Timor-Leste: Then and Now—Symposium, Exhibition and Public Programs

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Publish date: 
15 Mar 2018
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Student Conservators for Timor-Leste: Camielle Fitzmaurice & Maria Halkias

Photo 1: Traditional weaving demonstration

Student Conservators for Timor-Leste (SCTL) held a symposium on 27 October 2017, marking the beginning of a two-week exhibition, to commemorate fifteen years of East-Timorese independence. Developed and produced by the graduate student association group, Student Conservators for Timor-Leste (SCTL), with the support of Afalyca Arts Centre, Box Hill Community Arts Centre (BHCAC) and the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, the focus was on illuminating the vibrant cultural heritage of Timor-Leste.

Speakers included specialist cultural knowledge holder Marqy da Costa (Afalyca Arts Centre, Baucau), infamous activist Pat-Walsh, Jose Dos Santos, Kim Dunphy and Holly Schauble (representative from Many Hands International). Attendees included University of Melbourne staff, students, East-Timorese community members and special guest Kirsty Sword-Gusmao (former First Lady of Timor-Leste). Collections on exhibition celebrated both contemporary and traditional cultural heritage items from Timor-Leste.

Tais - traditional East Timorese woven textiles

Highlights were tais (traditional Timorese textiles) on loan from East-Timor Women Australia, and linocuts prints produced by students of Afalyca Arts Centre in Baucau, in collaboration with BHCAC. Video oral histories from Peter Lay, and photographic materials were generously provided by the Melbourne East-Timorese Activity Centre (METAC).

Public programs covered traditional dance, contemporary printmaking and film screenings. This event was generously sponsored by the University of Melbourne, through a successful application for a Student Services and Amenities Fee grant. With 200 plus attendees the entire event was an exciting success.

Big thanks to Rachel Jones, the SCTL committee, and The Good Room @ The Foundling Archive. Unfortunately activist-turned-archivist John Waddingham, from CHART Inc,. was in Timor at the time of the event. The SCTL look forward to updating you on our digitisation activities associated with our CHART Inc. partnership, as well as a detailed report on the exhibition and symposium later in the year.