Bonita Mabo, Sandy Sur, mountaineer Brigitte Muir and novelist Robin de Crespigny will be guest speakers this week during Southern Cross University’s Fusion Festival.
The aims to further intercultural understanding and communal harmony through interaction in various forms – from cultural to social, intellectual and sporting events. It is organised by the University’s Fusion Committee and is supported this year by the Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work.
Aunty Bonita will take part in public presentations at the Lismore and Gold Coast campuses. While known as Aboriginal activist Eddie Mabo’s wife, Aunty Bonita is an activist in her own right. Her background is that of an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander and she has been educating people about their place in Australian history for many years.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Pacific Island labourers being brought to Australia on indentured contracts to work on sugarcane farms between 1863 and 1904. Some were kidnapped, blackbirded and most were exploited by contracts that they had very little chance of understanding, and more than 7,000 were deported on commencement of the White Australia policy.
Sandy Sur, the manager of the Leweton Cultural Group, will take part in public presentations at the Lismore and Gold Coast campuses, and will also perform. The Leweton Cultural Group has thrilled audiences at a variety of venues including World Expo 2008, several European diplomatic functions, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo and the Queensland Music Festival performing their famed water music of Vanuatu.
Brigitte Muir, who will talk at the Lismore campus and have her speech videolinked to Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast, has scaled the world’s highest peaks including nine expeditions to 8,000m high peaks. She has climbed on seven continents and crossed Australian and Antarctic deserts. In recent years she has been exploring documentary making, conscious evolution and our innate longing for co-creating and belonging. She now leads Well Being Well Doing Treks in Nepal.
And author of The People Smuggler, Robin de Crespigny, will talk at the Lismore campus. Ms de Crespigny is a Sydney filmmaker, producer and director and an acclaimed novelist. The People Smuggler has been nominated for The Ned Kelly Award for True Crime, as well as winning a Queensland Literary Award, the 25th Human Rights Award for Literature and the 2012 Alex Buzo Prize for Shortlisted Authors at the Nib Waverly Library Award for Literature.
‘We are thrilled that we have such fantastic speakers to come along to this year’s Fusion Festival,’ said Rachel Callahan, head of the University’s Equity and Diversity Office.
‘This year’s festival will be bigger, brighter and tastier than ever with spectacular music and dance performances by Aboriginal, Cuban, Indian and African artists, free international food tasting featuring Nepalese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Bhutanese and South American traditional recipes.
‘Fusion Festival is a great way to celebrate the diversity of students and staff within the University, and indeed our society.’
For a complete program of events at each of the University’s campuses check www.scu.edu.au/fusion.