Exploring leadership through provocation, discussion & creative practice
First Nations Cultural Summit and Creation Lab
Melbourne, 8-12 May 2017

Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin, in the Woi Worrung/Boon Wurrung languages of the Kulin nation, means “we are country”. It symbolises the strong bonds of First Nations cultural and creative practice to country, culture and community. 

Over 100 First Nations cultural and creative leaders from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, USA, Guam, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Wales and Scotland came together on the lands of the Kulin Nation at Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin Cultural Summit and Creation Lab during YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival

Over three days, delegates took up the challenge to explore and define what a collective cultural future looks like for First Nations, and the leadership strategies that are needed. The position that only First Nations can define their futures was supported within the Summit through a range of provocations, cultural think thanks and futures statements. 

The Summit opened with Welcome to Country by Boonwurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs and responses from international delegations, followed by a spoken word performance from David Leha (Radical Son), a powerful provocation by Shaun Angeles of the Strehlow Research Centre and a dance keynote from Carly Sheppard.  Delegates engaged in two days of intensive cultural think tanks with global alliance, connection and youth engagement arising as key themes. On the final day of the Summit futures statements were delivered by Leandro Carvalho, The Secretary of State for Culture, Mato Grosso, Brazil; Lydia Miller, Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts; Jilda Andrews of the National Museum of Australia; and Taungurung Elder Uncle Larry Walsh. 

The group will continue the momentum harnessed at Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin Cultural Summit from a range of individual, group and collective actions to progress the actions arising from the Summit over the coming weeks, with another summit suggested by the group for 2019. We look forward to these outcomes, which will deliver a solid foundation for the future with a distinctive First Nations collective voice.

The five-day creation lab culminated with the 20 selected participants showcasing their collaborations in development to an invited audience at Testing Grounds, Southbank. The delegates explored their practice in a collaborative environment, challenging the methodologies of western dramaturgy. Led by ACCELERATE alumni Rita Pryce and Carly Sheppard, the participants took over the Testing Grounds space and provided an intimate and powerful showcase including storytelling, dance, installation and song. 

Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin was presented by ACCELERATE alumni, and proudly supported by the British Council and the Australia Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Create NSW and the City of Melbourne

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