The Director's Message

Dearest Friends,

Another year has passed and once again we are to assemble at James Cook University to declare and celebrate the theme of Unity in Diversity. Another year has passed and we have grown older, bolder and perhaps a little wiser. And it would seem as the years continue to pass this banner of 'Unity in Diversity' that we held up in 1995, is as important to hold up now as it was all those years ago.

Townsville Cultural Festival is twenty-three years old this year, and now more than ever before we are required to staunchly proclaim our faith in the oneness of humanity and to hold our ground in support and advocacy of peace and harmony amongst all the peoples of the earth.

It is in times of turmoil and turbulence that our intentions and our beliefs are tested for integrity, and it is in the face of contrary winds that our certitude can be tested for truthfulness. Now more than ever we must show courage with our actions, and speak with clarity and conviction in our support of the meek, the less fortunate, the mistreated, the marginalised and the newly arrived.

Townsville Cultural Festival is not only about raising community spirit and removing imaginary boundaries of cultural separation but more than that, it is about offering a platform for equal opportunity, for the amplification of lesser heard voices and perspectives, and the establishment of equity over equality.

Year in, year out, we continue to programme more women than men just to disrupt the imbalanced status quo, we schedule hijab wearing Sudanese dancers and burlesque shows back to back, we book drag queens and queer poets, we hold space for theatre with pertinent messages for young people, we celebrate citizenship ceremonies for newly arrived Afghan refugees and weep to the songs of servicemen who have returned from Afghanistan, and at the end of it all, we dance the night away to folk, rock, dub, African drum beats and gypsy caravan vibes.

We're a bunch of ride by the seat of our pants, cowboys and immigrants, boat people escaping false imprisonment, we're here to make ourselves at home, don't think we're just visiting, the Traditional Owners have blessed our request to gather on this auspicious land, so come play with us.

We hold this space for anyone and everyone. This space we create is for us to remember what home feels like, and for us to remember that it's not a place or a time, but a feeling we carry with us in our hearts. In the face of turmoil and uncertainty, we will not surrender our hopes, we will stand strong and speak with conviction as we vision together, a new way of being.

It is with a heart full of joy that I present to you this year’s programme and I look forward to seeing all of your glowing faces at James Cook University for another instalment of the Townsville Cultural Festival.

With Love,

Erfan Daliri


Event Director
Townsville Cultural Festival