Settler states are built on ‘unsettled ground’ with Aboriginal peoples, settlers and migrants locked in a continual struggle, contesting their rights to culture, land and belonging. In this struggle Aboriginal performance has played a vital role in protesting the settler-nation order and maintaining Indigenous cultural forms and interpretations of the past. This paper explores the tensions with reference to the Aboriginal peoples of Western Australia in a new project examining the history of performance, issues of cultural sustainability and rights, and the contribution of performance to sustaining culture and wellbeing. The project will produce a comprehensive living history of public performances incorporating Aboriginal dance, music, art, story-telling and theatrical devices directed by Aboriginal people or in collaboration with others and incorporating agendas of political protest and cultural survival. Also to be addressed are international perspectives on the sustainability of Indigenous cultures in settler societies with reference to the role of rights-based frameworks in supporting Aboriginal cultural diversity in Australia and cosmopolitanism. Finally, the project will assess particular performances in terms of their contribution to cultural sustainability, wellbeing and empowerment with the aim of enhancing planning and production to ensure community cultural, social and financial outcomes are met.
|Keywords:||Indigenous Performance, Arts and Wellbeing|
Visiting Professor, Australian Studies Centre, Free University, Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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