Remoteness is no barrier to art in the heart of the desert

03 November 2014

Joseph Shannon is a musician, a Winanjjikari Music Centre (WMC) employee, a member of the Barkly Boys band, a Tennant Creek local and a student at Tennant Creek High School.

Life is busy for Joseph. During the day he works at WMC and after that he goes to school. "This way I can get the best of both worlds: I can be a rock star and a student!"

In a touching video postcard[1] to his father, he said, "Music has bought me so far in my life. With this job I can provide for my family; food and clothes. I even had enough for a motorbike."

The Winanjjikari Music Centre is just one of the programs managed by Barkly Regional Arts (BRA). The BRA nurtures, encourages and supports the cultural expression of some of the most remote and isolated communities in Australia. It is a grassroots organisation that currently provides 50 annual programs or projects to over 800 artists throughout the Barkly region. These include visual artists, musicians, traditional Indigenous dancers, writers, weavers and potters. In a region with numerous natural challenges, giving a voice through art, music and film has proven to be a benefit in many different ways for local people.

For Anti-Poverty Week, Kathy Burns, Artistic Director, hosted a live, virtual tour of BRA. If you missed watching it live, the broadcast is now available on the NRHA website at:

The NRHA was honoured to partner with BRA for the webcast and looks forward to a continuing relationship in the interests of people who live and work in more remote areas. The NRHA has had a longstanding interest in promoting the close relationship between arts and health[2] in building health and wellbeing.

Thanks to the BRA and similar organisations, the power of arts and community has transformed the lives for people like Joseph. Remoteness should not be a barrier to training and skill development, especially when they lead to employment. 

Local arts activities are a valuable means of community development, allowing people to forge new networks and relationships. They are part of a diverse economic base - and are intrinsically healthy.

For more information visit: and


Contact:                Gordon Gregory – CEO:     02 6285 4660




©2022 National Rural Health Alliance | Privacy Policy & Collection Statement