Artlands 2021: The Space Between
Australia’s largest national regional arts gathering, Artlands, went digital for 2021. Unable to travel interstate, live streams were delivered directly to attendees with the opportunity to participate at regional hubs.
From 1 – 3 September 2021, Western Australian arts practitioners gathered at Red Earth Arts Precinct on Ngarluma Country (Karratha) for three days of inspiring conversation, new ideas, networking and local connection.
Through the Regional Arts Fund, Regional Arts WA and Regional Arts Australia supported regional arts practitioners and volunteers to attend the gathering. Participation grants were offered to ensure those who may be unable to attend otherwise would have the same opportunity to connect.
We caught up with three recipients of the Artlands Participation Grants in Karratha to ask them about their experiences. Here’s what they had to say!
Rosie Sitorus and Peter Salmon. Photo courtesy of Rosie Sitorus.
Rosie Sitorus (Mid West)
Manager, Bundiyarra – Irra Wangga Language Centre
“I attended Artlands for the first time in Kalgoorlie in 2014 as a youth participant. It connected me to so many people throughout the industry and was such a great experience. In my personal practice I’m an artist (musician, performer and writer) and I also work with the Irra Wangga Language Centre, so I’m always looking for ways I can marry those two things together.
With assistance from the Artlands Participation Grant, I was able to travel with Peter Salmon and Godfrey Simpson from Geraldton to present on some of the learnings we’ve had through the language centre and how this connects with the arts.
A real highlight for me was giving Peter the opportunity to tell his story in this setting. He’s worked hard his whole life outside with cattle on Country. I was concerned that putting him on stage inside at an arts conference would make him uncomfortable. After we presented, he told me ‘actually that was pretty good’ and was on a real high.
Even though I knew people would be welcoming and he’d be well received, I just didn’t know how he would feel about the whole experience. The fact that he felt comfortable enough and empowered enough in an unfamiliar setting that he will now get up in front of a room of unfamiliar people and tell his story – that’s truly amazing.”
Find out more about Rosie’s work at the Bundiyarra – Irra Wangga Language Centre at bundiyarra.com.
Sarah Louise Roots. Photo by Alanna Kusin.
Sarah Louise Roots (Pilbara)
Visual artist and community arts volunteer
“While there’s no denying that there has been so much change in the last decade that I’ve been lucky to live on Ngalarma Country, we’re still very remote and we’re very removed from all of the wonderful things that happen in the art world outside our own community. So, when you see something as pivotal as the Artlands Conference being held close to home, you can’t help but want to be a part of it and see what it’s all about. I’ve been super grateful to be able to attend, especially thanks to the Artlands Participation Grant which made it so much more accessible for us.
Experiencing Dave mangenner Gough’s Welcome to Country and hearing him talk about his mapali project, was truly profound and a real highlight for me. You can see that there is so much love and effort that has gone into that project and I don’t know if I would have been lucky enough to be exposed to it if I hadn’t attended this conference. He is a perfect example of where we need to be – we need to lift our First Nations people up to where they are truly acknowledged and truly seen.
Sadly, we are still very far behind here in the Pilbara. My mentors, colleagues and friends at the Wangaba Roebourne Art Group and I have been so inspired by Dave’s mapali project and have already had a few discussions about it could translate to a local setting here in the Pilbara. We’re very excited to see what comes out of these discussions and explorations, we feel very inspired.”
Naomi Crosby. Photo by Alanna Kusin.
Naomi Crosby (Wheatbelt)
Performing artist, theatre maker and dietitian
“Attending Artlands 2021 through the Participation Grant has been such a great opportunity to meet people, as I’m an emerging artist and not from WA originally. I love the idea of lateral learning which, to me, means really digging deep to look creatively at problem solving in the process of developing a project richly informed by the people it’s made for.
I enjoy doing this with others, especially learning from those who have gone before. It’s been so great to be surrounded by the many inspired – and inspiring – people. Artlands 2021 has been like an echo chamber of positive passion!
There were a few things I expected to enjoy, like learning more about how Reconciliation, arts and culture is improving the health and wellbeing of all community members. However, an unexpected highlight for me was thinking about the digital future in a positive light. I learned a lot from the Don’t Lose the Digital panel with Jennifer Ganske, Adam Bannister, Tahli Corin and Samuel Cairnduff.
I’m from the digital generation where, being brought up in a world consumed by screens and social media, can really drag me down. You often hear about the negatives of digital technology so it was really interesting to see how the digital platform can be reinterpreted and used for true social good. I’m excited about the possibility of letting this learning inform my artistic practice.”
Learn more about Naomi’s work at nomcrosby.com.
Congratulations to all the successful recipients of Artlands Participation Grants:
Sam Beard (South West), Oliver Canny (Mid West), Hozaus Claire (Kimberley), Naomi Crosby (South West), Jenny Garoun (Wheatbelt), Siobhan Maiden (South West), Diana Moss (South West), Sarah Louise Roots (Pilbara), Rosie Sitorus (Mid West), Anne Sorenson (Great Southern), Tracie Walsh (South West) and Vicky Wilson (Great Southern).