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by Athésia AhTeaseYa
posted 04/05/2021

Lunchtime Conversation Series with First Nations Innovators


The Australian Museum’s (AM) program of illuminating talks, The Lunchtime Conversation Series returns in 2021 to showcase the stories and ground-breaking work of First Nations leaders across political, environmental and cultural fields.

The Lunchtime Conversation Series features six compelling sessions on Tuesdays throughout May and June, to align with the Australian Museum’s new First Nations truth-telling exhibition Unsettled, opening in May. Leading academics, activists, and creatives will delve into the legacies of some of Australia’s most influential First Nations trailblazers – from Eddie Mabo, to Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and many more.

Special guest panellists include: Indigenous systems ecologist Chels Marshall; Australia’s first Indigenous Senior Counsel Tony McAvoy; NITV’s Yokayi Footy presenter Bianca Hunt; Chair of Aboriginal History at the University of Newcastle Professor John Maynard; playwright and former Director of Sydney Festival  Wesley Enoch; Australian filmmaker and arts executive Rhoda Roberts AO; and storytelling innovator Dr Jason DeSantolo.

Distinguished Professor and AM Trustee, Larissa Behrendt AO, a Gamillaroi /Eualeyai woman, will facilitate some of the talks and a selection of these will be recorded by ABC Radio and broadcast on Behrendt’s Indigenous arts, culture, and politics program, Speaking Out.

Australian Museum Director & CEO, Kim McKay AO, said that this year’s Lunchtime Conversation Series is the latest step in the AM’s mission to be a strong advocate for First Nations’ cultures.

“These are important conversations that need to be had, and the Museum is proud to present them as one of many First Nations-led events at the Australian Museum as we prepare to open the Unsettled exhibition in May. The Lunchtime Conversation series is an opportunity to hear directly from First Nations scholars, knowledge keepers and artists about contemporary issues and projects. I hope you’ll join us for the full season of powerful talks to be inspired by these First Nations innovators and visionaries, as it is a great opportunity to expand our understanding and learn from each other,” McKay said.

AM Curator, First Nations, Dr Mariko Smith, a Yuin woman with Japanese heritage, said the series will shine a spotlight on First Nations resilience and ingenuity as demonstrated through Indigenous knowledge systems.

“Indigenous knowledge systems are well established and form an important part of self-determination. We will hear from First Nations knowledge-holders who are widely respected for their expertise, wisdom and leadership and can offer deep knowledge and insight into contemporary issues which is an essential step towards building a better shared future,” Dr Smith said.

The talks will dive deep on the stories, achievements, and legacies of First Nations leaders across various sectors. Through these forums, people can reflect and be inspired to follow in the footsteps of these incredible game-changers.

The full Lunchtime Conversation Series line-up features six powerful talks across a variety of topics:

Country: Ecological Knowledge Systems and Mabo’s Legacy – Ecologist Chels Marshall and facilitator Dr Mariko Smith, curator of the Unsettled exhibition, discuss how deep cultural knowledge not only overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius in Eddie Mabo’s landmark case, but may have helped reverse the damaging effects of 200 years of Eurocentric land and sea management practice into the future | Tuesday, 18 May at 12:30pm
Sport: Levelling the Playing Field – Join NITV’s Bianca Hunt and Professor John Maynard as they talk opportunities, barriers and responsibilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sports people, past and present | Tuesday, 25 May at 12:30pm
Politics and Activism: The Fight for Ongoing Constitutional Reform – To celebrate Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), join Tony McAvoy SC and Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO as they discuss the legacy of activist and educator, Dr Evelyn Scott, and the need for ongoing constitutional reform | Tuesday, 1 June at 12:30pm
Literature: United We Win – Art leaders Wesley Enoch and Rhoda Roberts AO reflect on the legacy of writer, activist, artist, and educator, Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), the first Aboriginal poet to be published in Australia. Join Enoch and Roberts as they share memories of Noonuccal and discuss how arts and activism are inseparable. | Tuesday, 8 June at 12:30pm
Art: Telling Stories by Hand – Recognised as one of the world’s greatest painters, Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s work was inherently tied to a deep, layered understanding and interpretation of her Country’s stories, and was the culmination of a lifetime of making art as ceremony. If an inherent relationship to place is the basis of First Nations visual tradition, what does it mean for contemporary First Nations art practitioners? How do urban-based Indigenous artists – and those whose cultures have been lost to them – maintain links with their heritage and create ceremony through their work? | Tuesday, 15 June at 12:30pm
Innovation: Old and New Ways – An inventor of machines, author of ethnographic and literary work, and lecturer on religion and philosophy, David Unaipon was an innovator who existed within, between, and as a result of both Western and First Nations knowledge. Join Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO and Dr Jason DeSantolo, as they consider how today’s innovators are looking to traditional understandings of natural, social, and spiritual worlds to find solutions for contemporary issues – and to view Unaipon’s significant accomplishments from another perspective | Tuesday, 22 June at 12:30pm


What: Lunchtime Conversation Series 2021
When: 18 May, 25 May, 1 June, 8 June, 15 June, 22 June at 12:30pm
Where: Australian Museum Theatre, Australian Museum, 1 William St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

For more information and to book tickets, visit:

*AM Members attending a Lunchtime Conversation are invited to the Members Lounge on the day, to enjoy light complimentary afternoon tea at 1:30-2:30pm.

Facebook: @australianmuseum
Instagram: @australianmuseum
Twitter: @austmus

About the Australian Museum
The Australian Museum (AM) was founded in 1827 and is the nation’s first museum. It is internationally recognised as a natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. The AM’s mission is to ignite wonder, inspire debate and drive change. The AM’s vision is to be a leading voice for the richness of life, the Earth and culture in Australia and the Pacific. The AM commits to transforming the conversation around climate change, the environment and wildlife conservation; to being a strong advocate for First Nations cultures; and to continuing to develop world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs. With more than 21.9 million objects and specimens and the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM is not only a dynamic source of reliable scientific information on some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing our region, but also an important site of cultural exchange and learning.

SOURCE: originalspin.com.au


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