Creative career opens CQUni opportunities for talented Ciolla

05 July 2021

She's passionate about telling Indigenous stories' and working in creative media has put Djabugay and Kuku Yalandji woman Ciolla Riley on a path to study opportunities too.

From Kuranda in Far North Queensland's rainforests' the talented 24-year-old works with not-for-profit storytellers Desert Pea Media' as a songwriting mentor and trainee.

An award-winning rapper with her hip-hop collective KDA Crew' Ciolla's latest project involved getting in front of the camera' to tell the story of Indigenous pathways and people at CQUniversity.

Produced by Desert Pea Media with CQUniversity's Indigenous Student Engagement Team' the Walking in Our Ancestor's Footsteps project has been launched as part of NAIDOC Week 2021 (4 July - 11 July).

In the video' Ciolla meets Cairns-based Indigenous alumni Nareeta Davis and Ray Rosendale' and students Majella Filewood and Aunty Kootchie' and learns about their study journeys.

Participating in the video helped Ciolla realise the opportunities available to her' too.

"The project really opened up my eyes' because before that I didn't believe in university' I thought it was a waste to spend all that time studying'"

she said.

"Hearing the different yarns from different people' I've really been thinking on that' and seen what's possible – and how always learning and sharing knowledges is such a big thing for our people."

Watch Walking in Our Ancestors' Footsteps:

Through her music and work with Desert Pea Media' Ciolla is determined to build a career in telling Indigenous stories.

She's discussed pathway options with CQUniversity's Indigenous Student Engagement team' including the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program' a free enabling course that provides a direct pathway into CQUni degrees.

CQUniversity also offers a Bachelor of Digital Media' available online and on campus in Brisbane' Bundaberg' Cairns' Mackay and Rockhampton.

In the meantime' Ciolla's determined to learn as much as she can with Desert Pea Media' which has supported storytelling in Indigenous communities for nearly two decades.

"It's incredible' I'm discovering so much about media' and I'm also ready to step into the role of facilitator'"

she said.

"That means going out and producing a community song as a songwriter for the project' it's so powerful and the young people just love it."

Last year' Ciolla's KDA Crew won Community Clip of the Year in the National Indigenous Music Awards for their song and video 'Djabuganydji Bama'' produced by Desert Pea Media.