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University sponsors Garma Youth Forum

19 June 2017
Staff and students to participate in Indigenous conference

As sponsor of this year’s Garma Youth Forum, we’ll host workshops for school students run by our Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Faculty of Science, Sydney College of the Arts as well as the Sydney University Law Society.

A photo of young Aboriginal people dancing in traditional dress.

Garma Youth Forum

Nearly 300 students from across Australia are gearing up for the Garma Youth Forum to be held at the Gulkula ceremonial grounds in north-east Arnhem Land from 4 August.

Sponsored by the University of Sydney’s Widening Participation and Outreach, and presented by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Youth Forum has become one of the highlights of the 2017 Garma program.

Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO Denise Bowden said about 280 young people were expected to participate this year, with students from both interstate and smaller remote Indigenous schools in Arnhem Land and surrounding homeland areas.

“The Youth Forum program teaches young people to get the best out of themselves – to grow, to learn, to respect one another, and to open their eyes to different experiences and perspectives,” she said.

“It’s designed to inspire our youth, while encouraging them to have a little fun along the way. It’s a program that draws from an Indigenous cultural curriculum and focuses on the meaning and significance of this year’s main Garma theme of Makarrata, coming together or healing.”

At the end of Garma, when the students share the insights they have gained over the course of the four-day program, they have a greater understanding of Australia’s Indigenous heritage and a better appreciation of the complexity and depth of Indigenous cultural traditions.
Denise Bowden, Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO

The University’s Sydney Conservatorium of Music will work with students to produce cutting-edge beats, while its scientists will explain how technology such as radioactive carbon dating helps us piece together our knowledge of the past and the present.

As in previous years, activities which help young people develop leadership skills and self-belief will be a major feature, such as a debating workshop run by University of Sydney law students that will teach participants how to mount a strong argument.

Once equipped with these skills, groups will debate different topics relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. There will also be a Youth Parliament where students tackle the big issues in their lives.

Story-telling, lessons in the Yolngu Matha language, Learning on Country and a range of other cultural activities are also on the program. At night, students can go on an astronomy tour where they will see the night sky through Yolngu eyes, or participate in one of the many fireside chats taking place around the site.

Mary Teague, Head of Widening Participation and Outreach at the University of Sydney, said: “The Garma Youth Forum is a significant occasion for us."

We will have the privilege of listening to young people, hearing their views and interpretations of Makarrata, a coming together for the future through facilitating the sharing of knowledge, culture and lived experience in the heart of Yolngu Country.
Mary Teague, Head of Widening Participation and Outreach, University of Sydney