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The regional arts national conference and arts festival will be held in Dubbo 27 – 30 October this year. This unique event occurs every second year in a different state in a regional location, hosted by the local regional arts agency.  This year Regional Arts NSW in Dubbo will host it.  It’s been fourteen years since the national conference was last held in NSW, in Albury. In 2014 it was held in Kalgoorlie, WA and in 2018 will be held in Victoria.

People working in all parts of the arts sector will be attending including artists, arts workers, as well as state and national leaders for four days of discussion, conversations and networking around the themes of Regeneration, Emergence and Connectedness.  Inspiring keynote speakers and panels will be followed by parallel sessions of panels, presentations, forums and hands on workshops. International speakers include Clive Parkinson, Arts and Health, Manchester UK, Skinder Hundel, Chief Executive, New Arts Exchange, Nottingham, Ricard Peach, Director of the Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba, a multi-artform arts festival in Mangaung, South Africa, Henk Keizer from the Netherlands and Karl Johnstone, recently director of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and now running his own consultancy. Australian speakers include Mark McMillan, Lee-Ann Buckskin and Kate Fielding.  A final panel exploring national thought leadership for regional Australia will consist of Lindy Hume, Opera Queensland; Mathew Trinca, National Museum of Australia, Wesley Enoch; Sydney Festival and Michael William, Wheeler Centre with Regional Arts Australia champion, Anne Dunn.

Parallel sessions include forums on regional theatre making practice, the value of regional festivals, a diverse range of panels and presentations on regional arts practice and projects and info sessions from a number of national arts bodies.

Described as part conference, part festival, all arts, ARTLANDS has a fully curated arts festival accompanying the conference, and all festival events are open to the general public.  The festival director, Greg Pritchard, has been based in Dubbo for the past 18 months sourcing the best performers and artists from regional NSW to showcase the outstanding calibre of arts practice in this state. The festival program has a mixture of exhibitions, performances, installations and interventions throughout the ARTLANDS precinct. This precinct has been tightly defined to enable delegates to walk between venues.

All artists involved in the festival are either regionally based or have a connection to Dubbo. Highlights include a newly commissioned exhibition of NSW Aboriginal artists curated by Djon Mundine OAM, concerts with an eclectic mix of musical styles including an Aboriginal super star line up performing as Buried Country, contemporary dance, physical theatre and readings by regionally based companies.  Adding to the festival atmosphere will be outdoor installations, night time projections and illuminations and roving street performers.

An Art Fair will be held at the Centenary Pavilion at the Showground on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Over 20 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists and makers from across regional NSW will have hand crafted art works on sale.

Another feature of the event will be an outdoor Master Fibre Makers Gathering in Victoria Park on Friday and Saturday afternoon. This project will see ten regional NSW master Aboriginal weavers join with four Tasmanians and four Torres Strait Islanders holding drop in workshops and sharing skills and techniques throughout the day.  Through this process they will be building a collaborative sculptural piece that will be presented to the Dubbo Regional Council on completion as a permanent legacy of the event.

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