National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Conference

Posted 18 May 16

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Conference is a biannual event that takes place in different cities across Australia. VAEAI engaged Kalinya to work on NATSIEC 2015 in Melbourne, on the land of the Kulin Nations. There were over 700 delegates and 70 presentations.

Kalinya designed and managed the cultural components of NATSIEC 2015; it was our role to ensure the event had a unique look and feel that reflected the culture of Victorian Aboriginal people.

Cultural activities included custom designed tours, such as a boat cruise with Boonwurrung Elder Aunty Caroline Briggs to hear local creation stories from the river and sea.

An Opening Ceremony concert with performances by legendary singer Archie Roach and Lou Bennett, an advocate for the revitalization of Aboriginal language through song.

A Gala Dinner with a performance by superstar Dan Sultan, music by DJ Riva Boi and a Koorie Night Market where delegates could purchase handmade souvenirs by local artists.

The plenary room had a wall of LCD screens, with custom made patterning by Aboriginal artist Dixon Patten and holding slides of Victorian landscape photography by Aboriginal photographer Lowell Hunter.

A purpose made short film signaled the commencement of each session. The film showed Robert Bamblett of One Fire Dancers applying ochre to his sons’ bodies, showing that Aboriginal education is intergeneration and ceremonial.

This focus on cultural learning extended to workshops, with delegates invited to join renowned artists Vicki Couzens and Lee Darroch to created a possum skin cloak on site.

Photo: Tyson Austin. Artists Vicki Couzens and Lee Darroch presenting VAEAI President, Geraldine Atkinson, with a possum skin cloak made on site with the delegates of NATSIEC 2015