Let our songs speak for us

Let our songs speak for us - title of CASM exhibition

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this exhibition contains images, voices and names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings and print materials.
Some material may contain terms that reflect the period in which the item was written or recorded but may not be considered appropriate today and cause offence. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in a historical context.

Celebrating 50 years of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music
FREE Exhibition

Quote: Through music, let us raise our voices to tell the world of our constant struggle for survival in our land. Black musicians and songwriters are important to the aboriginal cause. Music opens avenues for communication. Let our songs speak for us. from Auntie Leila Rankine, 1979

For 50 years the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) has taught music, uplifted community, and impacted society along the way.

CASM holds a unique position as the only dedicated university centre for studies in Australian Indigenous music and one of Australia’s longest lasting Indigenous performing arts organisations. It was founded on equality and respect for cultural difference through a partnership between the ethnomusicologist, Catherine Ellis, and the acclaimed Ngarrindjeri poet, Auntie Leila Rankine.

Its initial role recognised music’s vital purpose in traditional Aboriginal societies and helped connect urban Aboriginal people with traditional culture through music. CASM’s early programs built on deep exchanges with the Aṉangu community at Iwantja (formerly Indulkana). Teaching methods centred on Indigenous ways of learning, with the expertise of Elders formally recognised through academic appointments.

In the 1980s, CASM students were encouraged to focus on creating original music, and formed ground-breaking bands including No Fixed Address, Us Mob, Coloured Stone, and Kuckles. CASM became a beacon of education, attracting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from all over the country. Harnessing the power of music, CASM has increased awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Generations of CASM students have used song to be heard, giving them opportunity to express their truth through music.

This exhibition is dedicated to everyone who has been part of the CASM community.

Dates: 14 March to 2 June 2023

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Location: Ira Raymond Exhibition Room, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide, Kaurna Yerta. Access the University of Adelaide Interactive map here

FREE admission


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