Learning spaces

The aim of this project was to support the development of learning centres by utilising community driven processes that draw on the strengths of Warlpiri culture through building Indigenous research capacity and engaging youth, families and leaders to achieve educational aspirations.

  1. Support the establishment of a Warlpiri Research Centre based at PAW Media and Communications with a focus on building capacity in Indigenous research 
  2. Support the archival digitisation project and the repatriation of the Olive Pink Collection held in Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the National Gallery of Australia 
  3. Strengthen partnerships with Universities and institutions to acknowledge Warlpiri research protocols.
  4. Conduct two Warlpiri research projects designed by Warlpiri Researchers including:
    1. Education History
    2. Warlpiri leadership
  5. Support the ongoing development of Yuendumu community graduation celebrations through partnership development to recognise students who have completed VET, Higher Education courses, and the work of Warlpiri employees of local organisations.

Warlpiri leaders Eddie and Lottie Robertson prioritise education in the Yuendumu Community and collaborate with Batchelor Institute on promoting pathways to higher education. <br> Warlpiri leaders Eddie and Lottie Robertson prioritise education in the Yuendumu Community and collaborate with Batchelor Institute on promoting pathways to higher education.

Establishment of the Warlpiri Research Centre

A service agreement between CDU and Warlpiri Media Association (WMA) trading as PAW Media & Communications was executed in June 2015. A space was identified, renovated and equipped for the purpose of building capacity in Indigenous research through Warlpiri researchers (1) designing and conducting relevant research projects and (2) digitising archival and repatriating significant research material from relevant institutions.

PAW Media & Communications assigned three spaces: a large room, an office space and an archival storage space.This room has been renovated and refurbished, lined with sound proof padding and equipped with office furniture.Recording equipment has been purchased and set up to record interviews on camera to build capacity in Indigenous research.

This facility will provide a platform for ongoing research development and build capacity in Indigenous research to strengthen pathways to higher education.It will also provide a platform for establishing a Warlpiri Research Ethics Committee, enabling the community greater control over research activities conducted in the community by universities and other agencies.

At the Warlpiri Research Centre, Indigenous researchers will use the space to negotiate research protocols to ensure that Universities and institutions adopt culturally acceptable ways of doing research and ensure that Indigenous participation and decision-making underpins all research activities undertaken in Yuendumu. In 2016, a collaboration developed between Warlpiri researchers and Professor Linda Barwick, musicologist, Sydney Conservatorium of Music University of Sydney, musicologist to conduct the ‘Supporting Vitality in Warlpiri Songs’ project, which aims to analyse the maintenance of cultural practices in a rapidly changing world.This research involves the employment of both Simon Fisher and Valerie Martin, formalised in a three year contract.Commencing in 2017, research activity will be conducted at the Warlpiri Research Centre to utilise the archival material that has been digitised under the archival digitisation project. WCE has facilitated some of these negotiations, particularly in relation to ethics.

WCE works in partnership with PAW Media and Communications to establish a Warlpiri Research Centre. WCE works in partnership with PAW Media and Communications to establish a Warlpiri Research Centre.

Simon Fisher conducting an interview with Jimmy Langdon in the new Walpiri Research Centre<br> Simon Fisher conducting an interview with Jimmy Langdon in the new Walpiri Research Centre

WCE Research Team included Jimmy Langdon, Elizabeth Katarinja and their mentor Simon Fisher (seating).<br> WCE Research Team included Jimmy Langdon, Elizabeth Katarinja and their mentor Simon Fisher (seating).

Archival digitisation project

While the Warlpiri Research Centre was being renovated, WCE staff collaborated with Warlpiri Media Association (WMA) trading as PAW Media and Communications to acquire funds from Granites Mines Affected Areas Aboriginal Corporation (GMAAAC) to repatriate the Olive Pink Collection from AIATSIS and the National Museum of Australia.The aim of this activity was to generate Warlpiri research activity through acquiring access to closed files comprising Warlpiri knowledge of cultural significance.

The Community Engagement Leader commenced negotiations with AIATSIS and the National Museum of Australia in June 2015 over the repatriation of the Olive Pink Collection comprising 800 photos, 12,000 pages of anthropological records.Negotiations also took place with the National Museum of Australia over its Olive Pink artefact collection. For the next eight months, the Community Engagement Leader facilitated access applications and processes in collaboration with WMA. In March 2016, AIATSIS granted permission to WMA through formal agreement with AIATSIS under the Copyright Act 1968, the AIATSIS Act 1989 (Cth) and the AIATSIS Collections Access and Use Policy.

The Olive Pink collection is one of the largest archival collections in AIATSIS and contains sensitive data relating to both Warlpiri and Arrernte culture recorded in the 1930s.For this reason, the Community Engagement Leader was required to collaborate with Lhere Artepe Indigenous Organisation based in Alice Springs to appoint Arrernte senior custodians to work closely with senior Warlpiri leaders of Yuendumu in classifying the material.In April 2016, a group of three Warlpiri and three Arrernte researchers in collaboration with WCE staff visited AIATSIS and the National Museum of Australia in Canberra to examine the Olive Pink Collection and prepare for repatriation. All material has been digitised and repatriated to the Warlpiri Research Centre. Over the long term, Simon Fisher will collaborate with Warlpiri researchers, marking sensitive material and to collect knowledge on unmarked material: all items contained in the photographic and artefact collection have little or no information recorded. It is intended to provide feedback to AIATSIS and the National Museum of Australia, which partnership development will benefit the community for subsequent research projects.

This action was facilitated by the WCE staff to build Indigenous research capacity in the Warlpiri Research Centre, in which GMAAAC also contributed funds. The Yuendumu community is now able to promote the Warlpiri Research Centre to gain ongoing support.For instance, towards the end of this initiative, WCE community-based staff submitted applications to GMAAAC to purchase computers for the Warlpiri Research Centre to assist with sustaining research activities.

Arrernte and Warlpiri representatives with WCE staff collaborate on the repatriation of Olive Pink’s Collection.&nbsp; From left to right: Russell Taylor, AM, Chief Executive Office of AIATSIS, Simon Fisher Junior, Baydon Williams, Peter Wallace, Mick Campbell, Harry Jones and Simon Fisher Senior. Arrernte and Warlpiri representatives with WCE staff collaborate on the repatriation of Olive Pink’s Collection.  From left to right: Russell Taylor, AM, Chief Executive Office of AIATSIS, Simon Fisher Junior, Baydon Williams, Peter Wallace, Mick Campbell, Harry Jones and Simon Fisher Senior.

Simon Fisher supervising research at the National Gallery of Australia Simon Fisher supervising research at the National Gallery of Australia

Indigenous researchers examine the signficance of Olive Pink’s Papers to Warlpiri and Arrernte culture supported by Lisa Watts, WCE Community Engagement Leader and Liam Campbell, Researcher. Indigenous researchers examine the signficance of Olive Pink’s Papers to Warlpiri and Arrernte culture supported by Lisa Watts, WCE Community Engagement Leader and Liam Campbell, Researcher.

The research was supervised by Simon Fisher, WCE community based staff member The research was supervised by Simon Fisher, WCE community based staff member

A Warlpiri research project

WCE community-based staff designed a research project on Warlpiri leadership to demonstrate how Indigenous research builds capacity and strengthen pathways to higher education.This research project involved the WCE staff interviewing a vast range of leaders on camera to collect qualitative data on the link between Warlpiri leadership and higher education. This took place in the Warlpiri Research Centre. At the beginning of this project, WCE staff conducted 11 interviews; some were incomplete or dampened by technical difficulties.Subsequently, WCE Initiative employed Liam Campbell to assist WCE staff to conduct further interviews, in which key issues of concern were highlighted. Warlpiri leaders referred to three major themes:

  • Literacy, Language and Learning
  • Bi-lingual/Bicultural education
  • Warlpiri leadership and self-determination

The production was screened at the Indigenous Leadership Conference at CDU on Thursday 10 November and at the Yuendumu Graduation Ceremony on 8 December 2016. The video can be viewed on vimeo link (on the right). Password is ‘cdu’.

Interviewees: Simon Fisher, Elizabeth Katakarinja and Jimmy Langdon interviewing Simon Fisher (jnr) and Isiah Fisher. Interviewees: Simon Fisher, Elizabeth Katakarinja and Jimmy Langdon interviewing Simon Fisher (jnr) and Isiah Fisher.

30 January 2017

Whole of Community Engagement Initiative

Whole of Community Engagement Initiative

The Whole of Community Engagement (WCE) initiative has been operating through the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University for the past two and half years.

23 January 2017

Evaluating WCE

We have been working hard with our partners and stakeholders to get feedback and to document and share our key findings and achievements.

Charles Darwin UniversityAustralian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges & EducationBatchelor InstituteNAILSMANTG

© 2015 Charles Darwin University

Website created by Dash Media Darwin.