ChangeFest 2019 was held over four days in November at the Kimberwalli Centre in the community of Mt Druitt in Western Sydney. This is the second year that over 600 people and organisations working in collaborative initiatives from across the Australia gathered to share practice, build relationships and further this national approach to community led social change.
Generously welcomed and hosted by the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation the message throughout ChangeFest was clear – the principle of First Nations First is the only way to achieve long-lasting, structural impact for communities. Communities must decide what works and what is best for them.
Dean Parkin challenged attendees to go as deep they could to answer the question – “Do you truly believe, deep in your heart, that it’s possible for First Nations people to take our rightful place in this country?”
Young people from Mt Druitt took their place in both workshops and on stage to clearly articulate that they want more connected-up services and cultural programs in community and schools. They shared their connection to Country and community through dance, poetry and art.
The sessions over four days challenged our thinking around power, systems and identity as well as sharing tools for collaboration and learning. Communities shared what’s working in their unique contexts and how they are achieving change.
One of the emerging themes was the value of taking time to build genuine, trusting relationships that enable us to better work together to address complex challenges. That being the first and most important step in any collaboration especially any aimed at creating the space for people to empower themselves.
The ChangeFest finale saw the Warril Yari-Go Elders from Logan, QLD and the Baabayn Edlers from Mt Druitt NSW pass the ChangeFest baton to the Larrakia Elders, Darwin NT where ChangeFest will take place in 2020. The Festival came to a close with people young and old from across Australia standing, holding hands in solidarity as the deeply moving voice and music Dr G Yunupingu echoed over Darug Country.
For more information about ChangeFest please follow the below links: