The purpose is to review the formation, event management, performance development and consumption of South East Australia’s inaugural 2018 Giiyong Festival with emphasis on the sociocultural imaginary and political positionings of its shared theatre of arts.
A trialogue between a musicologist, festival director and Indigenous stakeholder accrues qualitative ethnographic findings for discussion and analysis of the organic growth and productive functioning of the festival.
As an unprecedented moment of large-scale unity between First and non-First Nations Peoples in South East Australia, Giiyong Festival elevated the value of Indigenous business, culture and society in the regional marketplace. The performing arts, coupled with linguistic and visual idioms, worked to invigorate the Yuin cultural landscape.
Additional research was curtailed as COVID-19 shutdowns forced the cancellation of Giiyong Festival (2020). Opportunities for regional Indigenous arts to subsist as a source for live cultural expression are scoped.
Music and dance are renewable cultural resources, and when performed live within festival contexts they work to sustain Indigenous identities. When aligned with Indigenous knowledge and languages, they impart central agency to First Nations Peoples in Australia.
The marketing of First Nations arts contributes broadly to high political stakes surrounding the overdue Constitutional Recognition of Australia's Indigenous Peoples.
The inclusive voices of a festival director and Indigenous manager augment a scholarly study of SE Australia's first large Aboriginal cultural festival that supplements pre-existing findings on Northern Australian festivals.
The authors gratefully acknowledge useful direction provided by editors Chris Anderton and Sergio Pisfil and our anonymous referees. Many thanks to Elder Uncle Ossie Cruse of the Yuin-Monaro Nation, Executive Director Andrew Gray of South East Arts, and Dr. Aline Scott-Maxwell of Monash University for reading over our manuscript. The authors are also indebted to Screen Industry Development Officer Kate Howarth of South East Arts for key information and statistics, and to David Rogers for photography.
Ryan, R., Williams, J. and Simpson, A. (2021), "
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited