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What's on City of Melbourne

Indigenous arts

Acknowledge the past, recognise the present, support aspirations for the future.

The City of Melbourne’s Indigenous Arts Program supports Indigenous artists, arts workers and community members to devise, produce and directly manage arts and cultural projects.

In doing so, we acknowledge, respect and support the rights of Indigenous artists and communities to determine their own artistic practice and cultural priorities and we support increased opportunities for employment, and professional and economic development.

Indigenous arts projects for 2015

Blak Nite Screen 2015

Blak Nite Screen (formerly Blak Nite Cinema) is a free festival that celebrates the indigenous contribution to Australian film and television.

This year the event returns to Treasury Gardens for two nights of live music, film talks and screenings. The Friday night of the event celebrates the stellar career of Indigenous actor and dancer David Gulpilil.

The final evening will explore the new opportunities that Aboriginal and Torres Strait film makers and actors now have in telling their stories, as they take control of the creative process. It will include a special Blak Nite screening of selected sections from The Turning, the 2013 film based on Tim Winton’s popular novel as well as selected episodes of Redfern Now and Gods of Wheat Street.

Please note, as films in the program have not been classified, screenings are restricted to people aged 18 years and over (R18+)

More information visit:

Indigenous arts projects 2014

Indigenous Arts Mentorship Program – Expressions of Interest (EOI)

Expressions of Interest for the 2014 program have closed.

The Indigenous Arts Mentorship Program is an integral part of the City of Melbourne’s Indigenous Arts Program. It aims to provide Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers with an opportunity to gain on-the-job mentoring in arts administration, production management or creative practice.

Previous mentees have been able to gain experience at renowned organisations including Melbourne Festival, dance company Chunky Move, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Malthouse Theatre.

Find out more.

Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival

The Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival is back in 2014 with an event that’s bigger than ever. Celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture from across the nation, and enjoy a diverse range of art forms and experiences for all ages, like Indigenous theatre, music, literature, film, cabaret, dance and visual arts, taking place across a variety of arts venues in the City of Melbourne. The line-up includes Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Cheetham, Archie Roach and Bart Willoughby, and lots of events are free. Enjoy the Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival, on from Wednesday 5 February until Sunday 16 February.

Find out more

Indigenous arts projects 2013

Blak Nite Cinema

Council is committed to raising awareness of Melbourne’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture. Blak Nite Cinema is a unique film event celebrating acclaimed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists through film, combined with live music and live interviews. Hosted by award-winning Indigenous actor Aaron Pedersen, Blak Nite Cinema 2013 was held at ACMI.

Indigenous arts projects 2012

Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival

The City of Melbourne presented the inaugural Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival in February 2012. Celebrating Melbourne’s rich culture from an exclusively Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective. Federation Square and ACMI became an Indigenous cultural hub, with live music, film screenings, art talks, theatre, dance, cabaret and exhibitions.

See the YouTube video

Indigenous Art Banners

The City of Melbourne commissioned six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to design street banners to coincide with the launch of the inaugural Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival.

The six participating artists are Trevor Turbo Brown, Bindi Cole, Kelly Koumalatsos, Gayle Maddigan, Clinton Nain and Mandy Thomas.

The Indigenous Art Super Banners were placed around Melbourne centre during NAIDOC Week 1 to 8 July 2012.

Central Business Dreaming

October 2008. Central Business Dreaming is a book documenting over 60 projects and events funded by the City of Melbourne’s Indigenous Arts Grants and projects produced by the Indigenous Arts Program since 2003. Each project reflects an incredible range of artforms and art practices that are intrinsic to Indigenous identity and culture.

Pastor Sir Doug and Lady Gladys Nicholls Memorial

December 2007. Pastor Sir Doug and Lady Gladys Nicholls were prominent members of Melbourne’s Indigenous community and were active campaigners for Indigenous rights and justice.

The City of Melbourne, in partnership with the Victorian Department of Justice and Department for Victorian Communities, funded the commission of a major sculptural memorial to Pastor Sir Doug and Lady Gladys Nicholls. This is the first Indigenous memorial in Melbourne is located in Parliament Gardens Reserve in East Melbourne.

Where: Parliament Gardens (Melway reference: 2F K1)

Sir Douglas and Lady Gladys Nicholls' biography (PDF, 23kb)
Sir Douglas and Lady Gladys Nicholls' biography (text only, 38kb)  


Jessica Mauboy 

Indigenous man with beard

 Crowds of people watching Blak Nite Cinema

Crowd gathered at memorial statues of Pastor Sir Doug and Lady Gladys Nicholls

Toom-buk Toom-nangi Indigenous banners