Media release: Maningrida meets Melbourne

Students from Western Arnhem Land spent a week in late 2013 experiencing Melbourne life as part of the Sharing Place Learning Together partnership between the University of Melbourne and Maningrida College.

The week’s program, supported by Master of Teaching candidates, was organised by the university in collaboration with Maningrida College staff. It included visits to Bundoora College and Nossal High School, an art workshop at the National Gallery of Victoria, science activities at the Melbourne Zoo, and presentations at a university workshop.

During the workshop, Maningrida students converted a university classroom into a gallery displaying their paintings, screen prints and artefacts. Bernice Baker (pictured), who shared her painting of bush yams, explained how they are harvested and cooked.

“We look for the leaves and then dig with sharp sticks to get the yams. Then we cook them in the big covered sand fire,” she said.

Dr Sally Godinho, who assisted in co-ordinating the visit, said the workshop was a great opportunity for the Maningrida students to share their knowledge of country and community.

“The Maningrida students really enjoyed acting as hosts,” she said. “Guests commented on the quality of their artwork and several pieces were purchased, to the students’ great delight.”

The partnership has grown since its inception in 2010. Since 2012, Master of Teaching candidates have visited Maningrida College as part of the elective subject, Education, Practice and Place. Additionally, a group of candidates won a Dreamlarge grant to support this year’s visit, which funded trips to the MCG open day, Port Melbourne beach, Eureka Tower and the Western Bulldogs home ground, as well as a welcome BBQ.

Mason Scholes, Language and Cultural Coordinator at Maningrida College said the trip had their students’ best interests at heart.

“The staff and students in the Graduate School created a conducive environment for our students to talk and, most importantly, build confidence,” he said. “One of my highlights was seeing the students mingle with the crowd at the presentation, describing their work and showing what great things they have created and learnt at school.”