ARC funding reshaping humanities through Indigenous creative arts

A National Indigenous Creative Arts Framework to transform humanities disciplines at Australian universities is the aim of a project awarded funding under the ARC Discovery Indigenous Scheme and led by researchers at Flinders University.

The three-year grant ($468,026) will bring together a dynamic team of investigators, all Indigenous women and creative art practitioners, to examine the generational impacts of colonial institutions on Indigenous culture in the first type research of this scale in Australia.

Lead Chief Investigator, Dr Ali Gumillya Baker in the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, says the project will examine the inter-generational impacts of colonial institutions and archives on Indigenous communities and how academic discourse, through Indigenous language, poetry, song, visual arts, and performance, can transform research and teaching at Australian universities.

The project will also incorporate a survey of current and emerging Indigenous literature, a series of creative workshops, annual symposiums at Australian universities, specialist publications in reputable journals and support for Indigenous PhD scholars.

“The ways Indigenous philosophies and methodologies are being utilised in the Humanities across Australia, and how these ideas are translated into what is understood as research and teaching, provide important insights into the cultural movements and capacity of the University sector nationally,” says Dr Baker.

“Australian universities are responding to Indigenous community calls for Indigenous representation within the academy and across the professional sectors trained within universities, both in staff employment, student enrolment and curriculum design, however research suggests there is a long way to go.”

“The project will inform teaching and learning resources for Indigenous scholars and academics, through the project blog and website. It will also provide an excellent platform for further cross-disciplinary research with a diverse range of research academics working with the Indigenous communities within Higher Education, nationally and internationally.”

Dr Simone Ulalka Tur, Chief Investigator and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at Flinders University, says the project will also establish a national and international network of Indigenous academic artists and researchers working within Indigenous and Pacific Studies programs in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

“Creative arts methods and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, contribute to the development of an Indigenous creative arts decolonising framework, informed by anti-racist pedagogies and principles of social justice,” says Dr Tur.

The investigators comprise scholars and create arts practitioners who work and live on Kaurna Yarta, Adelaide, Ngunnawal country in Canberra, Wurundjeri and Jaara country in Victoria. They include Lead CI Dr Ali Gumillya Baker (Mirning), Dr Simone Ulalka Tur (Yankunytjatjara), Dr Natalie Harkin (Narungga), Ms Faye Rosas Blanch (Yidinyji, MBarbaram) from Flinders, and Dr Katerina Teaiwa (Banaba, Tabiteuea, Rabi Island), Australian National University, Dr Lou Bennett AM (Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung), University of Melbourne, and PI Dr Romaine Moreton (Goenpul Yagerabul Minjungbal Bundjulung), Director of First Nations and Outreach, Australian Film Television and Radio School.

The artistic and scholarly background of the seven researchers ensures the development of an Indigenous Creative Arts Decolonising Framework that will have benefits for Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples, as well as education institutions.



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