Reflecting on the Dirrum Festival 2020
Rev. Dr Katherine Rainger – Senior Chaplain
Dirrum Festival 2020 was a remarkable event, for many reasons. The heartbeat of Dirrum Festival remained the same, with challenging and inspiring speakers, hospitality, music and art. We had a limited in-person audience, and others watched the livestream from around Australia and throughout the world. Each of our speakers Brooke Prentis, Tom Calma, Anote Tong, Bernard Collaery, Camille Wilson, Ahmed Kelly, David and Emma Pocock, Mark Whithear and Craig Foster spoke with grace, truth and conviction.
All the speakers made an impact on their audience. Many were motivated by Craig Foster’s appeal to logic, reason, compassion and humanity as a framework for our treatment of asylum seekers. His ‘game over’ movement is creating momentum amongst people of different ages including many within the Radford community.
The student voice, an important feature of Dirrum Festival, was strong again this year, with students reporting on their Dirrum challenges in the areas of responding to climate change, connection with place, and refugee rights.
It was fantastic to have Six Degrees Café run by our friends from Black Mountain School offer hospitality to those who attended in person. I’ll definitely be a returning customer!
Another highlight of the festival was the release of two books: I Just Want to Make a Difference: a journey in social change-making by Richard Browning and Enacting a Public Theology (ed. Clive Pearson) with two chapters on Aboriginal justice co-authored by Dirrum speaker Brooke Prentis and a chapter on lament in the context of Israel-Palestine written by me. The responses from past and present Radford students to these books were insightful and attentive, and demonstrated a desire to understand the world and their place in it.
Dirrum Festival 2020 was a massive team effort, ably led by a group of Year 12 students who decided to continue with the Festival and adapt it as needed. Special thanks to Tim Minehan and his crew for making us ‘virtual’. As we continue to grieve the impact of COVID-19 in Australia and throughout the world, may Dirrum Festival 2020 be an inspiration for us to live in truth, rise in compassion and walk in wisdom as we respond to it, and other challenges.