Transmission symposium

Saturday, 21 October 2017, 12:30 pm — Saturday, 21 October 2017, 05:30 pm

Location The Lock-Up, 90 Hunter Street Newcastle

In conjunction with the exhibition Transmission and in partnership with the Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle and Newcastle Writers Festival, the Transmission Symposium will explore the ways contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are responding to the resurgence in traditional practices and their place within the contemporary cultural context.

Transmission of traditional knowledge and practices, the influence of traditional culture on contemporary artists, the rising interest in contemporary Indigenous art making in the wider community and the move to repatriate objects to their traditional owners, sit against questions of what is culturally appropriate, cultural appropriation and who has authority.

Featuring Aboriginal artists, writers, arts professionals and academics, the symposium will aim to bring awareness to and stimulate discussion around the complexity of issues that surround contemporary Indigenous art making and production.


12.30pm Registration & Tea/Coffee

1.00pm Welcome to Country 1.05pm  Smoking Ceremony

1.25pm Official Welcome

1.30pm Panel 1 What is contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art?

Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art practice is diverse, vibrant, potent and increasingly being acknowledged nationally through major exhibitions, surveys and inclusion in programming by cultural institutions. Artists are drawing on the past and present, on personal, historical, social and cultural experiences and understandings. Traditional Indigenous practices, knowledge, beliefs and connections influence artists’ practices in ways that at times are immediately recognisable but sometimes subtle and deeply personal. A panel of artists and curators explore the diversity of approaches taken by those identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and unpack public presumptions and perceptions around the question “What is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art?”

2.30pm Tea/Coffee Break

2.45pm  Panel 2 - What is culturally appropriate and who has authority?

As contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists embrace the resurgence in traditional practices and knowledge through their art-making, a complexity of issues arise around what is culturally appropriate and who has authority. Questions around cultural intellectual property and cultural knowledge custodianship sit against how and what contemporary artists communicate through their work, and how institutions approach both the presentation and repatriation of cultural objects. What are the differing perspectives? How do communities, artists, academics and institutions respond and navigate the complexities surrounding these issues? How can the broader cultural community and public gain better understanding?

3.45pm Panel 3 How are cultural revival movements strengthening cultural identity?

A growing wave of cultural revival is sweeping across the country with a renewed interest in and commitment to discovering, learning and transmitting cultural knowledge being experienced across all areas of cultural expression. From the use of traditional materials and techniques in art and craft practices, to language, dance and music being studied, recorded and presented in cultural and education institutes, public forums and on stage and screen, communities, artists and academics are embracing this resurgence. How are these cultural revival movements strengthening cultural identity what other outcomes are being felt by the individuals and communities involved?

4.45pm Yarning Circle – Wrap Up 5.15pm Symposium concludes

5.30pm – 7.30pm Stay on for the official opening of the Transmission exhibition including a new performance work by Nicole Monks.