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Workshop Series & Symposium

Waterways Country Workshop Series and Symposium program that will be delivered apart of the Design Canberra Festival at the National Museum of Australia. 
The program comes off the back of Follow Sullivans: Learning Country (Sullivan creek 2022) curated walks where a project participants were recruited from diverse backgrounds, including conservation, the sciences, health, education, arts, writing and government. 
Ngunnawal perspectives were key, with Traditional Custodians leading the walks and talk and advising throughout the project. Each walk has pioneered seeing waterways as places where nature intertwines with science, art and culture, generate a network of local leaders engaged with creek’s environment, and build community awareness of the waterway and how they can contribute to its care. Looking at these creeks in their entirety, we are exposed to a big picture view of our treatment and relationship to our waterways and the greater story these waterways can tell about the impact of colonialism on Country.
The Waterways Country symposium provides an opportunity to support and empower the community to provided a creative platform for centring Indigenous perspective, thinking about the impact of science on our changing relationship with water and the role of artists in navigating this terrain. Exploring questions relating to our urban waterways, its cultural utility and how art and science might collaborate to develop greater community awareness of role and value of these water systems. The workshop series aims to share tools to helps to builds community awareness and assists with building capacity of the community that play a valuable role in caring for the environment of the ACT.
Symposium and Workshop Series
The Symposium will be presented in two parts. Over the first week of the program we would offer a series of public workshops designed by the Following Sullivan’s: Learning Country expert participants. The workshops will be hosted along the creek lines and or at appropriate venues that support the outcome of the workshop.
The second part would be modelled around a more traditional format, the Symposium will be based around themes ’Looking to See‘ , ‘Listening to Hear’ and ‘Learning to Understand‘ which will have surfaced during the project. We will seek to respond to these themes over the course of the Symposium. Each one of these days will address one of the key theme proposed by the experts from the project.
An exhibition of photography, a display of participants project notebooks and visual diary’s, a short film viewing would also be part of the Symposium program.
We would like to acknowledge the ongoing guidance from Uncle Wally Bell and Aunty Karen Dendy. 
This program of events has been supported by Suburban Land Agency and ICON Water , Design Canberra Festival and National Muesum of Austraila.

Waterway Country Workshop and Symposium: Welcome


Interrupted – manipulated – controlled

We wonder the stories this old creek must hold

Water trickles, echoing through a solid concrete drain.

In contrast to the glorious squawk, of the cockatoo’s refrain.

Interrupted – manipulated – controlled

The storm clouds build, the thunder unfolds

Evaporation becomes precipitation, a path long trod

Water memory predates the Ngunnawal and even the theropod

Interrupted – manipulated – controlled

The lands call out in pain - a summons foretold

Rain puddles form, the frogs calling forth

Another journey begins for the creek from the north.

Interrupted – manipulated – controlled

Traversing a strange, amalgamated, concrete stranglehold

One of the many tributaries to join the Molonglo

But enter at your own risk, beware the undertow

An explosion of force, finally free of this man made constraint

With traditional song lines the water and lands seek to reacquaint

Will you listen to the stories this creek does hold,

Or is your mind too interrupted – manipulated – controlled?

Don Christopher I Gunggari 2022


Thank you to all that contributed and attended Waterways Country Symposium and Workshop Series. We will upload recorded panels and sessions from the Waterways, Country Symposium and workshops in the coming weeks. For now, I want to share a Water Memory, a poem from Don Christopher (Gunggari), written as a response to Country Acting Through Community Panel - Country and Creative Practices.

Waterway Country Workshop and Symposium: About Me


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Waterway Country Workshop and Symposium: Services
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