Keynote Speakers

Constellation by Gail Mabo. © Gail Mabo/Copyright Agency, 2021

Gail Mabo

Gail Mabo is a multi-disciplinary artist, currently residing in Townsville, whose practices include dance, acting and visual art. She was born in Queensland in 1965 to revered land rights activist Eddie Mabo and Bonita Mabo. After completing her early education at the first school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Townsville, opened by her father in the 1970s, Gail studied dance at the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre in Sydney from 1984 to 1987.   She performed in Jimmy Chi’s Bran Nue Dae in its 1991 Sydney season and worked as a choreographer and dancer in Tracey Moffat’s 1986 short film Watch Out and as an actor in Moffat’s Nice Coloured Girls in 1985. In 2005 she directed the stage show Koiki which was a performance based on the life of her father. In 2005 she completed a Certificate IV in Visual Arts at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE and a Diploma of Visual Arts at the same TAFE in 2007. She has enjoyed immediate success as a visual artist that has seen her involved in many group and solo exhibitions across Australia. Her work deals with contemporary expressions of Indigenous identity, peeling back of layers of history to reveal the spirits of the Indigenous peoples who lived on these lands. Much of her work is inspired by connection to land, and invites the audience to reflect on their own lives and experiences within this land. 

Jim Everett – Puralia Meenamatta

Playwright, poet, and political activist Jim Everett – Puralia Meenamatta is descended from the Ben Lomond people, a clan of the Cape Portland nations in North-east Tasmania. His name Pura-lia Meenamatta meaning ‘paperbark’ from the Ben Lomond area, is taken from his main ancestory, the Plangermairreenner people. Everett left primary school at age 14 to begin work. His working life included thirteen years at sea and over thirty years of formal involvement in the Aboriginal struggle. He has had a long history in the public service in Aboriginal Affairs, as well as lecturing in Aboriginal heritage, culture and history, producing radio and television progams, and has also been a Writer-in-Residence at Risdon Cove in Tasmania and has travelled extensively in Australia visiting many remote Aboriginal communities. Jim began writing poetry at an early age. He wrote his first play, ‘Survivors’ in 1984 after seeing Jack Davis’ play The Dreamers. His written works now include plays, political papers and short stories and he has been published in many major anthologies. Jim’s other work includes, television documentaries, educational videos and theatre productions. He has lived on Cape Barren Island writing and operating his consultais currently finishing a masters degree about ‘learning to understand Aboriginal philosophy.

Alice Te Punga Somerville

Dorothy Green Memorial Lecture

Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) is a scholar, poet and irredentist. She writes and teaches at the intersections of literary studies, Indigenous studies and Pacific studies; since January 2022 she has been professor of English and of Critical Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her publications include Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania (Minnesota 2012), 250 Ways To Start an Essay about Captain Cook (BWB 2020) and a (forthcoming) book of poetry Always Italicise: how to write while colonised (AUP 2022). Her current research project, ‘Writing the new world: Indigenous texts 1900-1975,’ challenges widely-accepted ‘origin’ stories of Indigenous literatures by focussing on writing published (in English and in Indigenous languages) by Indigenous people from New Zealand, Australia, Hawai’i and Fiji.

Jeanine Leane

Barry Andrews Memorial Lecture

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from south-west New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887–1961 (Presspress, 2010) won the 2010 Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP),won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia, Journal for the Association of Australian Literary Studies, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland, Best Australian Poems, Lifted Brow, Southerly and Australian Book Review.

Evelyn Araluen

ASAL Early Career Research Lecture

Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland Literary Journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry has been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship, and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation.

We acknowledge the palawa/pakana and Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live and work. We honour their enduring culture and knowledges as vital to the self-determination, wellbeing and resilience of their communities, and to shaping a just, inclusive and equitable Australian society.