Uluru Climb Closure Celebration
Sunday 27th Oct 2019
Talinguru Nyakunytja, Sunrise Site, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, approximately 470kms south-west of Alice Springs.
Parks Australia, Australian Government
Year completed / duration
May – November 2019
Kate Edwards Director, Tourism and Marketing |Parks Australia
Case Study: Summary of Event Services Provided
Agentur’s role in the celebrated event, deeply anchored in Aboriginal culture, was both a privilege and an intricate task. Managing a gathering of 3,000, we navigated through complex stakeholder dynamics and worldwide media attention, ensuring a seamless and respectful celebration. Our engagement with indigenous communities is characterized by deep respect, patience, and a genuine commitment to understanding and integrating their cultural essence into our events. This, coupled with our proven track record and strong local connections, notably in central Australia and Mutitjulu, positions us as a trusted and culturally attuned event management company.
Our work goes beyond just logistics; it’s about meaningful interactions and creating spaces that respect and celebrate cultural richness. From navigating the logistical nuances of remote locations to embracing the unique pace of indigenous community interactions, our journey has been one of learning, adaptation, and profound respect. Agentur stands as a testament to the power of genuine collaboration, cultural respect, and meticulous event management, making every event not just a gathering but a culturally rich celebration.
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Diving Deeper into the Event Management Details
One of our proudest moments as an event management company.
Being at the helm of such a significant event, deeply entrenched in Aboriginal culture and momentous in nature, was both an honor and a responsibility. Our close collaboration with the local community transformed the event into a joyous celebration, attracting a large crowd of 3000 attendees.
The presence of worldwide media added a layer of complexity to the event management, requiring coordination and communication to cater to the diverse array of stakeholders. The anticipation of potential demonstrations added a dimension of stress and required thorough contingency planning. Despite these challenges, the event unfolded smoothly, without disruption. – Britta
How we worked with local indigenous communities and TOs in the event planning phase.
Our approach to event planning when it involves indigenous communities like those in the Northern Territory, is deeply rooted in respect, patience, and genuine engagement. Sitting down with the community, listening intently to their desires and expectations for the event, is not just a step in our process—it’s the cornerstone of our ethos.
Incorporating traditional elements, such as the expansive ‘Inma’, which showcases traditional dance and song, is a reflection of our dedication to authenticity and cultural respect. It’s about building grassroots connections and also just a curiosity thing as much as anything.
We have a reputation in the Northern Territory as safe and trustworthy collaborators. It’s a testament to the relationships we’ve nurtured over the years, founded on mutual respect and understanding. Our network, built through personal connections and prior engagements, lends us credibility and facilitates deeper, more meaningful collaboration.
Transitioning from a fast-paced European work culture where I was like ‘Let’s go, let’s go’ to the more contemplative pace of working with indigenous communities has been a journey of learning and adaptation. It has taught us the value of being open, collaborative, and truly listening. – Britta
Working with different cultures.
I had a friend visit from Germany once, and she said, “I couldn’t do this, things move so slowly here.” I’m like, “Trust me. We have to sit, wait, and let it work itself out.” And that’s the thing, you know, coming to Australia and working, not in the mainstream, but in a traditional Aboriginal setting, I learned a different way of professional working. My boss (at Yothu Yindi) was Aboriginal, so it instilled in me this very traditional, yet professional approach. And we’ve continued to uphold that in our work.- Britta
Why Agentur were chosen as the events agency for the Uluru Climb Closure Celebration.
We’ve fostered a strong relationship with the local communities over the years. Our collaboration dates back to around 2014 or 2015 during the 30th anniversary celebration of the land being returned to its traditional owners. Our familiarity with the people on the ground, particularly in central Australia and Mutitjulu, has been a significant asset, as many of the same individuals still work for Parks Australia, ensuring continuity of trust and understanding.
Our credibility in this field is further cemented by our extensive experience, like our involvement with the Garma Festival up to 2009, spanning a decade. This experience has given us a deep understanding of organizing remote festivals with traditional communities.
Furthermore, our very first contract, the Indigenous Economic Development Forum, involved key players from the Territory’s Indigenous sectors. With each event, we’ve not only expanded our networks but also honed our ability to create culturally respectful and safe environments for all delegates, enhancing our reputation for organizing culturally appropriate events. – Britta
Which speaker or entertainment was most memorable to you for that event?
The entertainment lineup was truly a highlight, featuring an array of profound cultural performances. The ‘Inma’ was particularly breathtaking, with its traditional dance performed on a specially crafted sand stage, invoking the essence of Uluru at sunset—a truly spectacular sight.
Following this, the main stage hosted an array of talent, including the Central Australian Women’s Choir , an ensemble of 30 to 40 voices, and the heartfelt performance by the Mutitjulu primary school children alongside Shellie Morris. The regional bands delivered powerful sets, culminating in a memorable performance by Midnight Oil.
Reflecting on the event without major disruptions, the sense of relief and satisfaction is profound. The successful delivery, positive reception, and favourable media coverage not only signify a job well done but also evoke a complex mix of emotions—exhilaration from the smooth execution, exhaustion from the intense effort, and a deep, multifaceted happiness knowing that every piece came together perfectly to create an event that was not just successful but also meaningful and respected. – Britta
Conversations under trees – the unique challenge and joy of working with indigenous stakeholders.
Navigating the cultural nuances and communication styles within traditional communities is a commitment that requires patience, presence, and respect. I remember once there was some confusion in the community and someone in the community needed me to come straight down to discuss with them. A journey from Darwin to Uluru, involving multiple flights and a final stretch on the road, all for a crucial one-hour discussion under a tree. – Britta
In that moment, it’s not about just talking; it’s about truly listening, understanding, and finding a resolution.
I think most whitefellas are apprehensive about that moment of sitting under the tree, but I’m not. I feel we can work it out, much like following an email trail. I’ve witnessed this often. Perhaps, during my initial 15 years, when people from the entertainment sector ventured into remote areas, there was a palpable fear of blackfellas. They were anxious about making mistakes, about being perceived incorrectly. However, it’s not just about fear; it’s about confronting and overcoming barriers.
Reflecting on my initial years working in remote areas, I’ve seen the fear and discomfort that can arise when interacting with indigenous communities—fear of misunderstanding, fear of doing the wrong thing. But overcoming these fears, engaging directly, and embracing the cultural protocols is not just respectful; it’s transformative, both for the project and for personal growth.- Britta
Managing events in remote locations.
Managing the influx of professionals and guests in such unique settings certainly presents its fair share of challenges. Flexibility is key, as operations in these environments inherently differ from the norm. However, it’s crucial to maintain the highest standards possible within the constraints of our budget.
In the territory, there’s a tendency to settle for ‘good enough’ due to a limited variety of suppliers and a somewhat relaxed attitude. But we strive for excellence. By fostering strong teamwork with our suppliers, we’ve built relationships that encourage everyone to push their limits. Whether it’s the caterers or other service providers, we share a collective commitment to put on the best show for the audience.- Britta