Considering the past in the present: Teaching about Aboriginal-settler relations in the high school classroom
The National Curriculum represents major national educational reform, in addition to a valuable opportunity to interrogate existing educational practice. Lilly Brown's project aims to assess some of the limitations educators may identify as significant in the teaching of history, civics and social studies content that relates to or includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The research will gauge the attitudes of teaching staff in regards to the development of a new History and Civics and Citizenship Teacher Resource package relating to the '1881 Parliamentary Coranderrk Inquiry', based on the verbatim theatre performance, Coranderrk: We Will Show The Country, as part of the Australian Research Council funded, Minutes of Evidence project.
This project also provides an exciting possible opportunity to contribute to shaping the way in which the National Curriculum is formed in Victoria in relation to teaching about Australia’s shared past and the implications of this in the present. Through qualitative inquiry I will consider the attitudes, experiences and 'readiness' of secondary school educators in teaching content considering Aboriginal-settler relations within history, social studies and civics specifically relating to Year 9-10 students in Victoria.
This research is significant, as it will specifically assist by contributing to the development and implementation of curriculum resources within Victorian schools as relating to the history and social significance, both past and present, of the 1881 Parliamentary Coranderrk Inquiry into the conditions of Coranderrk, a former Government Reserve situated near Healesville. It will also serve as an examination of secondary school educator’s perspectives of content relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians more generally in light of the forthcoming implementation of the National Curriculum.
Throughout this project I will be working with the endorsement of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. I will also be working closely with Social Education Victoria who has been contracted by the Minutes of Evidence project to develop the curriculum resource package to be trialled in a select number of state schools around Victoria in 2014.
An analysis of Indigenous women’s experiences of punishment and control in Victoria
I will be producing an article that draws upon my PhD research, which examines Indigenous people’s experiences of imprisonment in contemporary Victoria, and the research I have conducted as part of the Minutes of Evidence project. I am proposing to use historical inquiry to explore the connecting links in Indigenous women’s experiences of punishment and control in Victoria (historical and contemporary). Such an approach can shed further light on contemporary events in relation to Indigenous women’s continued over-representation in the criminal justice system.
I propose to publish an article in one of the following publications: Australian Institute Law Review, Indigenous Law Bulletin, Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse or Trends and Issues in Criminology AIC.
Indigenous/Indigenist research methodologies
For the Minutes of Evidence project, I will convene a workshop in mid-2014 examining the perspectives and responsibilities of Indigenous/Indigenist researchers; and participate in a panel discussion at the Just Encounters symposium in August 2014. I will undertake research on the intersection between structural justice and verbatim theatre and co-author a paper with Julie Evans and Mark McMillan on relationships between structural justice and verbatim theatre for publication.
Teacher readiness to engage with Indigenous history
I am currently co-authoring an article with Lilly Brown based on the research she has conducted on the Minutes of Evidence classroom resource. I am bringing my knowledge to contextualise the 'readiness' of teachers to engage with Indigenous history. The research resonates with the words of Elder Uncle Wayne, as it "keeps the story line going". This research turns the gaze back onto Settler colonialism with the hopes of improving the accessibility of Indigenous education for both teachers and students. The MoE project reinvigorates the Coranderrk narrative, as allows Settlers to understand history from an Indigenous perspective. Such an approach allows for a "shared history" which draws upon the power of the land, the voice and the Coranderrk story.