Fusion Festival brings cultures together at SCU

Published 2 September 2016

Fusion Festival at the Lismore campus
Southern Cross University’s Fusion Festival will showcase unity in diversity through a packed program of performances from across the globe at Coffs Harbour, Lismore and the Gold Coast from Monday, September 5.

The festival, now in its 10th year, celebrates the coming together of cultures and communities, where students, staff and the community are encouraged to wear their national or cultural dress or bright clothing.

SCU Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee will officially open the festival at the Lismore campus on Monday at 10.30am in the Lismore Learning Centre, followed by the announcement of the winners of the Fusion Festival photography and poetry competition with the theme ‘family’. The works will then be displayed across all campuses throughout the week.

SCU Head of Equity and Diversity Rachel Callahan, who oversees the Fusion Festival in collaboration with SCU International, SCU Library, UniLife and the students groups Lexsa, CHSA and CoastRs, said the event not only celebrates and values cultural diversity, but also enriches students’ experiences, providing the opportunity to perform, celebrate and share their culture.

“Fusion Festival is all about cultural sharing and conversations and taking the time to understand and appreciate one another and where we come from,” Rachel said.

“We have students from more than 50 countries and each year students and staff work together to present this thriving festival – a favourite event on the SCU calendar.

“I look forward to seeing the staff and students really engaged and enjoying and sharing with one another.

“I love the colour, the sounds and the conversations that come out between different people. The vibe is always excited and happy, there’s great food and lots of sharing and generosity which creates a lovely atmosphere.

“I encourage staff, students, their families and the wider community to come and get involved.”

The Coffs Harbour campus will kick off the cultural performances on Tuesday, September 6 with a Welcome to Country, and dance performances from Cuba, Thailand, Australian Indigenous performers and African drumming at the main stage from 11am to 2pm.

Lismore will follow on Wednesday, September 7, with an African choir, the SCU Ukulele band, spoken word performances and a gypsy jazz trio. There will be international food tasting, ‘uni-tea’ tasting, dancing, music, games and activities including Henna tattoos, multi-lingual singing, Indigenous basket weaving and connective art from 11am to 2pm.

SCU’s own marine science postgraduate sweethearts Salomé González and Alejandro Tagliafico will showcase their Venezuelan culture with a Spanish flamenco Sevillana dance, which is usually danced by couples during celebrations and festivals. They will perform music by Alí Primera, one of the most popular interpreters of the Venezuelan protest music from the 1960s and their own compositions, laced with their strong background in Caribbean rhythms.

Activities will continue on the Gold Coast on Thursday, September 8, with mass yoga in the outdoor space from 11am, followed by a welcome to country and smoking ceremony, drummers and dancers from Africa, West Papua, Vietnam, Chine, Brazil, India and the Pacific Islands until 3.30pm, under the guidance of student Ojay Moka from Papua New Guinea who helped develop the festival at the Gold Coast campus.

“Last year the Pacific Islands stall was a stand-out at the Fusion Festival, with artefacts and other items on display. This year we plan to include traditional face painting as well,” he said.

“What I like about the Fusion Festival is how it brings cultures from all around the world to once place.”

Fusion Festival runs from September 5 to 8. For more information visit scu.edu.au/equity/index.php/81

Media contact: Jessica Huxley Southern Cross University Gold Coast, 07 5589 3024 or 0417 288 794.