The British Council today announced a First Nations forum produced and presented by alumni of the British Council and Australia Council for the Arts’ annual ACCELERATE leadership and development programme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Yirama Yangga-na (meaning “spirit singing”) is a three-day creative laboratory and cultural event that will be held at the University of Wollongong from Tuesday 19 – Thursday 21 July, connecting Australian indigenous creatives with First Nations delegates from Taiwan, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Canada and New Zealand.
Yirama Yangga-na will spark new creative work and build a platform for leaders to share and develop their knowledge. A second forum is planned in 2017 to deepen the relationships forged between the ACCELERATE alumni and International First Nations leaders.
ACCELERATE alumni and Creative Producers, Marilyn Miller and Kyle Morrison said: “The forum series seeks to create an International First Nations Cultural Leadership cohort, who will work together to further the development of a body of knowledge around cultural leadership and instigate professional development activities for First Nations arts leaders.
“Arts and creative work in the languages and traditions of First Nations people are about cultural survival and revival. Australia’s experience in fostering and presenting this work within contemporary creative industries is deep, and willingly shared with other First Nations countries to foster further international collaboration and growth.
“Yirama Yangga-na provides a forum where Australian Indigenous arts leaders can share and interrogate this knowledge with other cultural leaders facing similar issues of working across cultural barriers, dealing with cultural protocols and taboos at the same time as entering and succeeding in high profile international art markets,” added Marilyn Miller and Kyle Morrison.
Yirama Yangga-na has been made possible thanks to extended three-year funding announced by the Australia Council for the Arts in 2014. The Australia Council has been a founding partner of the ACCELERATE Indigenous leadership programme since its inception in 2009. The extended funding is also creating further opportunities for ACCELERATE alumni to build artistic collaboration with the UK and has allowed for increased mentoring and leadership training for ACCELERATE participants.
The keynote speaker at the inaugural Yirama Yangga-na will be Peter White, a Gamilaroi Murri man from north-west NSW Chair of Regional Arts NSW and a Director of Regional Arts Australia. Other speakers include choreographer Rita Pryce and architect Kevin O’Brien.
Participants in the forum are classified as Leaders, Listeners and Speakers
- Leaders are ACCELERATE Alumni First Nations creatives joined by First Nations international delegates from Taiwan, Fiji, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
- Listeners are non-ACCELERATE Alumni and Non-First Nations participants who will primarily learn and observe. Attending as a ‘Listener’ offers the unique opportunity and privilege for non-First Nations people to be present within a First Nations space.
- Speakers are ACCELERATE Alumni that will be adding an extra layer to the event by being Leaders, Speakers, and participants as well as providing provocations for the Lab Sessions. Speakers include Rita Pryce, Kevin O’Brien and Keynote Speaker Peter White.
Yirama Yangga-na is presented by the British Council in conjunction with the Australia Council for the Arts, with additional support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the University of Wollongong.