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Celebration of Songlines as SCU marks NAIDOC Week


Sharlene King
12 July 2016
Indigenous languages, storytelling, music, art and bushtucker, all aspects of Songlines, will be celebrated when Southern Cross University hosts NAIDOC events at the Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast and Lismore campuses this week.

Southern Cross University's Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee (SCUIECC) invites staff, students and the wider community to be part of our NAIDOC Celebrations.

This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Songlines: The living narrative of our nation’. Dreaming tracks, sometimes known as songlines, crisscross Australia and trace the journeys of Indigenous ancestral spirits who ‘sung’ the land into life.

“Song lines are the deeper connections that run between and inside Country and its people,” Professor Norm Sheehan, director of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University.

“These living connections are vital for closing the gap in education and health, and are expressed in the Gnibi Elders principle seven, deeper connections.”

Gnibi Elders principle seven states:

Identity is based upon things [inside] beneath the surface. Empowered, individual, affirmed identity is the basis of positive, productive, healthy and non-destructive lives - opportunities to engage and build knowledge builds [strong mob] through [inside learning]

Professor Sheehan will be leading a session on Wednesday July 13 called ‘Connective Art – Yarning Circle’. This visual and narrative process is a way of sharing knowledge in a group.

ART EXHIBITION – July 4 to 15, Learning Centre at the SCU Lismore campus
The Songlines NAIDOC Art Exhibition celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The collection of works is a collaboration of local NSW North Coast and Tweed Gold Coast Indigenous artists who have a strong connection to this land. Artists include Mark Cora, Lutha Cora, Alina Cora, Aaron Cora, Charmaine Bancroft-Davis, Chenaya Bancroft-Davis, Phil Macintosh, John Turner and Digby Moran.

COFFS HARBOUR – Tuesday July 12, 10am – 2pm
Location: D Block, Upper Theatre at Coffs Harbour Education campus
• Welcome to Country – Uncle Barry Hoskins, Welcome Dancers and Smoking – Uncle Martin
• Local Musician and Song writer – Matty Devitt Band
• Significance of NAIDOC and NAIDOC's Theme for 2016 and Local Elders, Elders Yarning Circle: Sharing Stories, Experiences Growing up, Q&A
• Professor Norm Sheehan, Terry Donavan, Mark Flanders, Bee Ballangarry - Education and Keeping our Culture alive, Cultural Awareness and reflection
• Art stall
• Indigenous books display (in the Library)
• Morning tea (compliments of Savouries With a Twist) - scones with jam and cream, lemon myrtle cheesecake slice, juice, tea and coffee
• Lunch - selection of gourmet sandwiches, gourmet wraps, salads and a seasonal fruit platter

LISMORE campus – Wednesday July 13
Featuring, in the Plaza from 11am – 2pm:
• Welcome to Country with Aunty Irene Harrington
• Local songwriters, musicians, cultural performance groups: Deadly Bunarhms & Bunyarra Cultural Collective; hip hop by TLK (Teddy, Lewis, King); Blakboi
• Workshops: basket weaving, jewellery making, painting/arts, Bundjalung language, storytelling
• Free BBQ and bush tucker, thanks to LEXSA (Lismore and External Student Association) and TIME (The Indigenous Multicultural Exchange)

Featuring, in the Learning Centre’s Manning Clark Room from 2pm – 4pm:
• Connective Art – Yarning Circle: Stories and visual arts connect us all. Join Professor Norm Sheehan, director of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Elders, colleagues and students in a yarn and experience the Connective Art process, which is a visual and narrative methodology for sharing knowledge in a group. It creates a safe place to share opinions, knowledge and stories openly or privately. When connected, the works generated, as below, form a new narrative that assists groups to co-create future directions.

GOLD COAST campus – Thursday July 14, 11am – 1pm
Location: Grass area between Building A and Building B
• Welcome to Country with Aunty Jackie McDonald
• Music
• Cultural performance
• Workshops including: art, bead/jewellery making, Bundjalung language
• Art exhibition in the Library, A Block, Level 4
• Free BBQ and bush tucker

Full details, visit

Photo: Respectful Design: Palm Island Connective Art, Sheehan, N. (2012), (p.40) Woolongabba, Queensland: Link Up Aboriginal Corporation