20 YEARS OF WILIN
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development in 2022.
The story of the Wilin Centre
The Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development was founded in 2002, born out of a movement started in the late 1990s when a group of students banded together to protest the lack of Indigenous representation on campus.
Founded as a unit recruiting Indigenous students and supporting them through their studies, the Wilin Centre has dedicated itself to connecting Indigenous visual, design and performing artists with a pathway to their future in the arts.
It now works towards this goal through student support, community engagement, and academic programs that build cultural literacy across communities, including:
- Stories of Place, a subject taken by all first-year Bachelor of Fine Arts students
- Breadth and elective subjects for undergraduate study
- Graduate research in Indigenous Arts and Culture
- Corporate education.
The Centre's name uses the Boon Wurrung word for 'fire' or 'flame', taken from the wilin the student protesters lit as they camped out on the back lawns of the campus. We now light a wilin at the heart of our Southbank campus every year to commemorate the Centre's anniversary.
As we celebrate 20 years of the Wilin Centre in 2022, we also celebrate its future growth as an integral part of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music – one that empowers all members of the University and our community to engage with, celebrate and amplify Indigenous knowledges and voices.
Stories of place
In Stories of Place, a shared first-year subject for all students studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts, we bring in a cohort of diverse and seasoned Indigenous artists to work with our students alongside academics from the Victorian College of the Arts. Watch footage from this year's delivery of Stories of Place as Tiriki Onus discusses the opportunity the subject gives students to engage with some of the sophistication and complexity of Indigenous arts practice – and to see the relevance for their own art form and practice.