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Cultural Camp Success Brings Growth

This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports sustainable cultural development in regional, rural and remote Australia to give artists and communities better access to opportunities to practise and experience the arts.


The combination of workshops in dance and culture which underpinned the success of the first Saltwater Freshwater Cultural Camp in 2013 has proven to be an outstanding success for the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance.

Despite increasing the number of places available from 20 to 30, Aboriginal Cultural Programs Coordinator, Shar Goodwin says the demand for places in the camp this week has been so high there is a waiting list.

‘We had such amazing feedback from last year’s camp that we’ve used it as the model for this camp that will cater for  young Aboriginal people aged 15-18 years and in the Land Council regions in Taree, Forster and Karuah,’ Goodwin says.

Goodwin says the first camp was developed in response to a call from the community to revive dance, but also to give the youth contact with mentors through cultural workshops in art and craft, didgeridoo playing, language, campfires and bushtucker.

‘Our aim is to have the impact of the camp extend beyond the three days and that long term relationships will develop between the young people, the dancers and the mentors,’ she says.

One of the major outcomes from the camp will be the opportunity for those who attend to perform in the (Our) Flash Mob in Forster during NAIDOC week and at the Saltwater Freshwater Festival 2015 in Coffs Harbour.

Following last year’s camp, four of the participants were selected to attend a NAISDA dance camp, with two invited to apply to NAISDA to study dance.

The camp also provided employment for 22 Aboriginal people and strengthened the link between the young people and elders.

The project was documented through photographs and a video of the six minute dance created over the three days. You can read about the 2013 camp and view the video here.