The spectacular ‘Parrtjima – A Festival in Light’ staged in Alice Springs this month provided a perfect example of how business events can leverage festivals or major events, in order to deliver meaningful and inspiring outcomes.
The NT Convention Bureau recently hosted a group of 11 business event planners from Australia’s health sector, their visit to Central Australia coinciding with opening night of the Parrtjima Festival.
Participants gained insights into NT creativity, Aboriginal culture and community spirit and experienced how an event like Parrtjima can deliver cultural learnings, whilst providing a distinctive setting for a conference welcome or social function.
The 10-day Parrtjima Festival was staged across two Alice Springs precincts, in the town’s Todd Mall and at Alice Springs Desert Park, where a two kilometre stretch of the 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges provided an extraordinary canvas for much of the light show.
The Festival, which is one of many annually recurring events on the NT’s major events calendar, presents large scale light installations, artworks, workshops, talks, films and live music which showcase some of Central Australia’s most celebrated Aboriginal artists.
The health famil program, which alternates each year between Darwin and Alice Springs, highlights the NT’s health sector specialisations, especially in relation to the research needs of tropical, remote, rural, and Aboriginal health, as well as emergency response.
During the visit to Alice Springs, the health famil participants visited a range of unique health sector facilities. These included the award-winning Purple House, an Indigenous-owned and run remote dialysis clinic, social support, aged-care service and bush medicine enterprise. A visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) included the tourist facility and base in town, as well as an exclusive back-of-house tour of the RFDS airport hangar.
Another highlight was a visit to the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre which is not only one of Australia’s first 100 per cent carbon neutral venues but is a family-run eco-tourism and educational facility. Three of the family members also work as professionally-trained paramedics in the region, their insights adding additional value to the health famil visit.
“I think the Parrtjima light show was an extraordinary event which showcased the MacDonnell Ranges and the Indigenous culture,” said Samantha Hunter, CEO with Occupational Therapy Australia.
“I also thought that the famil to the Royal Flying Doctor Service was outstanding and to have access behind the scenes was invaluable in informing our future event planning.”