Indigenous

3 minute read

Marchers and young Indigenous people at the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne Australia waving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags

As a University, we have a strong commitment to supporting Indigenous development in Australia, and to addressing the disadvantages faced by Indigenous Australians. This commitment is demonstrated through our Reconciliation Action Plan. It was also reflected through the Indigenous Hallmark Research Initiative – a three-year, multidisciplinary research hub that paved the way for the establishment of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute.

Wominjeka / Welcome

The University of Melbourne acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which it operates. The University has campuses and facilities on the lands of the Kulin peoples, which includes the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung Wathaurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung peoples, as well as the Yorta Yorta nation. We pay our respects to their Elders, both past and present. The University of Melbourne extends a warm welcome to all Indigenous peoples, researchers and others interested in Indigenous studies.

Outcomes

The Indigenous Hallmark Research Initiative built a stronger Indigenous research cohort within and beyond the University. It achieved this through a range of activities, including conferences, research education programs and a seed funding scheme. These activities built the foundation for the establishment of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute. This institute is now the focal point for Indigenous research activity and programs at the University.

Key activities

PhD Familiarisation Programs

1. HASS Indigenous Familiarisation Program 2019

This program was offered to aspiring Indigenous researchers across the creative arts, humanities, social sciences, law, business and education, to:

  • inspire future researchers to further explore their research project ideas
  • inform future Indigenous PhD researchers of the opportunities and tailored support available for them at the University
  • connect future Indigenous PhD researchers with academic mentors, other Indigenous students and support services across the University.

2. Annual PhD Familiarisation Program

This program is hosted annually for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are considering a PhD. This fully funded, two-to-three-day program:

  • introduces potential supervisors to future researchers
  • guides participants through the admissions process
  • offers workshops on research skills development
  • creates the opportunity to connect with some of Australia's most prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers.

Place and Partnerships Conference 2018

Indigenous research relationships and place-based projects at the University of Melbourne

This conference showcased research addressing the theme of place-based research and Indigenous research partnerships. Academic teams including their relevant Indigenous organisations and community partners, presented projects that focused on building relationships and delivering tangible outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The place-based research agenda prioritised innovative and locally defined solutions to contemporary problems. In health, education, justice, linguistics and many other fields, attention to place enables the development of sustainable relationships based on reciprocity and collaboration.

Teams described research, teaching and learning projects that included ongoing Indigenous partnerships and place-based engagement. Presentations focused on the relationship development that underpins research outcomes or translation, including:

  • projects which respond to community needs and priorities, or which support a community-driven research agenda
  • addressing the geographical contexts of research, such as relationships on Country, or place-based responses to governance or service delivery
  • partnerships which demonstrate continued development over time, including teaching and learning projects.

Priority was given to presentations which included Indigenous collaborators, organisations or representatives, and with a substantial focus on relationship development and maintenance. The conference provided an innovative combination of presentations, roundtables, workshops and story-telling through the PechaKucha format.

Seed Funding Scheme 2016 and 2017

The initiative offered seed funding grants in 2016 and 2017. The scheme supported interdisciplinary research projects in the field of Indigenous research. The primary purpose was to build capacity in, and support new and emerging, areas of Indigenous research. The scheme successfully:

  • supported and prioritised new areas of Indigenous research, enhancing the University's capabilities in this area
  • funded highly innovative small-to-medium-scale interdisciplinary research projects that showed potential for future funding by granting bodies
  • brought together academic staff from across disciplines to work on the interdisciplinary problems consistent with the broad research objectives of the Indigenous Hallmark Research Initiative.

Funded projects 2017

Improving care of Indigenous Australians with diabetes in rural communities

Lead researcher: Dr Elif Ekinci  |  Partner: Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Service.

Collaborating, building and broadcasting in Wadeye, Northern Territory

Lead researcher: Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker  |  Partner: Thamarrurr Development Corporation.

Digital solutions for capturing connectedness and mobility data in remote Indigenous communities

Lead researcher: Dr Katherine Gibney  |  Partners: Menzies, Northern Institute, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre.

New approaches to improve nutrition in Indigenous children ina remote Yolngu community

Lead researcher: Dr Sarah Hanieh  |  Partner: Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation.

Enhancing the educational experience and outcomes of Indigenous doctoral students

Lead researcher: Dr Mikki Moodie  |  Partner: University of Melbourne Indigenous Graduate Students Association.

Funded Projects 2016

Planning for economic development and diversity on the Tiwi Islands

Lead researcher: Dr Jane Elith, Faculty of Science  |  Partner:  Tiwi Land Council.

Miminni and Burri: A report card of health outcomes in the Goulburn Murray Region

Lead Researcher: Prof Bill Adam, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences

Partners: Kaiela Institute, Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative, Goulburn Valley Health, Greater Shepparton City Council.

Art as voice: Indigenous epistemologies for research on arts and for practice-based research in Australia

Lead researcher: Dr Sally Treloyn, Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music  |  Partner: Wilin Centre, CDU.

Indigenous news database and case studies on Indigenous news media

Lead researcher: A/Prof Margaret Simons, Faculty of Arts  |  Partners: Guardian Australia, IndigenousX.

Improving the health service access utilisation of young Aboriginal people in Melbourne

Lead researcher: Dr Simon Graham, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences  |  Partner: Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.

Approach

The Indigenous Hallmark Research Initiative worked to:

  • increase engagement with, and impact of, the University’s research in Indigenous studies
  • enhance close working relationships with Indigenous communities
  • nurture, recruit and retain Indigenous researchers to build a stronger Indigenous research cohort within and beyond the University
  • expand our understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting Indigenous peoples in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region
  • embrace Indigenous knowledge
  • improve knowledge and understanding for the benefit of Indigenous communities and Australian society as a whole.

Image: Johan Mouchet/Unsplash

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Indigenous Knowledge Institute

A centre for Aboriginal knowledge, research and education, deepening engagement between Indigenous communities, scholars and the world.