13th National Rural Health Conference

In late May, the Barkly Regional Arts team hit the road, complete with band gear, exhibition prints, paintings and stories, and drove over ten hours north along the Stuart Highway to attend the 13th National Rural Heath Conference in Darwin. The team were not only there to display the unique and beautiful arts and culture of the Barkly region, but to highlight and reinforce the positive mental and physical health outcomes from community participation in the arts.


The Barkly Regional Arts creative pop up stall, complete with visual arts market, exhibition space, films, ceramics display and music performances, was a huge success and generated a lot of excitement and discussion throughout the conference. Marlinja family band and Barkly favourites, Rayella, played a number of beautiful performances throughout the conference. Their soulful harmonies, catchy melodies and songs of family and country captivated audiences, the father and daughter duo selling all copies of their self-titled debut album, released in early 2015.

Visual Arts Co – Coordinator, Rohnder Plummer, ran a hugely popular arts market featuring painted ceramics, canvas paintings and screen-printed tea towels from Kulumundini Arts Centre. The creative designs were a hit, with the arts market selling out of almost everything!


Also featured in the BRA pop-up stall was the debut exhibition of the ‘Story Plates’ ceramics project. Created through a partnership between Barkly Regional Arts, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and communities across the Barkly, the ceramic plates featured illustrations by Barkly artists centred around the theme of ‘disability’. The plates were very well received and generated a lot of discussion about disability in remote communities.

The popular ‘Digital Mapping’ exhibition by renowned artist Dion ‘Cheeky Dog’ Beasley and Media Mob was exhibited for the second time. Featuring printed photographs, an Interactive map of Canteen Creek and printed postcards and maps, the exhibition was extremely well received.


Artistic Director, Kathy Burns, delivered a fantastic presentation on ‘Arts for Arts’ sake. Audience members were given a unique insight into what it’s like to live and work in the remote Barkly Region and the positive health related outcomes of community engagement with the arts.


It was a pleasure to be involved in the 13th National Rural Health conference. Not only did the Barkly Regional Arts team gain a greater insight into the services provided by other arts and health organistations throughout Australia, they were able to showcase the wonderful arts and culture of the Barkly region, and inspire other individuals and organisations to engage in ‘arts for arts sake’.

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