Storytelling in a changing climate: Indigenous art and tourism on the Great Barrier Reef

The climate crisis is one of the greatest disasters we may ever witness. In the face of such enormous challenges, what is the place for creativity and storytelling?

In this episode, guest producer Nicole Hutton takes us to the Great Barrier Reef to hear how reef coast Traditional Owners are using tourism, art and storytelling as a proactive tool to open conversations around climate change.

Nicole takes us out on the reef with Indigenous tour operator, Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel, to speak with Dustin Maloney about sharing stories from the reef and how Traditional Owners being in control of tourism happening on their own country is a critical step towards climate justice for people on the frontlines of climate change.

She visits the Hope Vale Arts and Cultural Centre where artist and Dingaal clan Elder, Gertrude Deeral, shares some of the ways elders in the Hope Vale community have utilised art and storytelling as a way of passing down complex layers of knowledge about their country, ecosystem and culture.

We also look at some of the tensions between tourism and conservation and hear from Jiritju Fourmile, a Yindiji man from Gimuy, Cairns, about coral bleaching, the cultural significance of the reef and the importance of storytelling and tourism in generating a wider understanding of the need for its protection.


  • Dustin Maloney, Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
  • Gertrude Deeral, Artist, Elder from the Dingaal clan and Traditional Owner of the country around Lizard Island
  • Jiritju Fourmile, Traditional Owner and climate activist

Production Credits:

Executive Producer: Jess O’Callaghan

Producer: Nicole Hutton

Edited and Mixed by: Tiffany Dimmack

How to Listen

You can find Creative Responders on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favourite podcast app. You can also listen to all of our episodes right here on our website and access transcripts and resources related to each episode.

Share this podcast on

Case study library

Would you like to hear about more arts-based programs supporting and strengthening communities? Our case study library features a range of projects that harness the power of the arts to enhance all stages of disaster planning.