Bruce Shillingsworth Snr. is the Festival Director and is a Murawari – Budgiti man from northwestern NSW, now residing in Waterloo, Sydney. Bruce has been a lifelong advocate for the education of Aboriginal people and the environment, and currently works for the Department of Education as an educator where he has established dance groups in communities and schools across the state. This work has brought him in to working partnerships with those groups that are helping build the fabric of support for the festival, including Elders groups, LALCs and Community Working Parties.
Bruce’s involvement in the arts, as a performer, dance instructor and visual artist all his life includes his involvement in a range of performance types and venues. This includes the Sydney Opera House for NAIDOC Week in 2013 and more recently supporting Beyonce in her Australian tour by playing the yidiki as part of the opening at Acer Arena.
Dr Jenny Brown is the Coordinator and curator who over the past twenty-five years has worked in training and welfare (technical colleges, community organisations and universities), arts and culture (local government, regional roles and statewide strategies), and broadcasting regulation. Jenny has worked on two significant large-scale projects with artists and communities. For the BHP Ribbons of Steel Festival commemorating the closure of steelmaking in Newcastle she provided support for performances and curated over 50 indoor and outdoor exhibitions with steelmakers and the community. A sculptural trail she initiated and curated employed fifteen artists and two-hundred community members. Jenny has exhibited her work in over ten countries including the New York Film Anthologies and the Kandos Cementa_15 Contemporary Arts Festival.
Phil Duncan is the Festival Patron and he is the Australian Ambassador for World Fish Migration Day 2020, and a member of committees for the Murray Darling Basin Plan Authority (Community) and for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Phil is from Moree NSW, is a member of the Gomeroi Nation and an elected representative of the Gomeroi Nation Native Title Claimant Group: My homelands are Moree and Terry Hie Hie. Phil is currently employed at Macquarie University as the Aboriginal Cultural training Coordinator and provides high-level policy and strategic advice to key Indigenous issues of significance.
Aboriginal Advisory Group
Shane Phillips is an outstanding community leader and respected spokesperson for Aboriginal Australians. Shane is passionate about the importance of empowering Aboriginal people and is a dedicated contributor to a range of community organisations. He has cultural connections to the Bunjalung, Wonnarua, and Eora peoples. Shane is the CEO of the Tribal Warrior Corporation that was established by concerned Aboriginal people with a view to spread and vitalise Aboriginal culture, and to provide economic and social stability.
Steve Miller is the Aboriginal Programs Manager at Museums & Galleries of NSW and convenes the NSW Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts Association (AACHAA). ACHAA represents the interests of its member organisations, comprising Aboriginal community owned cultural venues and their supporters from around the state. ACHAA members who have a presence in locations for Yaama Ngunna Baaka are:
Dharriwaa Elders Group of Walgett supports Aboriginal Elders to resume leadership roles in the community, keeping active and healthy; promote local Aboriginal cultural knowledge and identity; and develop the Walgett Aboriginal community.
Muda Aboriginal Corporation of Bourke broadcasts across the region as 2CuzFM, provides cultural tours and maintains a sculpture park in the station grounds and is opening a new gallery to support local artists.
Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Centre seeks to manage, protect and promote Brewarrina Aboriginal cultural heritage and maintain other traditional and contemporary cultural practices, including social, artistic, linguistic and recreational pursuits.
Baaka Corporation of Wilcannia has received Federal and state government funding to build a new Aboriginal cultural centre and is currently in its planning and development.