Published: 18 November 2020
Last week our Faculty hosted a series of events to mark NAIDOC week, the theme of which was “Always Was, Always Will Be”. Kudos to our Indigenous students, professional and academic staff, alumni as well as local Elders and colleagues from other institutions for such a powerful, hard-hitting and inspiring programme.
Uncle Vic Simms, an Elder from La Perouse, opened the week sharing vivid and candid stories of his experiences of growing up and living on his country, the country on which we work and learn.
On Tuesday we held a panel event on “Growing our Own and Giving Back” involving FAAD Indigenous students, professional and academic staff to hear about their experiences in our Faculty community, as well as what we can do to make “FAAD” a safe and supportive place for Indigenous students and staff.
On Wednesday the theme was “Institutional responsibility in language revival” and the Thursday event showcased Indigenous research and scholars in “FAAD”. Our staff and students held a virtual yarn, and we heard from Indigenous alumni from across “FAAD” about what the 2020 NAIDOC theme “Always Was, Always Will Be” means to them.
Some events were held in our beautiful Esme Timbery Creative Practice Lab, giving us the opportunity to see the shellwork of artists Esme Timbery and her daughter Marilyn Russell displayed in the foyer, as well as the ‘In her hands’ mural by artists Kirra Weingarth, Dennis Golding and Carmen Glynn-Braun.
Another real highlight of the week was the NAIDOC Touch Footy game (it was a draw) and meeting local Elder Auntie Yvonne Simms.
Congratulations on Successes
Congratulations to alumni Dennis Golding (Art & Design) who has been awarded the prestigious 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship to develop his professional practice and engagement by undertaking research to establish new narratives of contemporary Aboriginal cultural identity in urban space.
Congratulations, too, to colleagues BJ Newton (SPRC / Social Sciences) and Kevin Lowe (Education) for each securing an ARC Discovery Indigenous award. BJ will research “Aboriginal child restoration from out-of-home care: pathways for success” and Kevin will undertake “A qualitative and quantitative study of Indigenous content in curriculum.”
Indigenous Strategy for “FAAD”
As Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Architecture and Design I have been very clear that under my leadership the experiences of Indigenous staff and students are a priority. There will be an Indigenous identified Associated Dean as part of our Faculty’s new leadership team and our Indigenous strategy will include a hiring strategy alongside education, research and engagement and impact. We have already created some new Indigenous scholarships.
Over the past months I have been listening to our students in Wingangala Gurrugurrubaa to understand their experiences and how we can best provide a safe and supportive environment for them across both our campuses. Together we have identified some immediate priorities for us to action, for example, identifying a dedicated yet visible space for Indigenous staff, students and visitors in Paddington and Kensington.
I acknowledge that we have made mistakes and not always got things right in the past, but my commitment as Dean is to listen, learn and offer transparency and accountability now and in the future.