November 2020

ChangeFest: Reflecting on the Year That Was and Looking to 2021

Pippa Bailey, Director/Producer, ChangeFest

It’s been almost a year since ChangeFest19 and two years since ChhangeFest18, the National celebration of place based social change, with a growing focus on systems change. And what a year its been.

I am honoured to work on the change agenda led by communities as we continue to learn how to walk alongside and take direction from First Nations People. It’s a privilege to have the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence Blak Impact team join Collaboration for Impact, Health Justice Australia and the Institute of Human Security and Social Change at LaTrobe University as National conveners for ChangeFest21. We are in the process of appointing a First Nations co-director to join me to create the next national gathering in the Northern Territory.

The ChangeFest story continues to deepen and grow. From the first ChangeFest in Logan, Queensland where local Elders and leaders insisted that the gathering embed First Nations people in the mission, as the only proper way to address our destructive history and ongoing gross disadvantage in Aboriginal communities across Australia. The resulting ChangeFest18 Statement is informed by and aligned to the Uluru statement from the Heart. Guided by First People and through an Indigenous lens, these events celebrate local and national change agendas for all Australians.

In Mount Druitt for ChangeFest19 – Darug and other local Elders shaped and hosted the event, welcoming First Nations visitors from across Australia, including two distinguished First Nations visitors from USA. The smoke from Sydney fires and the need to evacuate the event remain a strong reminder of how the ecological emergency is defining our need for change and the need to learn from First People’s across the world about how to protect and care for our precious earth.

ChangeFest NT21 is taking place in the Northern Territory between 23rd and 30th May, 2021 hosted by a coalition of community organisations, initaitives and individuals. This timing means that National Sorry Day, the commemoration of the 1967 Referendum recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution and the start of Reconciliation Week will all be part of ChangeFest giving a clear purpose to this event.

The range and strength of community in the NT offers a wonderful opportunity to feature the incredible Aboriginal leadership across Territory. During 2020 we have all seen a swift and effective First Nations response to Covid19 and hear many interesting stories of First Nations leading collective community governance and action in different places. I look forward to exploring how this leadership can guide other state and national conversations including the need for Truth Telling, empowering an Indigenous Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution.

ChangeFest NT21 will be a fabulously rich and dynamic multi-site event, with opportunities to join in person and online. Please see the invitation from NT mob here:

> Watch on YouTube

ChangeFestNT21 remains committed to carrying the strong message of 2020’s Naidoc week – #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe Aboriginal Land.

> Visit the ChangeFest website


Aunty June Mills (Larrakia Elder) and Norman Frank (Julalikari Aboriginal Corporation, Tennant Creek)

Aunty June Mills (Larrakia Elder) and Norman Frank (Julalikari Aboriginal Corporation, Tennant Creek)


Elders at ChangeFest19

Elders at ChangeFest19


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