DAAFF Indigenous Curators Program and Symposium


To our Cultural Keepers,

On behalf of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, we are writing to assure you that the Cultural Keepers: DAAFF Indigenous Curators Program and Symposium will be going ahead in August 2020!

Whilst there will be changes to the format and structure of the event (no surprises that it will be a online experience!), please be assured we are fully committed to presenting a vibrant and immersive program that continues to support Art Centres, Arts Workers and Curators – our Cultural Keepers!

In light of the current situation, application closing dates have been extended to Friday, 22 May 2020, with successful applicants being notified by Thursday 29 May 2020. We wholeheartedly encourage you to submit an application and continue to keep these important connections alive through this program.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our project coordinator Shilo McNamee:  shilo@daaf.com.au or call 08 8981 0576 for more information.


The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) is once again, proud to present the Cultural Keepers: DAAFF Indigenous Curators Program and Symposium.

The event will be held online, over nine days, from the 6-14 August 2020.

DAAFF acknowledges that there has been a steadily growing number of Australian Indigenous curators (emerging & established) who visit our event each year. We know that they play a crucial role in supporting, mentoring and encouraging the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artists and Arts Workers that attend our event. We are also mindful that various projects and exhibitions are initiated and or developed, works of art are acquired, and public programming is developed as part of these conversations. The business of the broader sector is also discussed at our event.

DAAFF therefore recognises the need to create a national meeting place – an annual platform to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curators with remote community artists, Arts Workers, and their Art Centres over a focused three-day program. The prime vision is to –

  • Bring Indigenous Curators from diverse backgrounds together to share their experiences and the projects they’ve been working on, and identify current priorities and strategies that strengthen the sector and increase audience engagement.
  • Build skills and the capacity of Indigenous Art Centre staff by assisting them in curating exhibition spaces, thus ensuring Art Centres learn how to showcase their work to the highest possible standards at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and beyond.
  • Build stronger relationships and support structures between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curators, Art Centres and their staff and artists

We thank the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation who has supported DAAFF in realising this vision. 

Please note, whilst the core elements of our program will remain the same, the format and delivery will change as it is adapted as a vibrant online experience.


Program overview

Cultural Keepers: DAAFF Indigenous Curators Program and Symposium will bring  together more than 30 Indigenous curators and senior Indigenous Art Centre staff members to share their stories and projects with each other. The 2020 program will feature key note addresses, presentations, discussion panels and artist workshops with local, national, and international guests from First Nations across the world.

The program will run over nine days with additional resources and materials made available online. There will be 6 x 2 hour sessions over the period of the Fair (6-14 August 2020). 

As with previous years, the Art Centre and curator pairings will also feature in the 2020 program. The focus will be on stepping back to get a “behind the scenes”  look at the fascinatingly diverse worlds of our Art Centre senior stafff and curators.

We hope participants can also gain a better understanding of their peers’ work roles and environments, to further strengthen relationships and lay the groundwork for future projects. 

 To reflect the online focus, we have realigned our fee structure. Curators can apply for one of two separate streams:

  • Stream 1: General Participant (no subsidy provided) 
  • Stream 2: $500 subsidy to present a paper at the Symposium (10 subsidies available under this stream)

Applications extended to 22 May 2020, and successful applicants will be notified by 29 May 2020

Artwork: Happy Reid, Kungarankalpa – The Seven Sisters, Acrylic on canvas. 930mm x 1010mm, 2019. Image courtesy of Maruku Arts