"Don't let the Sport and Rec. officer get hold of it": Indigenous festivals, big aspirations and local knoweldge

Lisa Slater


This paper discusses the findings of a three-year study that examined the impact of Australian Indigenous cultural festivals on community and youth wellbeing. The study found that Indigenous organisations and communities, funded by government and philanthropic agencies, are increasingly using festivals as vehicles to strengthen social connections, intergenerational knowledge transmission and wellbeing (Phipps & Slater 2010). However, at both a state and national level Indigenous affairs routinely continues to assert social norms based upon non-Indigenous national ideals of experience and wellbeing. On the basis of our empirical findings, it becomes clear that there is a need to promote and support public spaces, such as Indigenous cultural festivals, that foster culturally appropriate, localised and stable Indigenous control and 'authorship'. The paper focuses on two distinctly different festivals, both with the express aim of celebrating Indigenous culture: Croc Fest and the Dreaming festival.


Indigenous, cultural festivals, Australia, wellbeing, festival management and funding.

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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