$530,000 committed for NAISDA creative learning centre

An artist’s impression of Naya Wa Yugali

The National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) has welcomed a $530,000 commitment from the State Government for a Final Business Case to establish Naya Wa Yugali, Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Creative Learning.

Naya Wa Yugali, meaning We Dance in Darkinjung language, will be located adjacent to NAISDA’s Kariong campus.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin announced the grant on June 18.

“With 13 of the 16 Bangarra Dance Theatre dancers currently performing in Sandsong at the Sydney Opera House being former students of NAISDA, there is absolutely no doubt the impact of NAISDA is profound,” Harwin said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said NAISDA is Australia’s only arts training organisation delivering nationally-accredited performing arts courses and qualifications specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

NAISDA Chairperson, Mayrah Sonter, said the organisation was delighted by the Government’s recognition and investment towards Naya Wa Yugali, which will be the country’s first International Centre of Excellence for Cultural and Creative Learning, to be built on Darkinjung Land at Mount Penang Parklands, Kariong.

“Our long-term vision and growth has national impact,” Sonter said.

“Working in powerful partnership with our many Communities, Elders and Cultural Leaders we are excited and eager to continue our vital role of equipping First Nations young people with skills, qualifications and meaningful careers that keep our Songlines strong for all Australians.

“Centred around an outdoor Dancing Ground, the purpose built facilities will provide secure and culturally appropriate onsite accommodation, teaching and studios spaces for an expanded student cohort.

“Open learning programs performances, showcases and visiting international residences will deliver First Nations art sector development, drive learning excellence and innovation and celebrate the richness of our first cultures.”

Sonter said Naya Wa Yugali will have significant impact not only for the Central Coast region, but for NSW and beyond.

The centre will expand NAISDA’s ecology of dance, culture and performing arts, driving higher levels of national tertiary arts training education for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people each year.

Terry Collins