Urbanisation, knowledge sharing and cultural authority
Public sector funding policies toward end of the last millennium prioritised capital works for many sectors, in particular, higher education. Implementation strategies resulted in the co-construction of new semi-urban 'master planned communities' and new satellite campuses of established urban universities in South East Queensland, connected by constantly upgrading mazes of motorways. The subsequent change in federal government from Liberal to Labor toward the end of the first decade of the new millennium brought a shift towards a more equitable society at ease with its shared culture. This new priority placed an imperative on many service providers - including universities - to work with First People communities to implement reconciliatory goals around access to knowledge. These changes have moved the focus of university improvement initiatives towards rethinking the programs and courses they offer with a view to addressing the inherit bias towards Western knowledges. Achievement of these goals however is contingent upon the establishment of cultural authority. In urban and semi-urban contexts this involves a complex and lengthy process of negotiation - within community, and between community and institution. The sticking point in the process is the barrier of institutionalised disadvantage that is maintained through State Legislation that facilitates urbanisation by favouring destruction rather than preservation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Our paper will articulate some of the results of inadequate dialogue with contemporary, local Indigenous communities and highlight strategies and protocols for engaging in constructive dialogue and genuinely respective partnership.
Perspectives on urban life; connections and reconnections. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Sept 28 - Oct 2 2009
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education