First Nations Curatorial Symposium

The Yalingwa First Nations Curators Symposium and Program is conceived as a significant platform for First Nations curators and artists to come together to share their work and insights across generations and cultural perspectives. The program will involve at least four First Nations curators working in a range of leadership positions to attend the third exhibition in the Yalingwa exhibition series Between Waves, and engage with exhibiting artists, and emerging First Nations artists and colleagues more widely, through a series of artist meetings and studio visits, as well as public programs and dedicated First Nations workshops and networking sessions.

This will be a significant opportunity to platform Southeast contemporary Aboriginal art and cultural practice to First Nations curators and leaders across Australia. Through a range of activities including a symposium dedicated to First Nations participants, talks and presentations from local and exhibiting artists, and a public forum open to all, the Curators Program and Symposium will provide opportunities for curatorial professionals to build networks and relationships with Southeast contemporary arts practitioners and to foster networks, dialogue and cross-cultural connections nationally.

The intent is to create a significant platform for First Nations curators, artists, and cultural community to come together to share their work and insights across generations and cultural perspectives, to deepen debates and build upon outcomes of the gathering.

This program is generously supported by Annamila First Nations Foundation.

Read more about Yalingwa Visual Arts Initiative here.

Read Between Waves curatorial text here.

Key People:

Program Facilitators: Sam Yates (Taungurung) and Jessica Clark (palawa/pallawah)

Curator Participants: Tina Baum (Gulumerrgin (Larrakia)/Wardaman/Karajarri); Glenn Iseger-Pilkington (Nhanda, Nyoongar, Dutch/Scottish); Rebekah Raymond (Arabana, Limilngan-Wulna, Wuthathi, Mualgal); and Maree Clarke (Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung, Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba)

Artist Participants: Maree Clarke (Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung, Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba); Hayley Millar Baker (Gunditjmara); Nicholas Currie (Yugembah); Tarryn Love (Gunditjmara); Donna Blackall (Yorta Yorta, Taungurung); Mia Boe (Butchulla); Jarra Karaliner Steel (BoonWurrung); Jody Haines (tommeginne / palawa); Isobel Morphy-Walsh (Taungurung); Steven Rhall (Taungurung); and Lisa Waup (Gunditjmara)

Between Waves Artists: Maree Clarke (Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung, Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba); Dean Cross (Worimi); Brad Darkson (Narungga); Matthew Harris (Yorta Yorta); Hayley Millar Baker (Gunditjmara); Jazz Money (Wiradjuri); Mandy Quadrio (Trawlwoolway, Pairrebeenner); Cassie Sullivan (palawa); and this mob, members include Jenna Lee (Gulumerridjin/Larrakia, Wardaman, KarraJarri); Jenna Rain Warwick (Luritja); Maya Hodge (Lardil, Yangkaal); Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung); and Moorina Bonini (Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri, Wiradjuri)

Opening celebration, Between Waves 2023. Photograph: Casey Horsfield

Program Schedule

Monday 28 August (day)

8:45am: Meet at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), 111 Sturt Street, Southbank 3006 VIC, Melbourne, Australia

9–10am: Welcome to program, morning tea and an introduction to Yalingwa Visual Arts Initiative and Between Waves. Followed by curatorial walk-through with Jessica Clark. The exhibition features ten new commissions by Maree Clarke, Hayley Millar Baker, Dean Cross, Brad Darkson, James Howard, Cassie Sullivan, Matthew Harris, Mandy Quadrio, Jazz Money and this mob. Read more here.

10am–1pm: Artist–Curator Conversations: Participating First Nations curators meet and greet and in conversation with four artists over 30-45 minute individual sessions scheduled. Schedule: 10am with Mia Boe; 10:45am with Lisa Waup; 11:30am with Jodie Haines; 12:15pm with Tarryn Love.

1pm: Artist–Curator Conversations with Between Waves artists over lunch supplied by ACCA. Artists include: Maree Clarke, Hayley Millar Baker and Matthew Harris.

2–3:00pm: Free time

Monday 28 August (evening)

3:30pm: Reception gathering prior to event with local Between Waves and community artists, participating curators, Yalingwa Directions circle and interlocutors.

4:30pm: Community arrival and gathering.

4:50pm: Welcome to Country with Wurundjeri Elder

5–7pm: First Nations Forum: Keynote presentations from leading First Nations curators and thinkers. Moderated discussion and contributions from invited guests. A space for First Nations curator participants to connect and discuss various lines of inquiries and contemporary concerns within their practices; determined and led by Samantha Yates in collaboration with leading interstate and local First Nations curators and thinkers. This event is for First Nations participants and community only. Read more and register your attendance here.

7:30pm: Dinner offsite at Supernormal with Yalingwa Directions Circle, artists, curators and invited guests.

Tuesday 29 August (day)

10am: Morning tea at ACCA, debrief yesterday, and overview of agenda led by program facilitator and Jessica Clark.

10:30–12:45pm: Artist–Curator Conversations: Participating First Nations curators meet and greet and in conversation with four artists over 30-45 minute individual sessions. Schedule: 10:30am with Donna Blackall; 11:15am with Isobel Morphy-Walsh; 12pm with Nicholas Currie; 12:45pm with Jarra Karaliner Steel.

1:15pm: Artist-Curator Conversations with Steven Rhall over lunch supplied by ACCA.

2:30pm: Free time

4:30pm: Return to ACCA for Yalingwa Curatorial Symposium

Tuesday 29 August (evening)

5:30pm: Yalingwa Curatorial Symposium. Keynote presentations by leading First Nations curators Tina Baum, Rebekah Raymond, Maree Clarke, Sam Yates and Jessica Clark followed by an in conversation. Read more and register here.

7pm: Dinner offsite at Chocolate Buddah and viewing of Maree Clarke’s Between Waves new projection now you see me: seeing the invisible #2 2023 with curator participants Between Waves and Maree Clarke.

Wednesday 30 August (day)

9:45am: Meet at ACCA

10am: Travel to Coranderrk, TarraWarra Museum of Art.

11am: Curator participants arrive for exhibition viewing of The Soils Project.

The Soils Project brings together 13 practitioners and collectives from Australia, the Netherlands and Indonesia to explore the complex and diverse relationships between environmental change and colonisation. The exhibition is the latest iteration of an ongoing research-based experimental project developed in collaboration with leading contemporary arts museum the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands and Struggles for Sovereignty, a collective based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Soils Project arises from specific and situated practices that each of the participants and artists brings to their understanding of soil, as both metaphor and matter.

12:30pm: Meet the Director of TarraWarra Museum of Victoria Lynn for discussion of The Soils Project 2023 followed by lunch in Healesville. Potential visit to Coranderrk and William Barak’s resting place after lunch.

2:30pm: Return to ACCA. Program wrap-up and debrief.

Opening celebration, Between Waves 2023. Photograph: Casey Horsfield

Program Facilitators

Sam Yates is the Producer of Tarnanthi, supporting the artistic vision of Tarnanthi’s Artistic Director, Nici Cumpston. Sam was previously at Country Arts SA, where she was the First Nations Arts and Culture Manager. She led the development of the organisation’s Reconciliation Action Plans, which involved creating policy and increasing First Nations employment and representation across the organisation. She was also a Producer on the Wild Dog Project, a multi-year cultural maintenance project following the trade routes and storylines of the dingo creation story across Australia, which is part of Tarnanthi. She has English, Irish, Scottish and Aboriginal (Taungurung) heritage.

Jessica Clark is a proud palawa/pallawah woman currently living and working on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne). Jessica is a curator of contemporary art, a researcher, writer and arts manager with a background in art history and art education. She currently holds the position of Yalingwa Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). Her independent curatorial practice is informed and grounded by an understanding of the interrelationship between life, materiality, and place. Recent independent and collaborative exhibition projects include: Between Waves (2023) at ACCA, breathing space (2021) and one (&) another (2020) at Margaret Lawrence Gallery, In and of this place (2021) at Benalla Art Gallery [Online], and Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art (2021-2023) national touring exhibition. She has recently completed a curatorial practice led PhD at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. 

Tina Baum, Gulumirrgin-Larrakia/Wardaman/Karajarri peoples, has over 30 years working in Australian Museums and Galleries. She is a writer and the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia since 2005. She curated the Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, 2017, the Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia, 2021-23 national and international touring exhibition and the Emerging Elders exhibition, 2009. Baum is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts 2022-23 International Curators Program Asia Pacific Triennial x TarraWarra Biennial, the 2021-22 Art Monthly Australasia, Indigenous Voices Program (writing) as a mentor, the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Leaders Program, 2020-22, and the inaugural British Council Accelerate Programme to the UK, 2009. She is a mentor to alumni, presenter and organiser of the NGA and Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership and Fellowship Programs since 2010. She is passionate about embedding Indigenous voices, perspectives and truth telling and Indigenising best practice methodologies within Museum and Galleries throughout Australia and internationally by reasserting Indigenous traditional language, cultural authority and agency.

Glenn Iseger-Pilkington (Nhanda and Nyoongar Peoples/ Dutch/ Scottish) is Curator of Visual Arts at Fremantle Art Centre in Walyalup | Fremantle, Western Australia. Glenn undertook his formal art training at the School of Contemporary Art, Edith Cowan University, majoring in Printmaking and has worked within the visual arts sector over the last eighteen years as an arts worker, curator, advisor, and advocate for artists. Glenn has held the roles of Senior Curator (FORM: building a state of creativity), Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Material Culture (South Australian Museum), Curator Content Development, (New Museum Project | Western Australian Museum) and Associate Curator of Indigenous Objects and Photography (Art Gallery of Western Australia). Glenn’s most recent curatorial projects are ‘Other Horizons: Atong Atem | Hayley Millar Baker| Jasmine Togo-Brisby,’ ‘Marawar-ak | From the West: Contemporary Art from Western Australia, ‘Jila Kujarra | Two Snakes Dreaming‘ and ‘Undertow’, all presented at Fremantle Arts Centre.

Rebekah Raymond is a proud Arabana, Kala Lagaw Ya, and Wuthathi woman from the ‘Top End’, growing up across Limilngan-Wulna Country in Humpty Doo, and Larrakia Country in Darwin. She has worked across independent projects and institutions as a curator, educator, writer, and editor. Rebekah currently works at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory as the Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture. In this role, she works with artists from across the continent on projects such as the annual Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA).


ACCA is located at 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, in the Melbourne Arts Precinct.

Enter from Sturt Street. There’s a tram stop nearby, and plenty of car parks and bike racks. It’s also a nice walk from Flinders Street train station.

ACCA is fully wheelchair accessible, with two accessible car park spaces just outside the entrance in Sturt Street and a wheelchair accessible bathroom. No need to call ahead – come on in. ACCA also has a wheelchair that is available on request for use by visitors. We also welcome Assistance Dogs in the gallery.

Read more about access and planning your visit here.