Since 11 September 2001, Australia’s race relations have been an issue of significant cultural concern, particularly relations between Anglo-Celtic and Middle-Eastern Australians. Riots on Cronulla Beach, Sydney, in December 2005 heightened this concern. This paper looks at the events at Cronulla and the debates they catalysed about race relations in Australia, and examines how these discourses have been shaped by arguments from both the Right and the Left. Informed by the discourse of critical multiculturalism, we examine several performance-based arts activities that made the riots their subject matter and argue that these arts practices reflect a larger cultural concern about the currency of traditional forms of multiculturalism, and promote instead an emphasis on understanding racial conflict as a critical negotiation over shared territories and values.
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