The University of Sydney hosted a celebration of diverse traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture from different sides of the world, in collaboration with Minzu University of China and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.
As part of the University of Sydney’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu objectives to foster local and global partnerships, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) established a strategic relationship with Minzu University of China (MUC) and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC).
Over the last five years there have been reciprocal visits by delegations from Sydney and Beijing, to promote research and advance the academy of the cultural heritage, knowledge and cultural expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ethnic minorities in China.
In September this year, the University of Sydney hosted a Chinese delegation on a visit to Aboriginal communities and agencies in central Australia, a symposium on campus and two concerts to celebrate the life, arts and knowledge of Indigenous culture.
The Sharing Spaces: a Night of Chinese and Aboriginal dance performances brought together ethnic minority Chinese dancers from Beijing and performers from the University’s Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as well as the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe who performed the Welcome to Country as part of their Corroboree. The performances celebrated diverse traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture from different sides of the world.
Professor Juanita Sherwood, the University’s acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), invited the guests to enjoy the vibrant cultures of both China and Indigenous Australia.
“The Sharing Spaces performances were a key highlight of a visit to Australia by academics and students from Minzu University of China and SEAC delegates, to further strengthen our ties,” she said.
With a shared interest in the social, economic and cultural issues confronting ethnic minorities in China and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, our collaboration invests in important academic exchange and research in these areas.
The Vice President of Minzu University of China, Professor Song Min, said: "The University of Sydney and Minzu University of China have established this fine cooperation and friendship with each other based on the unique mission of both sides to dedicate to the welfare of Indigenous people in Australia and ethnic minorities in China.
"'Diversity in Unity, Theory in Practice' is the motto of our university, and also the university culture. The essence of that is people's appreciation of and respect for other cultures while appreciating and respecting their own.
"Minzu University of China is looking forward to a more profound and comprehensive academic and scientific collaboration with the University of Sydney in wider areas of studies."
Indigenous voices and the spectacular sounds from traditional instruments such as the horsehead fiddle, rawap, dutar and the Yidaki (Didgeridoo) featured in the events held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre in Chippendale.