigators will have a personal professional headshot photography sessions and a biography writing mentoring session.

Across the life of the project the Instigators will be actively mentored and supported by Alysha Herrmann. Alysha is an award-winning producer, youth arts worker and ‘doer’ who has been delivering community, arts and youth projects of varying scale across regional South Australia for over ten years. 

Beyond the funded Symposium project, we plan to leverage the content of the digital knowledge bank and festival to attract small sponsorships and/or other funding to commission additional content for the knowledge bank. Either way we will continue to promote and make available whatever content we have from Symposium for young people in our community after the project ends (through councils and Part of Things website, social media etc).  We also want to keep talking with all of the young people involved in Symposium (Instigators & workshop participants) about other projects and things they want to do – Symposium is a way to bring together a cohort of young people who want to do more!

Expected outputs:

  • Digital knowledge bank of 5 workshops/learning resources created by young people for young people
  • 9 taster workshops in satellite locations for 45 -90 young people
  • Festival of 15 x 1 hour workshops led by young people for young people, with an estimated workshop attendance of 75-150 people
  • 15 young presenters finish project with professional headshots and an application ready bio
  • Over $20,000 of earned income into the hands of Riverland young people aged 18-26
  • Over 50 hours of dedicated mentor time invested into Riverland young people aged 18-26

Symposium is a project of Part of Things, jointly delivered with the Berri Barmera Council and Barmera Central and supported by District Council of Loxton Waikerie and Renmark Paringa Council. This project has received funding from the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants Program, and the Department of Human Services Youth-led COVID-19 Recovery Grants and administered by the Local Government Association of South Australia. Views and findings associated with this project are expressed independently and do not necessarily represent the views of Berri Barmera Council, Renmark Paringa Council, District Council of Loxton Waikerie, FRRR, ABC, the Government of South Australia or the Local Government Association of South Australia.

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