So, how was it?

Lucinda Coleman chats to Katie Chown, Remnant Dancer and Occupational Therapist, about her recent two week visit to Myanmar, exploring how she is processing her experiences on returning to her life in Perth, Australia.

This most recent visit to Myanmar by Katie was part of a final stage of occupational training for the Burmese Nurture Group Initiative (NGI) Facilitators who are seeking to care for the mental and emotional health of orphaned and abandoned children living at the Andrew Youth Development Centre (AYDC) in Yangon.  Her time was spent affirming the NGI Coordinator in her role, meeting with the Director of Myanmar Vision International (MVI) and finalising a bilingual Training Manual to help staff with ongoing training and care for the AYDC community.

Meeting Places, 2014

Remnant Dance artists enjoyed wrapping the year, exploring new meeting places with others, and each other.

Photography by Amanda Humphries and Marziya Mohammedali © Remnant Dance 2014

Nurture Group Initiative

Progress Report - Katie Chown

“We will surely get to our destination if we join hands.”  Aung San Suu Kyi

nurture group jpg

The 2014 Nurture Group Initiative is a grassroots community development project designed to enhance provision of life skills development and psychosocial support for approximately 100 children, living at the Andrew Youth Development Centre (AYDC) in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Fostering existing partnerships with a local non-government organisation, Myanmar Vision International and the Australian charity organisation, MyKids Inc., the initiative involves equipping university students and high-school graduates with skills to facilitate weekly Nurture Groups with younger children in their community.

In response to recent stakeholder feedback, Nurture Group Coordinator Nancy Shwe has been working in Perth, Western Australia alongside Occupational Therapist Katie Chown. Together they are currently preparing a second-stage development of the Nurture Group Initiative, which will commence in early 2015.  This stage will involve delivery of crucial documents, translated into Burmese language, including a complete overview of the initiative as well as a comprehensive, Facilitator Training Manual.


After travelling to Myanmar as a student to complete an AYDC Community Needs Assessment in January 2013, Katie Chown, Perth-based occupational therapist was struck by the inherent talent and potential of the children at AYDC. Katie was driven to make a programme that would nurture this within each child and enable community members to address their individual needs.

Katie returned to Myanmar in February 2014 to engage the AYDC community in a collaborative, first-stage development of the Nurture Group Initiative. During this time, Katie worked closely with Nancy Shwe to deliver introductory training to local volunteers and establish regular Nurture Groups that have been sustained by the community since April this year.

The key objectives include: homework support systems, two way communication system between residents and staff, conflict resolution strategy, life-skills checklist and a market day where the groups organise and produce a market stall showing them that they can work together to be innovative, creative problem solvers and move towards achievable goals.

Positive feedback from local stakeholders suggests that the Nurture Groups have been beneficial for the children and the greater community. AYDC Staff and Facilitators confirm that the mentor-support and learning opportunities that occur during nurture groups have led to positive developmental and behavioural outcomes for the children, particularly those with learning difficulties.

What’s next for the project?

The overall aim of the initiative is to become self-sustainable for the AYDC community. Nancy will return to Myanmar late November 2014 with the skills necessary to provide practical training that will accompany the manual as well as orientate future facilitators to the project. Katie aims to take on a supportive role in the initiative as Nancy becomes independent in her role as coordinator.


To fulfil the objectives of the Nurture Group Initiative, funds are required for the following:

  • Translation of project overview and training manual 
  • Cost of return to Myanmar for official hand-over 
  • Start-up of market stalls 

To make a donation please go to


Humphries Stopry header image 1 AUG 2014

By Amanda Humphries, August 2014

We are working together again to present work alongside the Australian Premiere of the dance film ‘Meeting Places’ in November as part of the Fremantle Festival 2014. The idea of ‘meeting places’ is the point of departure upon which to muse and play with ideas that have been born out of the heavily involved multi-layered, multi-disciplinary project in Myanmar.

I am responding this time by taking a small abstract from our collaborative project and developing it; exploring in rather than out. The work intends to look at the point of connection in isolation from all the content:  simply looking at the surfaces between things. I am reflecting upon concepts within performances: ‘Back to Front’, ‘Perspectives’ and the dance film, ‘Meeting Places’ by Remnant Dance and the children from the AYDC, on the fine paper cut out works in the River Gallery II in Yangon, in the way some Myanmar artists painted faces.

I have decided to work large and figuratively to complement the dancers and the magnitude of their energy and presence. The work I made in Myanmar was a timid place at the edge of my retina and the landscapes outside: small and quiet portals to unknown subjects.

Meeting places, dissolving lines – between, inside. Maybe resisting, creating surfaces or barriers, enclosed spaces and worlds, releasing, extending, pouring and building, embroidering slowly, delicately building in the space between, together. Disappearing, overlaying, fading, flooding, saturating, opaque. Hiding spaces, exposed spaces, rhythm, repetition, synchronization of particles, patterns forming. Together, amongst, what is missing.  Enclosed, ambiguity between inside and outside.

I think about how some sea creatures create their shells from the inside out, secreting a material that gradually calcifies around itself. Humans create it from the outside in, a timber hut, a burrowed cave, a smile.

The first point of entry into my work is the processes used, and sometimes the nature of the materials is the only thing I am sure of in making art work.  I am scared of context and form, almost like a commitment creates a barrier, or sureness. I am never sure, but always compelled, if that makes sense. I also like empty spaces, compositions become heavy and light, or invisible or loud, or the relationship between contrary elements. Working with dancers, the body is a second point of entry to my works. For me the body is a common reference point through which it is possible to engage the viewer more directly.It allows a platform to explore the meeting place more directly.

Watching dancers, is it possible that they have kind of escaped representation, dissolved the line between concept and experience? They seem to embody what they represent in the immediacy of work being performed. It is not detached, distant. In art sometimes space helps to elude that barrier between audience and piece. Spatial arrangements, installations, atmosphere to emulate something, painting becomes compressed - that layer of distance and stillness. I can only illustrate what in dance can be created.

I am not so sure where I fit personally.  Naturally I gravitate toward the inside of something hiding and looking out; reveling in the infinite space within a shell, the room for cosmos when there is no context, no form. I love this space.  Then there is something sort of strangely intimate about the cosmos, of infinite space, it is an interconnection of everything, formless. So maybe there is potential to be contrary inside a shell, to connect by going in to go out. 

Humphries Story Image - Nagar Factory AUG 2014 


Above: Remnant Dancers and children on set filming ‘Meeting Places’ at the Nagar Glass Factory in Yangon Myanmar

Top(L-R):1. Amanda stitching backdrop at River Gallery Yangon; 2. Paper cut out composition work in progress (detail) 3. composition workings for a new painting (Remnant dancers Caroline, Katie and Stephanie); 4. ‘Glass Mountain 1’; 5.Katie and Esther performing at AYDC, Myanmar; 6.Process picture of making the glass chairs; 7. Glass vessel installed at AYDC previously exhibited at River Gallery II in Yangon.


World Dance Alliance Summit Conference, Angers, France

Lucinda Coleman, Katie Chown, Charity Ng attend the World Dance Alliance Summit, Angers, France; July 6-11 2014.  Charity participates in the ChoreoLab, as Katie networks and dances, and Lucinda presents an academic paper entitled ‘Conversations on the frontlines of the body’.

Luci has also presented a scholarly paper at the Liverpool Hope University ‘Arts, Peace and Conflict’ conference in Liverpool, United Kingdom.