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May 18, 2024

Aquarius Festival set to turn 40

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The May 1973 Aquarius Festival in Nimbin, NSW, was a regional and national catalyst for change. From home-birth to farming, from building to local markets, from eating to social relations and beyond, this Festival, organised by the Australian Union of Students, provided a stimulus for ‘alternative’, counter-cultural thinking and action on a kaleidoscopic range of social and cultural practices.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary in 2013, Aquarius and beyond takes this opportunity to reflect on the events that together became the Aquarius Festival and the ongoing threads that weave their way into contemporary Australian life. While the Nimbin Aquarius Festival provides a focus for this event, we are interested in contributions that are located here and elsewhere, but that centre on the changes the counter-cultural movement heralded, stimulated and continues to create.

In the spirit of the festival, Aquarius and Beyond is seeking expressions of interest and calling for presentations for a two-day market of ideas styled as a multiversity event. Acknowledging that no one way of knowing has the capacity to encompass all knowledge, we are interested in bringing together a range of expressions, reflections and projections into the future: from academic short 20-minute (or shorter) presentations to performances; from film and pamphleteering to speakers story-telling panels and soapboxes; and all points between.

Aquarius and Beyond is a collaborative event organised by Southern Cross University’s Centre for Peace and Social Justice, the School of Arts and Social Science and the Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work, in conjunction with the Aquarian Archive. Contributions that use the resources of the Aquarian Archive are particularly welcome.

Aquarius and beyond will take place on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May 2013 in Nimbin at the Town Hall. The first day will reflect on the last 40 years, while the second will have a present-future orientation. Both days will be fully catered, and priced so that it is affordable to all. Registration and cost details are still to be worked out. If you would like to be placed on our email list for updates, please let the organisers know.

On the evening of the 23rd we are planning a film and performance evening after dinner.

Apart from the event, a range of other outcomes are envisaged including a website documenting Aquarius and Beyond and publication opportunities, including an edited book.

Themes for contributions could include, but are not limited to: agriculture and food; health; birthing, children and education; the children and grandchildren of Aquarius; technological innovation and sustainability; land use, architecture and building; markets and alternative economies; drug use; fashion, music, art, performance, graphic design, craft and creativity; activism, social movements, peace-building, the good life, and optimism for the future; literary, philosophical, political and spiritual contexts and developments; local, national and global connections; sexuality, relationships, families, and communities; ‘alternative’–’straight’ encounters.

Presentation ideas abstracts and expressions of interest should include: a title; contributor(s) name, affiliation (if relevant) and contact details; a 200 word (maximum) proposal. The organisers are happy to discuss any proposals before the submission date.

Key dates

1 February 2013 – Ideas

Abstracts for presentations and expressions of interest due 1 March 2013.

Responses to proposals 15 April 2013.

Draft program published 23 and 24 May 2013.

Expressions of interest contact: Dr Rob Garbutt, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157 Lismore, NSW, 2480. Phone: 02 6620 3350, email: [email protected].


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