Whilst attending the pre Festival teleconference, my soon to be realised western construct of what I thought a conference should be was challenged! What did the creative directorate mean no note taking, no lecture slides or speakers reading at a lectern from pages of notes?!

How am I going to justify this to my employer, if I cant return to the office with pages of notes to relay to my colleagues? Will I be able to stay awake if I can’t revert to taking notes if the topic gets dry!?

A few weeks post event I’m finding it hard to do a written summation or reflection. I’m a mixture of concerned and apprehensive, yet proud and excited for the change that is on our doorstep, if we choose to open it. Sitting in the Meeanjin Exhibition Centre over those 2 days my mind was blown, challenged and reassured. My apprehensions about the differing format were null and void, I did want to reach for a pen and paper but at no point was it to combat falling asleep!

As we didn’t take notes the below are things that I’ve been thinking about since COUNTRY:

  • Is a RAP recolonising? Uncle Cheg told us that if we are still talking about RAP’s in 5 years’ time then they haven’t done their job.
  • We need 500 year plans.
  • If 3.2% (*https://www.abs.gov.au/) of the Australian population is Indigenous, then the percentage of first nations knowledge holders that are willing to collaborate on projects is far less than 3.2%. These knowledge holders are in high demand and fatigued. Keep this in consideration when starting conversations about project engagement. We can also do better than engagement via art during or to the end of a project.
  • Ask ourselves does this knowledge sharer wish to be involved with this project?
  • We all know that feeling when we join a project post DA rejection to tick the landscape requirement of the DRP process. Late to the party without the opportunity to let landscape values influence project planning. That is how first nations knowledge holders might feel when they aren’t involved from project inception.
  • Our people at the top who are used to being in charge need to sit down and listen whilst acknowledging they might not have the most knowledge at the table.
  • Don’t further perpetuate colonial bias thorough timelines and deadlines.


  • Are our education institutions culturally safe spaces? Is this a component the AILA NART need to add to assessment criteria?
  • Where do we go from here? In relation to AILA Awards, events and Festivals and the Perth procurement market?

COUNTRY was momentous for me as a young LA, but I believe for AILA as a whole. We now need to ask ourselves what are we going to do? We have been granted this knowledge and now we have a responsibility to do something with it.