2021 Indigenous Knowledge Institute seed funding recipients

The Indigenous Knowledge Institute is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2021 seed funding round. With 15 applications and a very strong pool of candidates, it was a competitive selection process. Five projects were chosen from a broad range of knowledge areas, from criminal justice systems and wetland management, to social and emotional wellbeing, contemporary art, and connection to Country.

The projects each demonstrate a strong commitment to partnership with Indigenous communities and will address a number of local challenges.

Please find more information about each of the successful projects below.

Birrarung’s billabongs: understanding their past to better manage them today

Dr Joe Greet (School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences) will work with the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Corporation’s Narrap (Country) Unit Rangers and Melbourne Water to develop management plans for priority billabongs along the lower Birrarung (Yarra River).

The project team will participate in On Country knowledge sharing, looking at current and past vegetation as well as disturbances like flooding and fire at these ecologically and culturally significant sites. Through skill and knowledge building, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Narrap Unit Rangers to manage their billabongs today and into the future.

Speaking about the project, Dr Greet said, “I thank the IKI for the opportunity and can’t wait to get out on Country with the Narrap Rangers—hopefully later this year!—and begin the process of developing an Indigenous people-led plan to better Care for Country.”

Social and Emotional Well-Being among Custodians of Australian Indigenous Knowledge

Led by Dr Candice Boyd (School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), the project will explore the social and emotional well-being of Elders and Older People as the holders and transmitters of cultural knowledge.

Dr Boyd will work in partnership with Dr Kari Gibson and Wiradjuri woman Professor Rhonda Wilson, along with First Nations communities in regional New South Wales, to address this neglected issue in the field of Indigenous knowledge research.

“Scarcely any research exists, nationally or globally, on the social and emotional well-being of First Nations Elders who are the custodians and keepers of Indigenous knowledge. Based on our findings, we aim to develop culturally appropriate resources in collaboration with Indigenous communities,” said Dr Boyd.

YOYI (dance)

Dr David Sequeira (Faculty of Fine Arts and Music) will work with the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development and Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association in the Tiwi Islands to produce the art exhibition ‘YOYI’. YOYI will comprise 30 bark paintings by emerging, midcareer, and senior artists, and a collaborative multi-channel video installation.

By highlighting the relationship between Tiwi Country, painting, and dance, YOYI will explore how Tiwi knowledges around change, continuity, and tradition can be communicated in a contemporary art context. The exhibition will be accompanied by an academic program of workshops, talks, and discussions.

Revitalising and sharing knowledge through creativity: developing interdisciplinary research practice

Dr Andrea Rawluk will co-lead a project with Darug woman Maddison Miller, Professor Rod Keenan (each School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences) and Dr Gillian Howell (Faculty of Fine Arts and Music), working with Gunaikurnai Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation and Indigenous actor Leroy Parsons.

The project will explore how knowledge and language can be rekindled and shared through song writing and storytelling on Country. The team will bring together Gunaikurnai from across generations to create and share songs, stories, and practices connected to healthy Country and community.

“Stories, songs, dance, and art have long held knowledges of how to protect the health of Country. This project is an exciting opportunity to partner with Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation to create and share knowledges on Country,” said Maddison Miller.

Indigenous knowledges in the criminal “justice” context

Led by Professor Marcia Langton (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health), the project will examine how Indigenous knowledges have been incorporated into the criminal justice system.

The project will make a significant contribution to the evidence base of Indigenous Justice Agreements by centring how Indigenous knowledges have driven these agreements, making them sites of self-determination, sovereignty, and nation-building. This work will be done in collaboration with Dr Amanda Porter of the Law School and a number of community justice and Indigenous organisations.

Dr Meribah Rose, a research associate on the project, stated, “We are thrilled with this opportunity to raise awareness of the work Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have done advocating and working in the ‘justice’ space, which hasn’t had enough public acknowledgement.”

Congratulations to all our 2021 seed funding recipients.

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Find out more about the 2021 seed funding round on our website.

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