Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2018

What Privilege Panel: Notice, disrupt + reframe supremacy thinking

Speakers: Carl Kuddell, Clyde Rigney Jnr, Veronica Pardo


Find the audio recording of our AFOI panel talk here:

We had a full house  attend both panel and workshop sessions on Sat July 14th 2018 at Nexus Arts as part of AFOI 2018.

We are all players in a complex, global game of power and privilege. We all know the game. The rules are rigged. In the urgency to collectively imagine a better future together, what ideas, tools and visions will we bring? How can we change if we use the same thinking that got us stuck in the first place?
This panel explores how we can share our values, listen to others and equitably create a world we all want to live in.

What Privilege? challenges us to notice, disrupt and reframe our values, highlighting how power and privilege are unavoidable forces impacting our negotiations. Every day we all encounter and perpetuate colonising mindsets and culturally sanctioned oppressive values. It takes practice, humility and courage to recognise how we gain benefits at the expense of others and how we can creatively change our power dynamics, to break the silence and build intersectional solidarity. Join us for three 10min presentations, hear from Change Media and two of their national partners why and how they are using What Privilege?, and find out how to use these tools in your life, workplace and practice.

Change Media’s founders Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell discuss how supremacy thinking affects our ability to take creative risks, sharing some of their ‘glorious failures’ and provocative mischief, outcomes from Jen’s Australia Council Fellowship and decades of troublemaking across media and the arts.  

Ngarrindjeri man and former CEO of the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, Clyde Rigney Jnr used What Privilege to consider ‘who is coming to visit’ during his recent Treaty negotiations with government. How can we engage respectfully with Ngarrindjeri culture and values? How do we come to terms?

Arts Access Victoria’s executive director, Veronica Pardo uses What Privilege to lead critical conversations across arts and health sectors to actively subvert exclusionary employment and engagement in the arts and explore privilege, to acknowledge we don't all have equal access to creative agency.


What Privilege Game Workshop
Facilitated by Jen Lyons-Reid, Carl Kuddell and Marshall Cowan


WhatPrivilege_Just_Natural_Jen_LyonsReid_and_Carl Kuddell_2018.jpeg

What Privilege? games use question-thinking and play, based on 50 cheeky power character cards and hilarious supremacy scenarios, to check our privileged mindsets. This is a transformative process – beyond guilt and blame, to collectively develop negotiation skills to notice, disrupt and reframe our shared terms of engagement.


What Privilege? games highlight how we all play competitive games on a daily basis, perpetuating colonising mindsets and structural violence. This workshop uses game-play to create a fun space to safely take risks together, supercharge our learned and deeply ingrained behaviours and notice how we benefit from complex, privileged assumptions. Around 70 people across 6 tables joined us for an hour of hilarious game-play to check our privileges.


Change Media’s founders Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell offered a glimpse into the new What Privilege card games, based on a decade of research and development across critical literacy, harm and solidarity, in collaboration with a range of national partner organisations.


Carl Kuddell introduced 15min of What Privilege Tarot to lead critical conversations across sectors. Players are invited to consider their work practice and lifestyles through the lens of colonising character cards. Who comes to visit - in your past, presence and future?


Change Media were joined by Fire Hazard Games Australia’s Marshall Cowan to run a new 30min group dynamic game ‘My Team is Better Than Yours’, using a new set of 50 Mission cards. UnHealthy competition anyone?


This initiative has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the South Australian Government through Arts SA.

Photos: Carl Kuddell and Cathy Olsson

Mars looks nice...

Within this strand of What Priviliege we are looking at digital futures:

Who owns our imagination?


What futures, fears and opportunities are arising in times of near total commodification in the burgeoning empire of illusion?

We are working with Feral Arts and Darwin Community Arts on this project, with some crossover with our public art game development with Act Now Theatre and Fire Hazard Australia.

In November 2017 we worked with Feral Arts developing and scrutinizing ideas for Arts Front's digital futures campaigns.

We came up with a few funky concepts, a trailer for a web-based mini-series and a meme campaign concept.

Now we are working towards a presentation for ANAT's Digital Futures symposium.

Unlearn Supremacy

We are working with Fire Hazard Australia, Act Now Theatre and Nexus Arts to develop a playable pubic intervention art game based on our What Privilege model.

The first development stage included a series of intenisve development labs and participatory game workshops with participants from diverse backgrounds.

We are now working with Fire Hazard to further develop the game world and map out the task, roles and interventions based on our notice, disrupt and reframe methodolgy.

We also teamed up with Wild Light Projects to explore multimedia and video options for the work and support her to use the cards and What Privilege model as part of her CACD outreach.



The Unity of Oppression

Change Media and Nexus Arts, in collaboration with the Regional Gallery of Murray Bridge, present this experimental art exhibition as part of its national What Privilege? Initiative. Here is a sneak preview slideshow from the opening at Nexus Arts on April 5th:.

Update: Missed out? The Unity of Oppression will be on tour at the Regional Art Gallery Murray Bridge June 15 - July 22 2018.

 And here is the slide show from the launch at Nexus Arts in April 2018:

What Privilege? - The unity of oppression’ explores what unites and divides us: We share a finite planet, what futures will we forge from the infinity of darkness? Each artist took up the challenge to respond to  What Privilege? and find creative responses to the Unity of Oppression...


Playing with the duality of light and dark, using acrylics, sculpture and multi-media, five artists from culturally diverse backgrounds create a journey into the complexities of power, privilege and oppression - inviting you to peel away hidden layers and join them on a creative crime scene investigation of our shared humanity.

The Unity of Oppression works are co-led with interdisciplinary Ngarrindjeri-Chinese artist Damien Shen [painting, mixed media] and feature emerging artists Emilijia Kasumovic [drawing, mixed media] and Jelena Vujnovic [drawing], alongside work from Jen Lyons-Reid [line art, poetry, mixed media, sculpture] and Carl Kuddell [poetry, mixed media, sculpture]. 


For further information contact or 0407811733.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the South Australian Government through Arts SA, with support by Nexus Arts and the Regional Gallery Murray Bridge.



 List of Works for ‘What Privilege? - The unity of oppression’:


Damien Shen:

A message from God to the Blackfellow’, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 4 x 160x100cm


Emilija Kasumovic:

Interbeing’, 2017, mixed media on tulle, 100x70cm

Messenger from inner space’, 2018, mixed media on tulle, 80x150cm


Jelena Vujnovic:

'A person who returns’, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 5mx2m


Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell:

The Handshake’, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 294cmx207m

Insert Face Here’, 2003/ 2018, sculpture, acrylic on wood, 1.8mx2mx1m

‘What Privilege?’, 2017, 50 printed character cards



Artists Statements:

Damien Shen: ‘A message from God to the Blackfellow’

A message from God to the Blackfellow, is an ongoing significant body of work by Ngarrindjeri-Chinese artist Damien Shen. In continuing his engagement with archives and museums, Shen draws on the encounters between Reverend George Taplin and the Ngarrindjeri people, to establish a thematic framework for this series. These encounters are drawn from Taplin’s diaries and give great detail on his engagement with Ngarrindjeri. Shen was particularly drawn to Taplin’s entry about a discussion with a ‘native’ on April the 7th, 1859.


“I then endeavoured to explain to him that I had a message from God to the Blackfellows, and what it was, and asked him to tell the others about it. He seemed to understand me but was evidently surprised. It is my impression at present that more will be done by individualising the natives than by teaching them collectively. I shall see how this idea is confirmed or otherwise bye-and-bye.”[1]


For these new works, Shen’s response to the righteous and paternalistic views of the times, which position his ancestors as inferior black subjects, takes the form of a series of large digital portraits, depicting his Ngarrindjeri elders, whom were photographed by Norman TIndal at Raukkan in South Australia. These mixed media works depict his family, displayed in a monochromatic and sombre palette.


A stark background frame their figures, a visual cue to the anthropological methods utilised in ‘documenting’ the Ngarrindjeri community. Whiteness didn’t just surround each of his forebears, but pervaded into their very being. They are submerged underneath a sheath of pale rhythmic dotting, ghosted in the virtues of whiteness while their selfhood was simultaneously erased by ‘well-meaning’ messengers of God, in state-sanctioned, publically funded assimilation machines.



Damien Shen is represented by MARS Gallery (Melbourne)

[1] Reverend George Taplin, The Journals of the Reverend George Taplin, Missionary to the Ngarrindjeri People of the Lower Murray, Lakes and the Coorong,1859 – 1879, 7 April 1859,


Emilija Kasumovic: ‘Interbeings

 “The head is the universe, it’s where everything happens. It’s where thoughts happen. Its shape, an oval, like an egg, is symbolic to suggest infinity.” David Altmejd, artist


Using painting and drawing on layers of sheer fabric, Emilija explores the mind’s ability to stretch beyond what we are conditioned to believe about our privileged state and position in the society.


The need for violence, war and division are all distorted search by us for pleasure and happiness, and therefore, generated by the egoistic principle and our identification with ‘form’.  Our need for possession and dominance is how ego feeds and continually generates its power. Once we realize that our true self is not conditioned by form, or anything we can name, categorize and identify with, we dissolve into boundlessness.

‘Unless we get rid of our ego, there is no peace either for ourselves or for the others.”



Jelena Vujnovic: 'A person who returns

Within this work I invite the audience to explore the fragmented nature of the remembered landscapes in my mind. I have used the forms of the Yugoslav monuments that sit in stark contrast to their organic landscapes. Monuments that stand grand and strong to commemorate lives affected and lost in times of war. The works invite the audience to engage, without offering the opportunity to be deciphered entirely.


We all have an endless layering of memories from experiences in different environments, while simultaneously, the environments are influenced by events that unfold in them. My travels back to Serbia and Croatia are a catalyst for new engagement with my old homes and the feedback between memory and environment continues, with each leaving a mark on the other.



My upbringing, exile and migrations are unique to me even though they are a common story. What we all share is the unique nature of experience, what divides us is the inability to fully understand each other’s experiences. To develop tolerance, I believe we need to let go of the need to define each other in absolutes and focus instead on acceptance. Acceptance gives way to respect, and therefore tolerance will grow.



Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell:

What Privilege? cards,The Handshake’ and ’Insert Face Here

We are exploring how to depict the messy, entangled interdependence and connectivity of power and privilege to renegotiate and reinvent our shared humanity.


50 What Privilege? cards, 2017

The satirical cards depict inevitable power and privileged behaviors we have identified over 20 years of co-creative practice. They are the provocation for our 2017-18 national project, ‘Creating Together – what can possibly go wrong?’ We invite audiences and collaborators to notice, disrupt and reframe colonizing mindsets through a series of Power-Tarot and role-play games.


‘The Handshake’, work-in-progress, 2018.

The laughable clowns of power shake hands, clothed in the emperor’s old quotes, a deal ritualized. The corporate wallpaper backdrop displays a thousand cartoons, an iconographic map of supremacy beliefs and oppressive slogans encoded in the fabric of culture. These colonizing mindsets are interconnected and simultaneously absurd and inevitable. The rules are rigged. Everyone is a player. We all know the game. In a global confluence of moral and metaphysical bankruptcy, what are we going to do about it? Pick a card, any card.


We focus on the wall as a negotiated space, using dialectical satire, street-art murals and branding to mirror the absurd wallpaper commodification of art. We believe Enlightenment philosophy is a colonial frame we are all acculturated into - class power, sexism, racism, ableism, capitalism… are all narratives that privilege selected people, who benefit from the oppression of the targeted. These stories are so deeply woven into our daily lives as natural, and/or historic, it can be confronting to explore our personal involvement, easier to blame it on a few bullies, ‘it’s not me’. Yet every human interaction is a negotiation, defining how we have control in our lives. We use cartoons as a playful tool to explore how we maintain power through ignorance.


‘Insert Face Here’, 2003/ 2018

All the interactivity of a funfair selfie, the foldout scene from the Woomera Detention Centre jailbreak in 2002 offers the viewer the opportunity to get into the picture. Will you be immortalized as the detainee or the enforcer, with the power to maintain the status quo? There were 21 million people seeking refuge worldwide 15 years ago, now there are 60 million. Australia detains thousands overseas, to protect ‘our’ borders.


In a Kafkaesque, out of sight, out of mind, bureaucratic brutality, people are destroyed to maintain the delusion of ‘our way of life’. We think the work, first shown at SALA 2003, remains disturbingly relevant 15 years later. Selfies welcome.



Artist Bios

Damien Shen:

Damien Shen is a South Australian man of Ngarrindjeri (Aboriginal) and Chinese descent. As an artist he draws on both of these powerful cultural influences to create works of intense personal meaning. In using his artistic talent to share his story he aims to open the eyes of viewers to new ways of seeing Australian identity and Aboriginal art.


Emilijia Kasumovic:

Emilija Kasumovic is Serbian born, living in Adelaide. Her work is concerned with human condition and what defines us as human beings beyond our biological bodies.



Jelena Vujnovic:

Fascinated by natural and artificial structures, Jelena Vujnovic sees the building blocks of our bodies and our urban environment as the scaffolding on which we construct our lives. Focused on an uninterrupted and organic development of her work, she is constantly playing and experimenting with new materials and forms.



Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell:

Artistic director and graphic artist, Jen Lyons-Reid, and creative producer and writer, Carl Kuddell, are Tallstoreez Productionz co-founders and award-winning multidisciplinary artists and filmmakers. Since 2002 they have explored satire across art forms, from poetry, cartoons, sculptures, live art, to documentaries and several TV series. They run Change Media as a national arts initiative, focusing on critical literacy through arts and media. They have delivered hundreds of workshops and performances with thousands of participants across Australia. Their strategic advisory work includes investigations into value, equity and harm in socially engaged arts, as part of an ARC Linkage partnership with VCA in 2013-14 and Jen’s 2-year Australia Council Fellowship 2015-16.


Photos by Wild Light Projects - thanks Amanda for your amazing support.

©2018 Tallstoreez Productionz Pty Ltd and Change Media




Escape from Cloud 9

Jen Lyons-Reid Australia Council CACD Fellowship - exploring narratives and digital workflows

Jen collaborated with Francesca Da Rimini and Carl Kuddell on this cartoon work, as a contribution to the Affliated Text's exhibition 'Selfie: Image Narrative Opiate', curated by Bronia Iwanczak and Lynne Barwick.


Together we developed the concept and text work, and Jennifer produced the graphic art and lettering.

The exhibition took place between Sep 9th 2015 and Oct 16th 2015, at Cross Art Books, at 33 Rosluyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney.


When does the Light turn on?

Light in Winter 2013: When does the light turn on?

30-day screening of When does the light turn on? at Melbourne's Federation Square.

30-day screening of When does the light turn on? at Melbourne's Federation Square.

What is your experience of racism?

Change Media explored a concept to disrupt social beliefs about the movement of people and racism, titled, 'The Perfect Refugee', Shakespeare in a Time of Crisis'. We worked in collaboration with artists from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In 2012 we ran an intensive, creative lab with artists from a refugee background and the Bell Shakespeare Company.

The final creative outcome was a large scale public art projection hosted by FedSquare, and a series of web-based interventions.

We worked with a team of artists from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre to create a 30min video installation for Melbourne’s Federation Square. The project includes a behind the scenes documentary and a series of 50 online video provocations for the Light in Winter 2013.

Click here to watch 41 artistic and poetic responses to the question 'When did the light turn on for you?' from our collaborating community members.

And below is a trailer we made for Light In Winter, in partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre media team.

Reframing Culture RAA 2012

Welcome to Country then what?

Reframing Culture at Kumuwuki Regional Arts Australia 2012

The Change Media team traveled to Goolwa for the 2012 ‘Kumuwuki/ Big Wave’ Regional Arts Australia conference to produce a series of short, collaborative documentary interventions during a four day workshop with the Ngarrindjeri Media Team.


The Kumuwuki conference was held over four days in Goolwa to showcase various presentations from artists across Australia. Change Media’s presentations focused on indigenous media literacy and the power of storytelling in a modern and increasingly digitized world. The workshops were titled ‘Surfing on Country – Surfing on Culture’ - a nod to the Kumuwuki/ Big Wave theme of the conference.

Jen, our Artistic Director, came up with the concept of using a colonial frame as a prop to reframe the way we speak about our shared colonial history;

If this is the colonial frame, what would you do with it?


Our team used this storytelling device to invite Ngarrindjeri Elders and conference participants to come up with ideas and creative visions to re-frame Australia’s colonial mindset. A great prop to get people thinking and talking, and to engage in an artistic and political discussion about how we can best re-frame the argument together, as part of a push for reconciliation…

The team received huge applause at the daily keynote screenings and lots of fabulous comments during the conference, often hollered across the streets in Goolwa – our concept of feeding work straight back into the conference was a great success, and exhausting, 3 sleepless nights, to edit a 5min film for the 9am key note each morning.

The three short films have now been combined into one 18-min documentary, ‘Reframing Culture’.