Describe the main features of the policy/measure:
To celebrate the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ran a series of initiatives highlighting language and its centrality to culture and identity. One of the key initiatives for the year was the attendance of the combined Soul Harvest and Navataparop Gospel Choirs from Vanuatu at the annual Desert Song Festival in Alice Springs where they sang in language with the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir and the Soweto Gospel Choir. The project celebrated the revival and preservation of Indigenous languages, partnerships and women’s voices. The choir’s 14-day program included close to 40 events, mostly centred on the 10-day Desert Song Festival. The annual festival draws storytellers, musicians, artists and audiences to experience a special showcase of musical talent presented mostly in language by vibrant and diverse communities. The 22-member Soul Harvest choir shared original songs in Nakanamanga (their local language) and took home new songs in Pitjantjatjarra, Western Arrernte, Zulu and English. The program included technical workshops, masterclasses, formal and informal collaboration opportunities, media interviews, school visits and community engagement with artists, Indigenous Australians and Pacific diaspora groups in Australia. A highlight of the tour was the opportunity for Soul Harvest to perform on stage with the renowned Soweto Gospel Choir at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. The project encouraged cross cultural exchange and collaboration and build networks and relationships that both the choir can draw on in the future.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?:
The project demonstrated to the young choir members the value of their own language as a unique cultural asset and it built a new sense of pride in their own culture. The project provided the Soul Harvest Choir with exposure to the management of a large international cultural festival in a remote location. It afforded them valuable professional education and development, particularly through the workshop experience at the Desert Song Festival and by performing in the Marble Foyer at Parliament House in Canberra. A planned reunion of the three choirs in Vanuatu in April 2020 was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak but will hopefully be undertaken when travel is safe again. The project successfully supported partnerships in Australia and Vanuatu, fostered institutional and people-to -people links, and built relationships for the future (across Vanuatu Government, cultural organisations in Australia and Vanuatu, broadcasting organisations, commercial producers and tour agents).
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD:
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure:
|Name of partner||Type of entity|
Government of Vanuatu
Desert Song Festival
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?:
If yes, what are the main conclusions/recommendations?:
Evaluation highlighted the desirability of further skills exchange through visits by the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir and Soweto Gospel Choir to Vanuatu.