Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2017 Archive

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Indigenous Research and Education: Creating Change forum

16 & 17 February 2017

A two-day forum presented by the Sydney School of Education and Social Work's Indigenous Research Collaboration for academics, higher degree researchers and community associates.

The 2017 Indigenous Research Collaboration Forum will bring together researchers from the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, other schools within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and internationally renowned researchers led by Professor Angus Hikairo Macfarlane from the University of Canterbury. The forum will include presentations and panel discussions on a range of areas including language, history, Indigenous rights, community engagement, Indigenous education, pedagogy and curricula as well as a symposium and roundtable discussion about future directions in Indigenous research.

The event will highlight ethical, engaged and collaborative research between academics, Aboriginal communities, schools and local agencies and aims to promote substantive dialogue that centres Indigenous perspectives and voices. Presenters will discuss findings from their current research projects and participants will have the opportunity to share their thinking while learning from the experiences and insights of colleagues and international researchers. Through this critical exchange of ideas, space is provided for academics and higher degree researchers to build personal knowledge and create shared understandings in the field.






Acknowledgement of Country
Welcome | Professor Diane Mayer, Head of School and Dean, Sydney School of Education and Social Work


Opening address | Professor John Evans, Professor of Indigenous Health Education, University of Technology Sydney


Response | Professor Angus Hikairo Macfarlane, Professor of Māori Research, University of Canterbury




Dr James Graham | Rangatahi kei mua: Navigating towards tomorrow


Te Hurinui Clarke | An Exploration into the Factors that Encourage Retention in Senior Te Reo Māori Programmes in English Medium Secondary Schools in Waitaha, Canterbury


Dr Sonja Macfarlane & Melissa Derby | Bringing Māori constructs into a National Science Challenge




PANEL | Teaching an Aboriginal language

Susan Poetsch & Michael Jarrett | Learning and teaching an Aboriginal language through story: professional learning workshops for teachers of Gumbaynggirr

Kitty-Jean Laghina | Community teachers’ perspectives on language teaching in an Aboriginal language revitalisation context


Criss Moore | Learning to read well


Dr Kevin Lowe & Dr Cathie Burgess | What actually Works in Aboriginal education!




ROUNDTABLE | Future Directions in Indigenous Research

Convener: Dr Cathie Burgess




Session chair: Dr Kevin Lowe


Katrina Thorpe | Pre-service teacher narratives of emotional labour at the Cultural Interface of Indigenous Studies


Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes | The utility of Critical Race theory for the Australian Aboriginal educational landscape


Louise Coombes | Understanding the impact of the ‘options, not orders’ approach to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cross-curriculum Priority



Session chair: Dr Lorraine Towers


Kaiya Aboagye | A discussion paper on the need for a radical reversal of our colonial education about the history between Africans in Australia and Indigenous Australians.


Cathryn Eatock | Means to increase the effectiveness of Indigenous advocacy at the United Nations


SYMPOSIUM | Facilitating Aboriginal participation in education – Pushing back against Neoliberalism
Discussant: Associate Professor Sue Goodwin

Speakers: Dr Lorraine Towers, Dr Kevin Lowe, Dr Leticia Anderson & Dr Cathie Burgess



Event details

  • When: 9am–4pm, Thursday 16 February.
    9am–1.45pm, Friday 17 February.
  • Where:

    Abercrombie Building H70
    The University of Sydney Business School
    Cnr Abercrombie St & Codrington St
    Darlington, NSW 2006
    Case Study Lecture Theatre 1050

    Abercrombie Building

    Click image for interactive map.

  • RSVP: Registrations are now closed
  • Contact:

    Rebecca Rathbone
    Project Administrator, Research Partnerships
    T: 9351 7008

  • Speakers:

    John Evans is Professor of Indigenous Health Education in the Faculty of Health at the University of Technology Sydney. John has a background in elite sport as an athlete and coach and continues to work with elite coaches in Australia and New Zealand. John is a Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council grants investigating the role of sport in Australian Indigenous communities. His previous research has focused on pedagogy in sport, Indigenous sport and the relationship between sport, health and education in Indigenous communities. John was a co-author of the book Advances in Rugby Coaching; An holistic approach published in 2015. He has also contributed a chapter called the nature and importance of coach-player relationships in the uptake of Game Sense by Elite Rugby in Australia and New Zealand in the book Contemporary Developments in Games Teaching.

    Angus Hikairo Macfarlane affiliates to the Ngāti Whakaue tribe in the north island and is Professor of Māori Research at the University of Canterbury (UC), and Director of Te Rū Rangahau: The Māori Research Laboratory. His research focuses on exploring Indigenous and sociocultural imperatives that influence education and psychology. Avid about Māori advancement, he has pioneered several theoretical frameworks associated with culturally-responsive approaches for professionals working in these disciplines. Professor Macfarlane’s prolific publication portfolio and exemplary teaching abilities have earned him national and international standing in his field of scholarship. In 2010, he received the Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award from the New Zealand Council for Educational Research for outstanding contributions to Māori research. In 2013, he was awarded the University of Canterbury Research Medal – the highest honour that the UC Council can extend to its academic staff. In 2015, he received the national Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for specialist services in the field of kaupapa Māori.

    James Graham is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education, at the University of Canterbury. James has a background in Māori education with experience working across Initial Teacher Education Programmes between 1997 and 2012 at Te Kupenga o Te Mātauranga - Massey University and Te Kura Māori - Victoria University of Wellington. More recently, he was an Education Manager at his local tribe, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated for four years. Of interest since his appointment to the University of Canterbury in 2016 has been an exploration of how notions of Māori leadership, guided by a Māori worldview can nurture multiple layers of Māori citizenship. For instance, regarding Māori education success, traditional examples of Māori leadership and contemporary perspectives are key to its realisation, with whānau at the core with a key question being, what do notions of Māori citizenship [educational success] look like to Māori?

    Te Hurinui Clarke Te Hurinui Clarke is a Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education, at the University of Canterbury. Te Hurinui’s teaching and research focus on student retention in Māori language programmes in English-medium secondary schools. He has been a classroom teacher of Māori language in secondary schools and now lectures in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Canterbury. He is the programme coordinator and lecturer in the Postgraduate Diploma in Bilingual and Immersion Teaching (Hōaka Pounamu) and facilitator of the cultural content of the refreshed Masters programme for practicing teachers, educational professionals, counsellors, and researcher. Te Hurinui is recognised for his expertise in Karakia (Māori Incantation), whaikōrerō (Māori Oratory) and mau taiaha (Māori Weaponry). In 2011 he was conferred an award by the New Zealand Armed Forces for his role in the aftermath of the Mount Erebus tragedy.

    Sonja Macfarlane (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Waewae) is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at UC and Associate Professor at the University of Waikato. Her research, publications and teaching focus on culturally-responsive evidence-based practices in education, psychology, counselling and human development. Her career pathway has seen her move from classroom teacher to itinerant teacher, to special education advisor, to the National Professional Practice Leader: Services to Māori (Pouhikiahurea) in the Ministry of Education, Special Education. In 2014, Dr Macfarlane received a University of Canterbury Research Award. Her most recent distinction was the Research Team Award conferred by UC’s College of Education, Health and Human Development. Dr Macfarlane is a research and advisory member on several ministerial-funded projects.

    Melissa Derby (Ngāti Ranginui) is a UC doctoral student and Research Analyst. Her thesis will contribute to the Literacy strand of the ‘A Better Start: E Tipu e Rea’ project. She recently completed her Master of Arts, and her research focused on the evolution of tribal identity in response to various phenomena evident in specific socio-historical phases. The experiences of her own hapū, Ngāi Tamarāwaho, informed the case study in her thesis. Melissa has a particular interest in advancing Māori education; Māori and Indigenous identity, especially among the diaspora; the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi settlements in contemporary Māori society; international human rights instruments, particularly the UNDRIP; and the global revitalisation of Indigenous languages, knowledge, and cultural practices. Following the submission of her Master’s thesis, Melissa was accepted into summer school at Columbia University in New York, where she completed a graduate certificate in Indigenous Studies.

    Michael Jarrett is a Gumbaynggirr man from the mid-north coast of NSW. His ancestors belong to the sea and rainforest areas of the Nambucca River. He teaches language to his own people, to children in schools and people in the wider community. He also sings traditional and contemporary Gumbaynggirr songs in a local band. He is a qualified Early Childhood Education teacher, and also completed the Masters in Indigenous Language Education (MILE) at the University of Sydney.

    Susan Poetsch is a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Sydney. She teaches units of study on the morphology of Australian languages, language learning, language teaching approaches, and curriculum development in the MILE program, a course for Indigenous Australian teachers of their own languages.

    Kitty-Jean Laghina is from Wollongong and recently graduated from the University of Sydney, completing her honours thesis in the department of Linguistics in 2016. Her undergraduate degree also involved studies in sociology, philosophy and Indigenous studies. She is interested in - and passionate about - the revitalisation of the first languages of Australia. Her paper, supervised by Susan Poetsch and Ahmar Mahboob, consisted of an interview-based research study looking at the views of community teachers of Aboriginal languages, where languages were being revitalisation through school educational programs. She is enthusiastic about education as a means of social transformation, social justice and language rights. Looking to the future, she seeks to pursue a career that puts these principles into practice and perhaps return to university to further investigate these issues in an academic context.

    Criss Moore is a Gamilaraay Murry and teacher working on DET Regional staff. She has a passion to see our young peoples excel in every area of their lives. Belonging sets a foundation for every part of our lives and it is only then that our young people can walk tall.

    Kevin Lowe is a Gubbi Gubbi man from southeast Queensland. He has had extensive educational experience including being a high school teacher, TAFE administrator, University lecturer, and NSW Board of Studies Inspector, Aboriginal Education. He has been actively involved in Aboriginal community organisations, Aboriginal language policy and curriculum development and implementation and over the last 20 years has worked on establishing educational projects with Aboriginal communities, schools and education systems that centre on the development of effective school-community learning partnerships. Most recently he was appointed as a Post Doctoral Fellow at Macquarie University to undertake research on developing a model of sustainable improvement in Aboriginal education.

    Cathie Burgess is a Senior Lecturer at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. She has extensive secondary teaching experience in Aboriginal Studies, History, Geography and literacy support. Her academic interests include culturally responsive and critical pedagogies, Aboriginal community driven pre-service and in-service teacher professional learning, Aboriginal student engagement and socially just approaches to education. Cathie has been chief investigator on a number of research projects about Aboriginal community-based teacher professional learning and engagement in schools and is currently working on the Aboriginal Voices: Transformations and Change Project with Dr Kevin Lowe. Cathie is convenor of the Indigenous Research Collaboration, President of the Aboriginal Studies Association, life member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and board member of the Aboriginal Education Council.

    Lorraine Towers is a lecturer in Indigenous Studies (history, culture and education) at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work. Through an interdisciplinary approach in her teaching and research she considers the comparative and intercultural history of Indigenous school experience with a focus on policy, practice, subjectivity and Indigenous agency. This has led to an interest in a more critical appraisal of comparative studies and neo-liberal management of difference. She remains interested in various aspects of African Studies, her monograph, Formal Schooling, Identity and Resistance: Oromo Participation in the Post-Colonial State, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan (2017).

    Leticia Anderson is a Lecturer in Cultural Competence at the National Centre for Cultural Competence. Leticia has a decade of experience as a social justice educator within the higher education sector, having previously worked as a lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies and Sociology and Social Policy with the University of Sydney. Prior to commencing her academic career, Leticia worked in the Indigenous rights and reconciliation movement. Leticia has a dual research specialty in developing and delivering inclusive higher education learning and teaching experiences, and in race relations and Islamophobia in contemporary society and culture.

    Lynette Riley is a Senior Lecturer and the Leader, Indigenous Strategy, at the University of Sydney’s School of Education and Social Work. Lynette is a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman from Dubbo and Moree with more than 30 years working experience as a teacher and in Aboriginal education and administration within primary schools, high schools, TAFE, state office and universities. As an Aboriginal person Lynette has been required not to just theorise about what was occurring to and for Aboriginal children, and their communities; or the interwoven interactions with non-Aboriginal people, communities and organisations; but rather to be actively involved in researching new solutions and effecting sustainable change for Aboriginal programs. This has meant a focus on interweaving understandings and knowledge of cultural education and cultural competence for all people in working with one another whether at the individual or organisational level.

    Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes is a Kamilaroi woman who began working within the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney in January 2017. She submitted her PhD thesis titled: Culturally responsive pedagogies of success: Improving educational outcomes for Australian Aboriginal students, at the end of 2016 and awaits her results. Sheelagh has moved from Adelaide back to Sydney, where she hasn't lived for a decade. In addition to education, Sheelagh has studied in the areas of psychology, sociology and criminology. But her passion is educational success for all students but particularly Aboriginal students and advocates that this involves culturally responsive schools, teachers and teaching and working in partnership with Aboriginal students, families and communities.

    Louise Coombes is a fourth year Bachelor of Education Primary honours student. She has a keen interest in the field of Indigenous education and is passionate about the impact that authentic embedding of Aboriginal histories, cultures and perspectives can have within the classroom. Her honours research concerns the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum Priority.

    Kaiya Aboagye is Ghanaian, West African, Erub Islander from the Torres Strait and descendant of the Kuku yalanji people of far North Queensland. Kaiya also pays homage to her South Sea Islander bloodlines that are traced back to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Kaiya's research will deconstruct the social, historical and trans-cultural intersections between Indigenous Australia and people of the global African diaspora. Her study proposes new ways to advance our thinking about a trans-Indigenous paradigm. How it has emerged across various sites of Black Australia and the ways in which we come to think about race, ethnicity, "Blackness" and what this means for the development of trans-cultural Black studies in this country.

    Cathryn Eatock is a Kairi/Badjula woman, whose people come from central Queensland, Australia. Cathy is a PhD Candidate considering the impact of the United Nations in facilitating the implementation of self-determination within nation states and how this may be strengthened to better inform Australia. The research is being undertaken through the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, at the University of Sydney. Cathryn has completed a Master in Human Rights and Graduate Diploma in Public Administration, both undertaken at the University of Sydney. Cathryn also draws on her background campaigning for Aboriginal rights within the Aboriginal community, her experience advocating at the United Nations and previous employment as a Senior Policy Officer in Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

    Katrina Thorpe is a lecturer at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. She has more than 15 years’ experience teaching Indigenous Studies in higher education, with particular interests in quality teaching and learning in the evolving discipline of Indigenous Studies. Katrina is a descendant of the Worimi people.

Indigenous research collaboration forum


Abercrombie Building H70
The University of Sydney Business School
Cnr Abercrombie St & Codrington St
Darlington, NSW 2006
Case Study Lecture Theatre 1050

Abercrombie Building

Click image for interactive map.

Outlook / iCal