KALACC Festival on touring to secure new donors
The KALACC Aboriginal festival of culture in the Kimberley provides a rare opportunity to listen and learn from Aboriginal elders and key representatives.
Creative Partnerships Australia, in partnership with the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC), hosted a Philanthropy Tour to coincide with the KALACC Festival, which took place in the community of Jarlmadangah, three and a half hours drive from Broome.
Private donors, trustees of private foundations and corporate leaders joined the tour to learn more about Aboriginal culture in the Kimberley and improving the impact of grant making to Aboriginal communities.
We spoke with James Boyd, our State Manager: Western Australia & South Australia, to find out more about the tour and the festival.
James, can you give us a quick overview of the purpose of the KALACC Philanthropy Tour and how this opportunity came about?
The Philanthropy Tour provides a unique opportunity to learn about how Kimberley Aboriginal communities operate. The tour focuses on the importance of culture and the vital role it plays in Aboriginal wellbeing in remote communities.
The tour also directly connects grant-makers to Aboriginal leaders and elders, who are able to advise and monitor grants supporting locally driven initiatives. It enables direct access, which is otherwise difficult to arrange.
The tour was organised to actively engage new potential donors, following the end of two major grants that had previously supported the KALACC Festival.. Voluntary donations from tour participants raised nearly $100,000 towards the cost of the event. The festival may not have gone ahead without this financial support.
What was Creative Partnerships’ role in the project?
Creative Partnerships collaborated with KALACC to organise the tour in order to provide direct connections with potential supporters from both the philanthropic and business sectors. Creative Partnerships helped KALACC identify those with an interest in Aboriginal investment and coordinated valuable learning and connecting opportunities. The KALACC Festival is a closed Aboriginal festival. Guests attend by invitation only. So Creative Partnerships worked closely with KALACC to create an environment for two-way learning and opportunity.
The theme for this year’s Festival was “Strong Culture, Strong Community”; was there a particular matching process involved in selecting the tour participants?
US indigenous cultural researcher Michael J. Chandler (2012) strongly advocates that the ‘cultural wounds’ suffered by Aboriginal people over the years require ‘cultural medicines’. KALACC’s mission of cultural maintenance and encouraging participation in song, story and dance to keep culture strong is, for Mr Chandler, the foundation of positive change and Aboriginal well-being.
The tour was, therefore, offered to philanthropic and corporate leaders with significant interest in Aboriginal community well-being. The depth of participation in cultural activity at the festival, across languages and ages, is incredible.
The community benefits are clear to see. There was no shortage of interest to attend the tour. However, participation numbers are limited and it can be hard for some to commit to a week out of mobile range!
Were there any key turning points on the Tour for the group?
The entire experience was well received, from the Welcome to Country in Broome to observing the Annual General Meetings of the Kimberley Land Council, KALACC and Kimberley Language Resource Centre. The Nulungu Research Institute provided terrific background research and an explanation regarding the significance of the festival. There were also a number of very personal and unique experiences we heard of – life changing experiences for some.
Generally speaking, the tour party was highly impressed by the best practice governance, leadership and negotiation displayed, particularly throughout the AGMs we were privileged to sit in on.
In addition, the depth of Kimberley culture and art visible was extraordinary. The traditional dancing each evening was a rare privilege to witness.
What did you personally take away from the tour and your experience at the KALACC Festival?
I was reminded of the goodwill that exists in both the philanthropic and corporate sectors to improve the challenges faced by many remote Aboriginal communities. I was also reminded of the urgent need for this support. The governance and political processes across the Kimberley are very strong.
A wonderful opportunity exists for more philanthropic and corporate organisations to engage in the Kimberley, build strong local relationships and long successful partnerships.
What were some of the agreed measures of success for the Tour and how do you think it measured up?
The measures of success for the tour include participants gaining greater knowledge and understanding of remote Kimberley communities and what their challenges are, as well as establishing relationships that could lead to funding partnerships to support these communities in the future.
The first of these was certainly achieved and there are signs that some ongoing relationships will flow from the trip and may lead to partnerships to support Indigenous organisations in the Kimberley.
As a State Manager, what would you say is your key role?
I hope that sharing my experience raising support from the private sector for arts and culture will help those working in the sector today. Fundraising is not easy. It’s all about strategic thinking, aligning interests and working towards shared goals – and every situation is different.
I hope the advice and mentoring sessions I provide make the job easier and glean more success. The opportunity to connect passion with opportunity is the ultimate goal.
Quotes from participants
The KALACC festival provided a fantastic window into the vibrant culture of the different Kimberley language groups. The ability to experience first-hand the celebration of land, law and culture of the region was a privilege. While there are many challenges facing indigenous communities in the region, the ability to hear leaders articulating a vision for a better future was inspiring and moving. I came away with a more nuanced and personal understanding of the dynamics at work in remote communities.
Trevor Thomas, John T Reid Charitable Trusts
It was an intense opportunity with many feeling very positive towards continuing or committing to supporting the communities of the Kimberley…..The tour enabled face to face contact with those who have great passion for the culture, language and land of the Kimberley peoples. We were able to experience the vastness of the country, the difficulties of service delivery and hear of the significant challenges particularly for young people in the region.
Annie Grindrod, John T Reid Charitable Trusts
As an event which is closed to the general public and remotely located, the special access, unique learning opportunities and personal contacts made available to us made for a powerful experience. The intrinsic link between land, language, culture and well-being was a strong take-home message.
Paula Thomson, Portland House Foundation