Yarning Across Cultures - PhD (IAC) Completion Seminar

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Carissa Lee Godwin - PhD (IAC) Completion Seminar Yarning Across Cultures: Cross-cultural collaborations in the Australian performing arts

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PhD (Indigenous Arts and Cultures) Completion Seminar

Yarning Across Cultures: Cross-cultural collaborations in the Australian performing arts

Speaker: Carissa Lee Godwin, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

Chair: Richard Frankland, Associate Professor In Cross-Disciplinary Practice, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

There have been harmful practices in the representation of First Nations people in the performing arts linked to problematic collaborations between First Nations and non-Indigenous peoples. Although practices have improved since the first play featuring First Nations characters, negative stereotyping of First Nations roles and characters are still created and presented to audiences. This research is an exploration of how cross-cultural collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners can be improved to ensure that appropriate and accurate representation of First Nations people can be achieved, and harm reduced. A critical review of literature across the fields of the performing arts, anthropology, cross-cultural research practices and arts protocols helped me ascertain the best practices of collaboration, and where there were failures. Through observation of rehearsal practices of productions Shadow King and Chopped Liver and researching case studies of Walking into the Bigness and Beautiful One Day, I became acquainted with cross-cultural collaborative practices that had positive results. Main fieldwork consisted of one-on-one yarning sessions with First Nations theatre practitioners, and one non-Indigenous practitioner, to gain insight into their experiences working in the performing arts, and their views of the past, present and future representation of First Nations people. Through this research, I was able to explore how the role of the First Nations practice of Yarning can contribute to better practices in cross-cultural collaborations, and by extension, improve representation of First Nations people in the performing arts.

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