9 ways you can support NAIDOC week while in lockdown

Do you love engaging with First Nations arts and culture during NAIDOC Week? Here is a list of ways you can still participate, despite COVID lockdowns this year.

The recent COVID restrictions that have swept the nation have put a dint in much arts programming, but none more so than NAIDOC Week, scheduled to take place 4-11 July. This year the theme is Healing Country. This is a call for all of us to seek greater protections for our lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration and destruction. 

While some #irl programming will go ahead, ArtsHub has complied a list here for those who can support our First Nations artists online, via streamed events, talks, and programs.


While the Australian Museum might be closed, it is encouraging visitors to check out its online content hub, AM Inside Out, which offers fun activities for kids at home – including the downloadable Power through Poetry activity booklet – initially developed to be used in the Unsettled exhibition, but given the lockdown has been boosted with additional content and videos to use this at home.

You can also listen to a swag of poems by First Nations writers online via the AM site, developed in partnership with Red Room Poetry. Free.


The arts and cultural sector is embracing a long-awaited shift towards more Indigenous leadership, with some of the country’s most important cultural institutions creating dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander positions. SAMAG is presenting an online conversation with recent First Nations leaders appointed to Sydney’s major cultural institutions, including Laura McBride from the Australian Museum, Emily McDaniel from The Powerhouse Museum & Beau James from The Sydney Opera House.

The panel will be facilitated by Cara Kirkwood, who is currently the Head of Combined Arts with the Australia Council.

Monday, 05 July, 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm Free Members / Non Members $25.00. To register to Healing Country.

Lola Greeno: My Story from Australian Design Centre on Vimeo.


Lockdowns have not stopped the Australian Design Centre celebrating NAIDOC Week, with a diet of online articles and films to watch – enough for the week! Why not get inspired watching ADC films, made about some of leading First Nations artists including Lola GreenoTjunkaya Tapaya and Lorraine Connelly-Northey

Obsessed : Tjunkaya Tapaya from Australian Design Centre on Vimeo.

4. Go Shopping!

This week, the National Indigenous Art Fair moved online. Originally scheduled to be presented at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney, this event showcases Indigenous artists, designers, and makers from remote art centres around the country. As they cannot be in Sydney, audiences are encouraged to visit the centres directly, to view and shop for new works created for the fair.

Now you don’t even have to leave home to purchase artworks to design objects, fashion, jewellery, homewares, native dyed textiles, and kids puzzles – with the money going direct to Indigenous communities.

First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Peter Cooley said: ‘This is a very disappointing outcome but we know we have made the right decision, with the health of both artists and visitors top of mind. Although the Sydney event has been cancelled we urge people to continue to support remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by buying directly from the Art Centres who had planned to join us this year in Sydney.’

5. Virtual tour and workshop for Under 5s with NGV

Share in a child’s early art experiences and discover artworks from the NGV together with online sessions designed for children aged 2 – 5 years and their parents or carers. Maree Clarke, who is a Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung woman. In this session children watch a video introduction of Maree introducing her exhibition Ancestral Memories. and talking about possum skin cloaks before exploring some works from the exhibition with the NGV host. This program includes an art-making demonstration inspired by possum skin cloaks using this activity sheet developed by Maree Clarke and NGV.

Free, but bookings recommended. Various sessions available 1-20 July.

NGV Teens session explores NAIDOC Themes. Image NGV

Industry Connections gives teens the chance to meet artists, industry leaders and creatives in a further online event series. Through informal discussion and illustrated presentations, find out about their creative careers and gain insights into the diverse roles and opportunities in the creative industries. Bring your questions!

Speakers: Maree Clarke and Mitch Mahoney, a proud Boon Wurrung artist and cultural educator who consults at Bunjilaka Melbourne Museum, Science Gallery and Footscray Arts Centre. Mitch is focused on Indigenous Bio-Design in his practice with projects including The Biodegradable Eel Trap and Seven Canoe’s project.

This free event for people aged 13 to 18 years will be delivered online Tuesday, 6 July, 5pm–6pm. To register.

You can also do a virtual tour of the NGVs exhibition TIWI.


To coincide with Craft Victoria’s exhibition Body Language by Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri artist Jenna Lee – which presents body adornment vessels and dilly bags created using the pages of ‘Aboriginal Words and Place Names’ – and made during her Craft Contemporary residency.

Watch her demonstrate online the creation of cultural objects such as dilly bags and coolamons through processes of ripping, pulping, forming, drying and finishing each object with handwoven paper string and Larrakia ochre.

Jenna Lee | Makers In Residence from Craft on Vimeo.

Being a queer woman, of Asian (Japanese, Chinese and Filipino) and Aboriginal descent, Jenna’s practice is strongly influenced by her overlapping identities, childhood memories as well as her mother’s teachings about subject and process. As an interdisciplinary artist, her work incorporates painting, projection, found objects and sculpture with a particular emphasis on paper, the book, language and text.


My Dilly Bag Owner and chef extraordinaire, Aunty Dale is taking some UQ students on indigenous cooking adventure! You can tag along and learn how to add a bit of bush spice to a trendy poke bowl.

View UQ’s full online NAIDOC Week program.

8. Online Watch Party: Charlie’s Country

Tune into this great Australian flick with your mates and learn more about indigenous history.

NAIDOC Watch Party will presented the movie Charlie’s Country, streamed Wednesday, 7 July 5pm – 7pm. Staring David Gulpilil, it is a film about living between the old and the new ways. After registering, you will be provided with further information on how to join the Watch Party and the link will be provided within 2 hours of the event.

This event is open to The University of Queensland students and their guests, but all participants must adhere to the Student Charter and treat each other with respect at all times.


Join Yankunyjatjara and Wirangu educator Shelley Ware for a FREE 90-minute online session and explore the medium of watercolours and fine line marker. Shelley will take time in the session to discuss ideas, artists and other mediums that you may want to explore when you’re back in your classroom. With an opportunity to voice your questions, the session aims to equip you with a sense of confidence to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, cultures and histories in your classroom and artroom. Wednesday 7 July, 110:00am – 11:30am.

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina