Whole of Community Engagement Initiative Blog

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Posted on 05 October, 2015 in Research

Our research methodology

The WCE initiative draws on both traditional and local Indigenous knowledges to develop innovative solutions to create meaningful and relevant pathways to higher education.

Each Indigenous community oversees its own project to ensure effective methods of engagement are found to suit the people of that community.

This entails the WCE team strengthening relationships with local elders, parents and families, leaders and educators and developing bottom-up strategies, which build on existing community driven processes and structures.

Focusing on both relationships and social processes enables the development of a Participatory Action Research framework.

Research and Evaluation Manager, Dr Anne Lowell says that the WCE initiative focuses on building relationships with the community and supporting community driven processes to reach local solutions.

“This is achieved through negotiation, recognition and reflection, resulting in the development of action-based activities that support and sustain educational aspirations,” Dr Lowell said.

“Valuing the participation, contributions and knowledge of local community members and engaging local leaders in the decision making processes are paramount to the success of the project."

“A culturally responsive Participatory Action Research approach recognises Indigenous knowledges as imperative to engagement while enabling WCE staff to critically self-reflect on their social practices."

“To our knowledge, this type of bottom-up approach that identifies community higher education needs and supports the implementation of local solutions through working partnerships with local stakeholders and communities has not yet been trialled in remote Indigenous contexts at this scale,” Dr Lowell said.

Activities are designed using a participatory action research approach, implemented and led by local indigenous community members with support from the WCE team.

The large-scale multi-site participatory action research project involves a WCE team comprising a broad range of roles, including: a program manager and coordinator, community engagement leaders, mentor and enrichment officers, a community teacher’s liaison leader and evaluators, supporting local Indigenous community leaders, researchers and organisations engaged and employed in the initiative.

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Charles Darwin UniversityAustralian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges & EducationBatchelor InstituteNAILSMANTG

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