Case Study: wORLD iNDIGENOUS pEOPLES’ CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION
26 – 30 September 2022
Underlining the much-welcomed return of international events, Adelaide, South Australia was delighted to play host to the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (WIPCE 2022). The largest and most diverse Indigenous education forum in the world, the five-day conference was held at Adelaide Convention Centre on the lands of the Kaurna Nation, the original people of the Adelaide Plains, 26 – 30 September, 2022. The event was officially opened by the Hon. Linda Burney MP – the first Aboriginal woman to serve as Minister for Indigenous Australians – with the opening ceremony incorporating a Parade of Nations to celebrate visiting delegates from 17 countries.
Over three decades, WIPCE has grown to become a major international event in the Indigenous education movement, drawing Indigenous representatives from across the globe to share successes and strategies
for culturally grounded education. Themed ‘Indigenous Education Sovereignty: Our Voices… Our Futures’, the WIPCE 2022 conference treated delegates to a culturally and educationally rich program featuring eight keynote presentations and more than 300 interactive workshops, along with networking, yarning circles and knowledge sharing circles.
THE ROADMAP TO WIPCE 2022
WIPCE 2022 was originally scheduled to take place in Adelaide in 2020, however postponed to 2021, and later 2022, as a result of the pandemic. As a triennial event, the date change meant WIPCE 2022 represented the first time delegates had been able to gather under one roof in five years – an occasion that was met with great enthusiasm and energy.
WIPCE 2022’s attractive program and motivated organising committee, coupled with Australia’s strong safety record and destination appeal, pushed attendance above expectations at more than 2,400 in-person delegates. To extend the event’s reach, Adelaide Convention Centre’s dedicated in-house technology team provided live-streaming services, which drew an additional 500 online participants.
Adelaide Convention Centre further supported WIPCE by providing flexible operating terms, including accommodation of late – but welcome – surges to catering numbers in the days leading up to the event opening.
CONNECTION TO COUNTRY
In addition to showcasing Adelaide’s business event capabilities, WIPCE 2022 provided a major platform to celebrate and showcase South Australia’s rich Indigenous culture.
From the moment guests arrived, the event had a strong connection to country. Reflecting Tarndanya (Adelaide) – the place of the red kangaroo – a giant kangaroo sculpture greeted delegates on arrival, before moving throughout the event. Local native plants and trees decorated Adelaide Convention Centre’s plaza providing impact on arrival, and delegates entered the venue to a soundtrack provided by local didgeridoo players, positioned either side of the main entrance. On the opening day, guests also had opportunity to participate in a smoking ceremony, with local Indigenous students handing out eucalyptus leaves as a welcome gesture.
Additional displays including cultural dance, as well as native animals, further contributed to the atmosphere, providing a warm Kaurna welcome and celebration of local culture. For visiting delegates, this was complemented by local touring options to further experience local Indigenous cultures, including a daily shuttle service to Tauondi Aboriginal College.
SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON NATIVE FLAVOURS
As part of WIPCE 2022’s strong connection to country, delegates were treated to a fantastic array of South Australian produce and flavours. As an extension of Adelaide Convention Centre’s current Honest Goodness menu philosophy, the Centre’s talented kitchen team crafted a bespoke menu for the event shining a spotlight on native Australian foods. This saw Adelaide Convention Centre’s kitchen team work closely with local First Nations producers and suppliers to source authentic Indigenous recipes and preparation methods, along with an abundance of native fruits and herbs, which
were woven through all event catering. In addition to enhancing featured dishes with their unique and diverse flavour offerings and textures, these ingredients also provided opportunity for visiting delegates to experience and celebrate one of the world’s oldest cultures.
As a glimpse into food items enjoyed by WIPCE 2022 delegates, the welcome cocktail reception served up everything from fried fingers of Coorong mullet with caperberry and saltbush mayonnaise; pulled wild boar sliders; and salt and pepper crocodile with caper mayo just to name a few, with live cooking stations adding a touch of theatre. The gala dinner was another highlight and feast for the senses filled with Australian native foods and botanicals. For entrée, delegates enjoyed wattleseed-dusted seared kangaroo loin, beetroot variations, watercress, caramelised yoghurt with a hemp seed cracker. Main course included the option of lemon myrtle chicken supreme, sautéed wild mushrooms, warrigal greens, potato velvet, leek confit, burnt sage jus; and braised Murraylands beef cheek, saltbush hasselback potato, cauliflower & native thyme purée, native spinach, blistered truss tomato, pickled mustard seeds and shiraz jus. To finish, delegates indulged in a baked meringue and passionfruit sandwich with Davidson plum sorbet, rosella flower gel, river mint syrup and passionfruit pearls.
The feedback from the client and delegates regarding the WIPCE 2022 culinary journey was overwhelmingly positive. As shared by the client, Chris Thyer:
“For us, the real highlights at the Convention Centre were the staff and the food. The staff were so accommodating, so welcoming and incredibly professional. Nothing was too hard for them. They put a lot of thought into the menu, and the food was absolutely beautiful – it exceeded all expectations.”
WIPCE 2022 was a great success by all measures, demonstrating the strong appetite for face-to-face events along with Australia’s great destination appeal. As South Australia’s largest international business event since the onset of the pandemic, it was fantastic to see in-person attendance match pre-COVID expectations.
From a destination perspective, WIPCE 2022 reinforced South Australia’s rich Kaurna heritage, as well as highlighted the city as a safe
and welcoming destination for business events, along with Adelaide Convention Centre’s capabilities, flexibility and expertise in delivering memorable events. Confidence in the destination is evident by not only WIPCE’s decision to proceed with the 2022 event, but strong in-person attendance which exceeded expectations.
In addition to creating a lasting legacy for Indigenous education in South Australia, WIPCE 2022 also highlighted the pivotal role played by business events in supporting the visitor economy. The event delivered significant economic benefit by injecting more than $11.3 million into
the South Australian economy, along with providing a great boost to local hotels by generating 15,500 bed nights.
It was fantastic to have the confidence to invite 2,400 Indigenous people from all over the world and know that Adelaide on Kaurna Country would welcome them, make them feel comfortable and that they’d have a great experience. Adelaide is a wonderful conference destination, absolutely,
and the Adelaide Convention Centre is fantastic.
– Chris Thyer, General Manager, South Australian Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council (SAAETCC)
Business Events Adelaide commenced talking to WIPCE in 2014 and the event was secured to Adelaide in 2017. It was informative for Team Adelaide to be part of this important business event involving more than 2,400 delegates to learn more about Indigenous cultures from around the world. The knowledge sharing of important topics such as the revitalisation of Indigenous language as well as post COVID reengagement was enlightening for all involved.
– Damien Kitto, Chief Executive Officer, Business Events Adelaide
WIPCE 2022 was the perfect event to herald the return of major international conventions to Adelaide, and Adelaide Convention Centre was proud to be the host venue, with a terrific energy throughout the Centre over the course of the five day conference. Not only did WIPCE deliver significant benefit to our community and economy, it also provided a major platform from which to showcase South Australia’s rich Indigenous heritage, culture and knowledge with a global audience of Indigenous citizens.
– Martin Radcliffe, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre