Cultural Mapping Project


Tracks Dance Studio, Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, Darwin City

Weekend Forum: October 2 - 3, 2013

Tracks has a 20-year history of working with communities. We have built lasting creative partnerships with a variety of different cultural and social groups and share with them an interest in making cultural statements through dance. Tracks, as the primary consistent producer of original Northern Territory dance work, and is committed to making sure that their performances represent the cultural makeup of the Northern Territory and that they promote this unique work across Australia.

Research and Mapping

This Cultural Mapping Project commenced with research and mapping of the current cultural dance people in Darwin. With an ever-changing population, and no peak body to gather and renew contacts simply mapping who was who and where the cultural knowledge was being held was the first phase. Phase two was the development and running of an exciting one-day forum, bringing together invited dance artists and leaders, from Youth to Seniors, to show, talk, dance, and dream of the future. The project aimed to identify leading and emerging cultural dance figures in Darwin, and to air current issues. Consultations allow Tracks to gain greater insight into the current cultural needs of dancers, and to provide an opportunity for cultural leaders and dancers to network and share information, as well as to better understand Tracks' practice.

Cultural Forum

The forum included:

  • Workshop with Internationally renowned Kenyan dance artist Lailah Masiga providing stimulus for future activity
  • Presentation demonstrating successful cultural collaboration between Balinese and a western trained dancers: with Putu Desak Wati and Joanna Noonan
  • In conversation with Lailah Masiga. Working in Darwin, Australia, and abroad
  • A short performance illustrating cultural respect across the ages
  • Facilitated discussion with some of our youth living in two cultures
  • A dream session involving participant and presenters to capture future aspirations, cultural movement and new shapes.

Creative Personal

Project Leaders: Tim Newth, David McMicken, Bryn Wackett
Cultural Presenters: Lailah Masiga, Putu Desak Wati, Ruttiya McElroy, Punny Vegter, Joanna Noonan
Workshop Leaders: Lailah Masiga
Youth Presenters: Venaska Cheliah, Senny Mulbah
Provocateurs: Bryn Wackett, Ruttiya McElroy, Jose Casimiro, Tim Newth, David McMicken


Jose Casimiro, Venaska Cheliah, Thevi Chelliah, Susan Congreve, Roslyn Dundas, Yassah Jerue, George Jerue, Shu Qin Li, Sarah Manda, Lailah Masiga, Therese Mayaya, Ruttiya McElroy, David McMicken, Seny Mulbah, Chandrika Munasinghe, Tim Newth, Joanna Noonan, Senuri Pinto, Deborah Leasy Poe, Desak Putu Warti Stretton, Hui Ying Sun, Punny Vegter, Bryn Wackett, Ciella Williams 

Funding Bodies

Tracks Inc. is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government (This project was funded through Multicultural Affairs).

Tracks 2013

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Gail Evans
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Dance Animateur: Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: Heather Van Anholt
Committee Members: (Chair) Michael Grant, (Vice-Chair) David Taylor, (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Secretary/Public Officer) Nick Papandonakis, (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, Liz Trevaskis, Stephanie Cvirn, (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory



Explore Further

Research and Development

Participants Response

“I would like to do more things like this together. We need to focus on some points that we can reach.  We need to start somewhere.  Having somewhere to start from is important and this day was a good starting place. I would like to see us coming together to hone some of the discussion we had on the forum day.  We need to decide on some goals that we can reach so that we can put that into action now.” Chandrika Munasinghe

“I related so much to Senny in terms of her lack of traditional dance and knowledge due to living in Australia. It was as if I was looking at myself 15 years ago, though she had the interest and initiative to find out about her traditional dance from her home town at a young age, whereas I was shy to do so. Senny is lucky to have family close to her with a love for dance that can provide her with the experience and practice she needs.” Ruttiya (Suansri) McElroy

“There was very good and professional conversation going on throughout the day.  And the dialogue discussed was coming from people of very diverse backgrounds and also professions.”  Thevi Chelliah

“I really enjoyed being able to delve further into people’s stories and provoke discussion.  I enjoy this on a one to one basis… I have always been a ‘listener’ more so than a ‘talker’ but it gave me a chance to experience this in a public situation, which I would love to be able to extend further…” Bryn Wackett

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