Art and Activism and Civil Rights

February 04, 2017
Robert Campbell Jnr, Charlie Perkins, 1986, University of Sydney Union collection. © the artist’s estate, courtesy the artist’s estate and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photograph: © Michael Myers 2010.

Join me, Jane Raffan, on Monday 6 February for a program devoted to civil rights.

I’ll be interviewing Matt Poll, Sydney University’s Indigenous Heritage curator about the Freedom Rides of 1965, and the work of a group of artists produced in response for an exhibition titled, ‘Freedom Riders: Art and activism 1960s to now’.

Inspired by the ‘freedom rides’ into the segregated southern states of the USA in the 1960s, the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride took a busload of Sydney University students into regional NSW to expose Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal people.

The Australian Freedom Ride was an important part of the broader movement for civil rights and helped create momentum for changes to Australia’s policies regarding Indigenous Australians and Indigenous rights, including the landmark 1967 referendum.

The Australian Government is still considering options for constitutional recognition of our first peoples. Proposed changes to the constitution will be subject to a national referendum. In-depth information on the process, including the opportunity to have your say, can be found here:

Additional media on the Freedom Rides

Rights & Aborignal Activism activism Timeline

Exhibition Catalogue – Freedom Riders: Art & Actvisim, 1960s to now

The program’s music  will be drawn from the wealth of material produced during the American civil rights movement, and more recently, Aboriginal Australia’s songs of freedom.

I look forward to your company.


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