This year the Capital Venues and Events Team is supporting Stories Told, a photographic exhibition, showcasing beautiful images of the Karen Community by documentary photographer, Donna Bailey. We are also supporting the Many Songs One Heart community based art project to be displayed at the Bendigo Library. It aims to depict that regardless of our cultural differences and expressions, we all share universal needs and values. It will enable people to come together and participate in a series of workshops with visual artist, Stella Levak.

Culture is about who we are, how we define ourselves and how we make meaning of the world around us. The Festival of Cultures provides an opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate cultural traditions and customs, this can be expressed through dance, visual art, music and performance and by the sharing of stories. The Festival also brings together a range of community groups, individuals and agencies to work in collaboration.

I’ve worked at the City of Greater Bendigo, as an Arts and Cultural Development practitioner for over 12 years and have supported The Festival of Cultures since its inception.

Much of the work that I do focuses on long term cultural development outcomes. It’s really important that our communities are able to access and engage in a range of arts based activity and initiatives. Projects such as this festival help us to understand other people’s experiences, develop our sense of compassion and humanity and provide a public platform for expression. There is an abundance of research that outlines the benefits of community based arts approaches, engagement in the arts can overcome cultural and linguistic barriers. 

We have a Cultural Diversity Inclusion Plan now which we are very committed to implementing and the Festival is part of that and providing opportunities for our very diverse communities to connect with one another and share in the work that we do. It is a community plan so it is about all of us sharing that vision together and creating a more harmonious and peaceful community to live in.

I try to support the festival by attending as many events as I can, my calendar is already full! I’ve put them all in my diary and very much looking forward to participating and just celebrating with the broader community.