Conference paper

The 2011 annual Garma Festival was staged from Friday 5 August and the closing ceremony concluded the afternoon of Monday 8th August. The Key Forum theme was Academic Excellence & Cultural Integrity, a topic that flowed on from the 2010 Key Theme of Indigenous Education & Training.

The Board of the Yothu Yindi Foundation were committed to reinforcing the educational component at this years Festival, based upon the priorities of the Foundation being to improve the state of education for the Arnhem region as a priority; to establish a Garma Cultural Studies Institute and re-establish a Dhupuma College on the Gulkula site where it previously operated decades ago.

The key components of the Garma Festival are:

The Key Forum
The Cultural Tourism Stream
Gong Wapitja Womens Program
The Youth Forum
Bunggul (ancient dance), accompanied by Manikay (song), Bilma (clap stick) and the Yidaki, the oldest instrument in the world.
The Gapan Gallery
Musical performances
Message Stick Film Festival

These components merge to produce an overall experience that Garma is renowned for. Through this mix the Festival has gained the attention of a national and international audience. Participants from across the globe make an enormous commitment in travelling to this unique and remote location whereupon they camp atop the Gulkula escarpment overlooking the Gulf of Carpentaria. The cultural displays on hand over the Festival period is unique and authentic and this produces the essence of Garma. 

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