Whole of Community Engagement Initiative Blog

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Posted on 14 September, 2016

Charles Darwin University engaging at Garma Festival

Charles Darwin University engaging at Garma Festival

Each year the Yothu Yindi Foundation organises Garma Festival in the remote community of Gulkala in East Arnhem Land. CDU has a long tradition of being involved in the Garma Festival, and 2016 was no exception. This year the WCE team, alongside key executives from CDU, participated in various forums and activities during Garma. It is envisaged this will help to realise the vision of a Bush University for the Yolngu people of this region.

WCE show cased two posters during the Garma Festival. These posters were displayed at the CDU exhibition booth and included the Yambirrpa poster that depicts the partnership between CDU WCE team and the Yambirrpa Schools Council; and the Turtle Pathways poster that depicts steps towards achieving higher education. Feedback about the posters was very positive for application in both higher education and VET domains. The Yambirrpa metaphor has since been further developed to demonstrate the different tides in achieving the community education vision and actions under the Yambirrpa Service Agreement.

Also as part of WCE activities at the Garma Festival CDU exhibition booth, WCE staff encouraged students to draw their dream of what they want to do when they leave school. These pictures were drawn on calico fabric as a permanent and historic record of the many dreams captured through this process. Some of the dreams are displayed below.

Charles Darwin University engaging at Garma Festival

In addition to the WCE contributions, the CDU Vice Chancellor, Professor Simon Maddocks invited members of the university’s executive team and other key stakeholders to experience Garma Festival (many for the first time). This provided an opportunity to identify ways that CDU can be more actively involved in the festival program in years to come. The Garma Festival was a busy and exhausting time, but also provided a culturally rich experience for all involved. 

Written by Bronwyn Rossingh, Yalmay Yunupingu, Djuwalpi Marika and James Smith

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