Continuous & Diverse: A Long History of Many Cultures from the 2020 Symposium

In Session 2 ‘Continuous & Diverse: A  Long History of Many Cultures’ from our 2020 Academy Symposium, artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, designer and film producer Alison Page, artist Michel Tuffery, and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth add their voices to this discussion and draw on examples from their own artistic practice to demonstrate how we can begin to construct a more inclusive story of our nation – and all its people – through the arts: a story that doesn’t simply insist upon what we have known, but that unearths our unknowing and puts us all in conversation with one another, to ‘share the long held stories.’

The ongoing memorialisation of James Cook, and in particular the recent exhibitions, activities and events marking the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour, has challenged us to re-examine the story of our nation and to ask some urgent questions about who our discovery narrative includes, and who it silences. Indigenous leaders have long called for a narrative of this country which honours the multiple strands of history, culture, experience and innovation within our national identity, and it is high time that we listen to their calls and, more importantly, that we act upon them.


Chaired by Shelagh Magadza, Executive Director of The Chamber of Arts and Culture Western Australia, this session gives makes for essential viewing. All of the examples on display including Alison Page’s moving film The Message: The Story from the Shore, Michel Tuffery’s ‘Cookie in the Cook Islands’ Abdul-Rahman Abdullah’s dynamic sculptures of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, and Lynette Wallworth’s award-winning VR experience Collisions, amplify the experiences and expression of Indigenous and migrant cultures through technological and artistic innovation.

The fully-captioned video from this session is now available to view on our YouTube channel and on our website. Each week for the next month we will continue to upload our Symposium sessions so that we can keep the discussion going and continue to create momentum around these essential questions.

Stay tuned for upcoming session videos including:

    • Policy Matters: Key Insights from A New Approach, feat. President-elect of The Myer Foundation Rupert Myer, musicologist and linguist Emeritus Professor Malcolm Gillies, Arts and Culture Policy Advisor for the Municipal Association of Victoria Francesca Valmorbida, Executive Director of Regional Arts Australia Ros Abercrombie and Program Director of A New Approach Kate Fielding
    • Connecting Policy and Artists, feat. Director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University Professor Clive Barstow, politician, public servant and public intellectual Christopher John Guelph Puplick and Artistic Director of Orchestra Victoria Nicolette Fraillon.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.