We wish to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers that this website may contain images and voices of people who are deceased. Care and discretion is advised when accessing the content within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
Open or close the naviagtion menu
Open or close the Search
CIAF 2023


Presenting feature speakers and conversation panels, CIAF 2024's Symposium seeks to expound and educate towards a deeper understanding of the theme "Country Speaking".

Don't miss this thought-provoking and inspiring event on Friday July 26 and Saturday July 27 at Bulmba-Ja Arts Centre.



Country in a western sense can be described an area of land that has its own government or land that is not in towns.

Country with a capital ‘C’ as used by First Nations people embodies the deep connection to the land, waters, skies and seas within their Nation and Clans. It is also much more. 

It encompasses the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental relationship to Country.

Country is inclusive of the tangible living and breathing landscapes and the animals nourished by it. The ancient songlines of 65,000 years of ancestral connections deepen First Nation People’s relationship with Country which cannot always be seen but is intangible.

CIAF 2024 Symposium seeks to expound and educate towards a deeper understanding of Country speaking.    


CIAF 2024

MC: Troy Casey 

Troy is passionate about harnessing economic opportunities to create positive social change for First Nations Australians. He combines his extensive community engagement experience with his curatorial practice, working collaboratively with communities to ensure First Nations voices are embedded across projects within public art, placemaking, and urban design. Troy is also a Director of Magpie Goose, Co-founder and Chairperson of Aboriginal Art Co, a member of the QLD Children's Hospital Art in Health Committee, and a member of Creative Australia's First Nations Arts & Culture Panel. 

CIAF 2024


Dr Jilda Andrews

Jilda Andrews is a Yuwaalaraay cultural practitioner and museum ethnographer based in Canberra. Her work investigates the cultural ecologies surrounding material culture in museum collections. By drawing from processes of country and culture, Jilda pushes the concept of custodianship from one intent on the preservation of objects, to one that is active in maintaining connections between objects and the dynamic systems that produce them.  

Jilda is a Research Fellow with the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University. Recent projects include visitor engagement consultant for the Australian Pavilion in the World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan and conceptual development of the National Museum of Australia’s gallery of environmental history Great Southern Land (2022). Jilda is a member of the Advisory Committee on Indigenous Repatriation for the Australian Government and the Co-chair of the Advisory Council for the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia, USA. 


Country Speaking : towards Ancestral Futures 

In this presentation, Jilda will share ways she has explored the concept of Ancestral Futures and applied it to distinct Indigenous Australian contexts. This work is exciting and energising - particularly how it has helped to express, reference and reframe aspects of Jilda’s work from being a colonial response, to being accountable to strong cultural futures.

Day 1: Friday July 26 program

10am: MC acknowledgements and housekeeping followed by Opening Address by CIAF Artistic Director Francoise Lane 

10:10am: Dr Jilda Andrews presentation

10:30am: Question time

10:45am: Break (15 minutes) 


11am: MC introduce Conversation Panel Facilitator and Panelists 

11:05am: Conversation starts

11:30am: Question time (moderated by the MC)

11.45am: Break (for 15 minutes)

Conversation title: Country Speaking. Lean in and listen up! 

Conversation Statement: Lean in and listen up as we explore how a deep connection to Country is sensed and formed by the Cairns based Deaf Indigenous Group cultural performers Nathaniel Fourmile, Patty Morris Banjo and Sue Frank facilitated by Francoise Lane CIAF Artistic Director. 

Yarning Circle participants: 

Patty Banjo Patterson - Deaf Indigenous Dance Group Cairns 

Sue Frank, Deaf Indigenous Dance Group Cairns 

Kim Ross, Interpreter 


Conversation title: Traditional Owners and Artists, no boundary lines here 

Conversation Statement: Yarning circle members will explore from their personal experiences the practice of connecting with Country that is not defined by colonised terms of creative disciplines or professions but rather the expression of relationship to Country as a cultural practice.   

12pm: MC introduce Conversation Group B Facilitator and Panelists 

12:30pm: Question time (moderated by MC) 

12:45 pm: MC wrap up

CIAF 2024



Dr Danièle Hromek is a Saltwater woman of Budawang/Dhurga/Yuin and Burrier/Dharawal ancestry, with French and Czech heritage. 

Danièle is a spatial designer and Country-Centred designer. Danièle is the first Indigenous person in Australia to achieve a PhD in spatial disciplines. Her research and experience contributed to the Connecting with Country framework and Designing with Country discussion piece by Government Architect NSW. Danièle is appointed to the Heritage Council NSW and also sits on the NSW and ACT Design Review Panels.  

As director of Djinjama, Danièle’s methodologies lead their approach to working with Country. Her work as a designer, researcher, educator and cultural advisor brings Country, culture and community to the built environment by creating spaces to substantially affect Indigenous rights and culture. Clients include state and local government, museums and galleries, as well as industry including architects, planners, designers, heritage and engineering firms. 

Danièle holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Design) in spatial disciplines, and Bachelor of Design (Interior Spatial Design, Performance major). Danièle's foundational research within her doctoral thesis of 2019, 'The (Re)Indigenisation of Space: Weaving narratives of resistance to embed Nura [Country] in design' considers Aboriginal peoples’ comprehension of space, exploring spatial reclamation and lived experiences of space to reveal connections between Country, people and practice. This work was included on the UTS’s Chancellor’s List 2020 which recognises outstanding doctoral theses that are judged to be of the highest calibre. 

Conversation title: Reading Country - Seeing deep into the bush’ 

Conversation Statement 

As First Nations peoples, our connection with Country is inherent; we are born with this gift of our heritage. Even when we are not “on Country,” we carry Country within us; our essence originates via the Dreaming from our Country, as does our potentiality and our ability to innovate, adapt to change and maintain our cultures. Country is alive and sentient. It has the capacity to communicate and create. For First Nations creatives and designers, these ancient knowledges and ways of understanding our world enter contemporary design processes through our cultural practices and expressions, and via the deep inheritance of Country. Spending time on Country with Elders and Knowledge Holders means we can interrogate this direct correlation between Country, people and space, and integrate it into our practice. This talk will explore one process for integrating Country into design and creative processes, as shared by Dr Danièle Hromek’s beloved grandmother. 

Day 2: Saturday July 27 program



10am: MC acknowledgements, housekeeping and introduction of conversation group facilitator and panellists  

10:30am: Facilitator/MC moderates question time

10:45am: Break 

Conversation title: Deep diving. Integrating Country in the built environment and diving under the surface. 

Conversation Statement: Deep diving into cultural design values integrated into the built environment go beyond the surface inclusion of public art. Is it important to uphold project specific culturally identified values in public infrastructure project? Should cultural values motivate built form and function, and the inclusion of public art? How do the two co-exist to advance Australian Indigenous self-determination in the built environment?   


Teho Ropeyarn, Curatorial Associate at CIAF

Dr Danièle Hromek, Spatial designer, academic, researcher 

Troy Casey, Facilitator 


Conversation title: Creative cultural expression beyond boxing    

Conversation Statement: Yarning circle members Desert-Rain Magpie, Lynelle Flinders and Delvene Cockatoo Collins speak to their multidisciplinary practices allowing them to culturally express the depths of their relationship with Country.   

11am: MC introduces the Yarning Circle title and statement and facilitator introduces the panellists and kicks off the conversation. 

11:30am: Question time moderated by MC/Facilitator. 

11:45am: Break (15 minutes)


Desert-Rain Magpie, artist, weaver  

Lynelle Flinders, artist, designer and Yarrabah Arts Centre Manager 

Delvene Cockatoo Collins, artist, designer and weaver 

Troy Casey, Facilitator 


12pm: MC introduces closing speaker Dr Daniele Hromek

12:30pm: Question time moderated by MC 

12:45pm: MC wrap up