With COVID-19 preventing large gatherings and close social contact, National Reconciliation Week is looking a little different this year.

While no one could have predicted the accuracy of this year’s theme, ‘In this together’, many have banded together to provide unique events and experiences to make National Reconciliation Week 2020 one to remember.

Read below for NIT’s wrap on some of the COVID-safe events available this National Reconciliation Week, from May 27 to June 3.


Reconciliation Australia

To officially open National Reconciliation Week 2020, Reconciliation Australia is asking everyone across the country to take to social media on Wednesday May 27 at 12.00 AEST to acknowledge Country at a time when traditional acknowledgements and welcomes are unable to be shared in person.

Reconciliation Australia is encouraging people to refer to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ (AIATSIS) map of Indigenous Australia if they are unsure whose Country they are on.

The preferred social media tags are #InThisTogether2020 and #NRW2020.

National Reconciliation Week runs from May 27 to June 3. Photo supplied.

Thursday May 28 will see an hour-long panel from 12.00pm-1.00pm AEST discussing the bridge walks of 2000 and Reconciliation efforts since.

An historic event, the Walk for Reconciliation saw hundreds of thousands of Australians cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of Reconciliation.

It’s estimated the crowd hit 250,000 people—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—and is said to be the largest political demonstration ever held in Australia.

Hosted by Larissa Behrendt of ABC Radio’s Speaking Out, 20 years on: Crossing Bridges for Reconciliation will feature four panellists:

  • Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt
  • Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney
  • Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine
  • University of Wollongong Lecturer, Summer May Finlay.

The panel will air live via Reconciliation Australia and ABC Australia’s Facebook Livestreams and will be later broadcast across various platforms. For more information, visit: https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/2020/05/21/20-years-on-crossing-bridges-for-reconciliation/.


For some Friday night fun, Reconciliation Australia and ABC are streaming In Concert Together to celebrate Indigenous musicians.

Wergaia/Wemba Wemba singer Alice Skye, talented duo Busby Marou and Larrakia MC Jimblah will all be performing in the hour-long set.

Proud Torres Strait Islander musician, Christine Anu, will host the concert on her National Evenings show from 9.05pm-10.00pm AEST on ABC Radio.

The concert will also be available to view on Facebook Livestream via Reconciliation Australia, ABC Sydney or ABC Australia’s Facebook pages.

For more information, visit: https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/2020/05/21/in-concert-together/.


Indigenous Wellbeing Centre

Usually gathering at their Health and Wellbeing Complex in Bundaberg, Queensland, the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) has this year taken their National Reconciliation Week celebrations online.

An Aboriginal community-controlled organisation (ACCO), the IWC has compiled a resource for people to visit and learn more about Aboriginal languages, art, and healing circles, among others.

Taribelang Cultural Aboriginal Corporation’s Byron Broome (L) and Elder Uncle Willy Broome (R) with an artefact exhibition, now featured online. Photo supplied.

Although launched for National Reconciliation Week, the IWC will make the resources a permanent feature on their website after the week has finished.

Visitors to the website will be able to watch interviews with Traditional Owners and Elders, see the large art panels that wrap the Bundaberg complex, learn about the Taribelang language of the Bundaberg region and much more.

To explore this huge resource, head to: https://www.iwc.org.au/reconciliation-in-action-1.


National Gallery of Victoria

Adding to the abundance of virtual events available this National Reconciliation Week, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) have planned a range of events for those interested in Indigenous arts practice and Indigenous art from the NGV Collection.

In conversation for Behind the Art of Destiny Deacon on the evening of Wednesday May 27, NGV’s Curator of Indigenous Art, Myles Russell-Cook, and Curator of Contemporary Art, Jane Devery, will be taking a deep dive into the works of acclaimed contemporary artist Destiny Deacon.

The Kuku and Erub/Mer artist is bold in her contrasting use of tragedy and comedy. Russell-Cook and Devery will discuss how Deacon explores these to make sense of her world, as well as her career exhibition DESTINY taking place at the NGV later in the year.

Although the event is free, bookings are required. To book, visit: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/program/behind-the-art-of-destiny-deacon/#date0.


A major event in the NGV program will be a live, in-studio chat with Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander artist, Lisa Waup.

Streaming via Instagram on the final day of National Reconciliation Week, Waup will discuss her art practices and processes, which include printmaking and weaving.

Feathers and other found objects are Waup’s go-to materials, which she uses to create works representing her ancestors and connection to Country.

Lisa Waup in her studio, Melbourne 2019. Photo by Selina Ou.

Waup will be in discussion with NGV Curator of Indigenous Art, Hannah Presley, about working during COVID-19 and how it’s affected her role as Programs Coordinator at Mornington Indigenous art centre, Baluk Arts.

To watch, head to @ngvmelbourne on Instagram at 6.00pm AEST, Wednesday June 3.


FanForce TV

New community streaming platform, FanForce TV, is presenting their inaugural Virtual Indigenous Film Festival from May 27 until June 2 in line with National Reconciliation Week.

Eight virtual events will include film screenings of:

  • In My Blood it Runs
  • The Australian Dream
  • Gurrumul
  • Undermined
  • Namatjira Project
  • Zach’s Ceremony.

There will also be a number of guest speakers throughout the week, including Director of Gurrumul, Paul Williams, Zach and Alex Doomadgee of Zach’s Ceremony, and Director of Undermined, Nic Wrathall.

For more information and tickets, head to: https://www.fanforcetv.com/categories/fftvreconciliationweek2020.


National Film and Sound Archive

Another Friday night special, the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) is hosting a free online screening of Mabo: Life of an Island Man.

Digitally restored by the NFSA as part of their film restoration program, the documentary tells the story of its namesake, Eddie Mabo, and his fight for the historic 1992 decision that formed the basis of what we now know as the Native Title Act (1993).

After the screening will be an exclusive Q&A with the film’s Director, Trevor Graham, and the NFSA’s Indigenous Connections Manager, Tasha James.

Viewers can ask Graham questions via live chat on the night or can send them in beforehand by Thursday May 28.

For more information and to register for the event, head to: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/nfsa-live-presents-mabo-life-of-an-island-man-qa-registration-105743800554.

By Hannah Cross