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Ba-gurrk Murrup (Women’s Spirit, Past, Present and Future)

Cultural Conversations

Ba-gurrk Murrup (Women’s Spirit, Past, Present and Future)

Spend your afternoon yarning with exceptional local First Nations women, as they share stories of connection to Country, place and self through their personal and creative journeys.

Join Wadawurrung Traditional Custodian and artist Dr Deanne Gilson, Yorta Yorta/Baraparapa visual artist Dr Jenny Murray-Jones and Yorta Yorta woman/self-appointed ‘sassy, psychic witchy sister’ Allira Potter as they speak to the significant intertwinement of culture, womanhood and artistry. Facilitated by Noongar and Tuwharetoa artist and curator Kiri Wicks.

In 2021, we have seen women across the globe rise to the forefront of their respective fields. In this series of Cultural Conversations, we explore what it means to be a successful First Nations woman in the 21st century, the legacy that each of these women looks to create for future generations, the messages they wish to share with other women, and how they interpret identity through culture and creative practise.

This is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people of all gender identities to gather, join the conversation, ask questions and walk together.

Artwork - Ba-gurrk Walert (Women's Possum Skin Cloak) by Deanne Gilson

Due to capacity restrictions, 20 tickets have been made available to attend this event in person, with a free simultaneously broadcast livestream available to all.

Register for the free live-stream event below.

Register here

About Dr Deanne Gilson

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Deanne Gilson is an emerging elder and proud Wadawurrung woman of Aboriginal and Australian/English descent. An award-winning multi-media visual artist, with a practice spanning thirty-five years, Deanne is an early childhood and secondary school educator working freelance as a cultural consultant.

Establishing Kunawarra (black swan) Cultural Consultants in 2013, Deanne engages community, schools and business organisations in Wadawurrung history, culture, art and education, delivering cultural awareness training along with Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremonies across her ancestral Country.

In addition, Deanne has completed a PhD, looking at how art can play a role in revitalising women’s business, culture, identity, lost language and traditional ceremonial practices, that act is a way to empower and strengthen all Aboriginal people today. Further extending on the notion of bringing back traditional knowledge through art and education, aiding in the healing process and reconciliation towards Aboriginal people.

About Dr. Jenny Murray-Jones

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Dr Jenny Murray-Jones is a Yorta Yorta / Baraparapa woman. Her Grandmother Mollie, and great aunt Bessie, were forcibly taken from their family around 1915, while the family worked at Redgate Station Balranald. After being raised in an institution from age 11, in the 1970s Jenny’s grandmother broke down as she watched a television program about the stolen generations, she was inconsolable, and for the first time spoke of what had happened to her as a child.

Jenny’s arts practice speaks a great deal about her family and their journey through the colonial period and into the present. Her PhD thesis titled ‘Indigenous Families Beyond the Voids of Colonial History’ documents where they have come from and where they are now. The exhibition ‘Ancestors’ brought together 10 large oil works on linen.

Jenny works in many visual / design areas. She is currently Visual Arts Co-ordinator / Lecturer at NIKERI Deakin and a registered secondary school teacher, having taught in schools and lectured at NIKERI Deakin for over 10 years.

Jenny has exhibited widely at The Koorie Heritage Trust, Burrinja Gallery, NGV NAIDOC Exhibition, West Gippsland Art Centre, Maryborough Gallery, William Mora Gallery, Jiu Jian, Yangzi Province China and has many works in both private and public collections.

About Allira Potter

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Allira Potter is a proud Yorta Yorta woman, a trained reiki practitioner, intuitive reader, energy healer, life coach and meditation guide. Allira’s practice is fully immersed around culture, cultural awareness and education, with a focus on debunking the wellness narrative to ensure diverse representation and decolonisation of a white-dominated wellness space.

A self-appointed ‘sassy, psychic witchy sister’, Allira’s profile is continuing to rise thanks to her warm and witty personality and refreshingly authentic approach to life. Allira’s practice advocates for cultural diversity, body positivity, and mental wellbeing, utilising her platform to create conscious content that is both engaging and educational for her followers.

Allira’s socially broadcasted messaging empowers women to embrace their bodies, curves & all, and to love themselves for who they are. As Allira’s practitioner client bookings continue to escalate, so have her life-coaching and presenting skills which has seen her secure numerous speaking roles including for the likes of Instagram, Business Chicks, and Koorie Women Means Business. As a role model to young Indigenous women, Allira’s inspirational story has been shared by high-profile media publications including Elle Australia, POPSUGAR, Mamamia, and Business Chicks along with feature interviews for Vogue Australia, The Urban List, SBS, and Syrup Aus.

While her career is thriving, Allira will always place importance on being true to herself and her connection to the roots of her Indigenous culture. Allira’s great grandfather, Sir Doug Nicholls was an activist and the first Aboriginal governor of South Australia. Her connection with her culture and learnings from her elders, has led Allira to ensure that her business model will always put First Nations people first. Allira has dedicated her time to creating a private group where she offers all of services free of charge based on donations from allies and she strives to support and showcase Indigenous brands and businesses.

About Kiri Wicks

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Kiri is a proud Noongar and Tuwharetoa woman who grew up on Yaburara Country amongst the red dirt and the spinifex and the beautiful islands of the Dampier Archipelago. A mother of three, an Aunty, a sister, a daughter, a cousin and a niece.

Kiri has had a lifelong love of art in all forms and graduated Deakin University with a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts in 2018. She is an Artist, Curator, Collaborator and Mentor, who has had a collaborative artwork exhibited in Tokyo, curated multiple exhibitions and held a solo show here in Geelong.

Kiri is currently working at NIKERI Institute, Deakin University as both Partnerships Coordinator and in an Academic role within the Indigenous Knowledges team. A multimedia artist, Kiri is a story teller with a passion for learning and sharing knowledge and respecting old ways of knowing and doing within a contemporary world.

Proudly supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

NIKERI Institute and Deakin University are committed to Knowledge sharing and are proud to support Geelong Arts Centre and their Cultural Conversations.

Artwork - Ba-gurrk Walert (Women's Possum Skin Cloak) by Dr Deanne Gilson

We have implemented a range of health, hygiene and physical distancing measures, in line with government guidelines. These measures include:

  • The wearing of face masks is mandatory across all Geelong Arts Centre venues
  • Hand sanitiser is available at hygiene stations in foyers and outside lifts and stairs
  • Capacity signage throughout venue and studios to promote physical distancing
  • Increased cleaning of all facilities
  • Disinfection of seating and touchpoints before each performance
  • Increased cleaning of foyer spaces and handrails
  • Increased cleaning of bathrooms
  • Sneeze guards at point of sale
  • Foyer seating arranged to ensure 1.5m distancing
  • Decreased capacities in theatres and foyers
  • Staggered audience entry and exit in venues
  • Physical distancing markers at queuing areas such as Food and Beverage outlets and Box Office
  • Staff monitoring traffic flow and distancing


Ticket prices

  • In-person Single ticket $15


Studio 4


Free: Online


Due to capacity restrictions, 20 tickets have been made available to attend this event in person, with a free simultaneously broadcast livestream available to all.