Issue #2 - 22 June 2022

Message from the A/Dean Indigenous

Welcome to the second edition of Blak’Ed for 2022. This year has indeed been a whirlwind of activity, excitement, and triumph here at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), as we work toward the ambitious goals set out in the MGSE Divisional Indigenous Development Plan.

First Nations in Education

I have had the wonderful pleasure of witnessing the progress and successes of our MTeach students undertaking the First Nations in Education subject this semester. The diverse and innovative assessment pieces that the students have produced demonstrate the deep learning and critical engagement with the teaching and learning provided over the semester. A big congratulations to all the students for their hard work and openness to exploring how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are important in their future work as classroom teachers.

My heartfelt thanks to the subject coordinators and teaching staff who have worked tirelessly to present the content and engage with the work over this semester. As many of you know, the First Nations in Education team was recently awarded the 2022 MGSE Award for 'excellence and innovation in teaching Indigenous perspectives.' I'd like to congratulate the team once more; this is well-deserved recognition for your dedication and hard work in ensuring the success of the subject.

I am so proud of the subject and how our school has embraced initiatives such as this to increase the representation of Indigenous knowledge in our teaching and learning. It's also exciting to see colleagues' work influenced by their First Nations in Education teaching experiences, such as A/Prof John Quay, who presented a workshop on Indigenous-informed outdoor education at a recent education conference.

MGSE Statement of Reconciliation

Our school recently published the MGSE Statement of Reconciliation, launched during National Reconciliation Week. The significance of this publication is not lost on me, and I hope that our broader community acknowledges this accomplishment. Our school is the first education faculty/school in the country to set an agenda to work towards effecting change. It was wonderful to see so many MGSE staff members at the launch, and I am humbled by their overwhelming support and the collegiality to be leaders in this work. Thank you to the fifty-plus professional and academic staff members who contributed to the statement's discussions and compilation, and a special thank you to Drs Sophie Rudolph, Jessica Gannaway, Jayson Cooper, Catherine Hamm, and Associate Professor Jeanne Iorio for your continued allyship and support.

First Nations in Education Education Research (FiNER) Hub

The First Nations in Education Education Research (FiNER) Hub has been approved, and I am looking forward to its official launch in August/September, coinciding with what I am calling 'Indigenous Education Week.' We are excited to bring together academics and students working in the Indigenous education space in order to explore and map the current projects occurring within MGSE and determine how we can more effectively support and collaborate on the work being done. More information will be released shortly.

I had the privilege of being part of a fabulous panel of educators and education academics at Monash University for the Dean’s Lecture Election Special – 'Teacher education for the schools we need: Where to Now?’ It was wonderful to share space with such learned colleagues and peers and especially to hear from Pitsa Binnion, Principal of McKinnon Secondary College and Miguel Regalo, a secondary school teacher. It made me long for the classroom and schooling space. I have also recently shared information about the Curricula Project with members of the Australian Curriculum Studies Association, and I look forward to sharing additional information about this project with a broader audience within the University and beyond in the coming months.

These are just some of the things that have been happening within MGSE. Such amazing achievements and things to celebrate and acknowledge. I encourage you to browse this issue further to learn more about these and other topics, as well as updates from various teams and members of our community. Please let us know if you'd like to share information about your work in Indigenous education by contributing to Blak'Ed.

Until next time, thank you one and all. You are all deadly!

- A/Prof Melitta Hogarth

How are you celebrating NAIDOC Week 2022?

National NAIDOC Week is rapidly approaching! Students, staff, as well as our communities, are encouraged to participate in celebrations of the rich histories, cultures, achievements, and contributions of our First Nations peoples from 3 July through to 10 July.

NAIDOC Week poster for 2022
2022 National NAIDOC Week Poster (Source:

The theme for this year is "Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up!" Recognising Indigenous peoples' proud history of fighting for change, as well as a call to Australians to understand that the time for lip service and promises has passed. Now is the time for genuine action, whether it is in the areas of environmental, cultural and heritage protections, constitutional reform, truth-telling, or treaties.

Download the 2022 NAIDOC email signature and take part in one of the many activities and events to support and learn more about your local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities:

NAIDOC Week 2022: Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up

Date: Sunday 3 July 2022 - Sunday 10 July 2022
(National) | (Victoria)

NAIDOC Week events listing (National)

Visit the national NAIDOC events page to find an event near you, and don't forget to share your own!

Victorian 2022 NAIDOC March

Date: Friday 8 July 2022
Time: 10:00am onwards
Depart From Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)
186 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy

Volunteer call-out: Indigenous Education Week

We're looking for volunteers to join a working group that will help with the development and delivery of MGSE's inaugural Indigenous Education Week.

This new and exciting initiative, which will take place later this year, will be an opportunity to showcase and celebrate First Nations Peoples' contributions to education, including our own school communities' work in the space.

Please contact Melissa Bruorton if you are interested in this opportunity.

Placements on country

Stacey Mastras

In May 2022, I completed my final teaching placement (CTP 3) at Laynhapuy Homeland Centre in North-East Arnhem Land. I worked with the Makarrata Senior students (Year 10-12) and the Makarrata teaching staff. As part of this program, students from a number of remote homeland communities fly into a central homeland, Garrthalala, via light aircraft to take part in weekly school camp programs. Students attend Makarrata for 5 weeks out of a 10-week semester.

On a school camp week, staff spend Mondays at Laynhapuy Homeland Centre, based in Yirrkala, to undertake a planning day for the week ahead, before travelling out to Garrthalala on Tuesday until Friday. There are plenty of logistics to be handled, and the Layna team manages this so very well – being flexible is a non-negotiable here! In non camping weeks, students stay in their own community and attend their homeland’s classroom. It was incredibly humbling to become immersed in a community driven schooling program, where community members and traditional owners are crucial to the school’s development of student expectations, and learning on country programs.

Stacey teaching a singing and music class (Source: Supplied)

There were too many highlights to drill down on, but, as a health/PE teacher, I certainly added to my repertoire when I got to teach a string of singing and music classes to students with Gathapura Mununggur and Arian Pearson (East Journey band members). The biggest take home for me was that, as pre-service teachers, we play a big role in fostering empowerment; each student is creative, but understanding what makes them tick, particularly in this context, is vital. Similarly, immersing yourself in Yolŋu culture is at the root of beginning to understand a student, their context, and the way they learn

A big thank you to Bern Murphy and Robyn Beecham for guiding our placement and to Mayatili Marika and Yalmay Yunupingu for sharing stories of their home and Yolŋu knowledge with us. I hope to be back in NE Arnhem Land soon to get stuck into more teaching, and I can’t wait. This placement round has been the most valuable and has highlighted the importance of community engagement, being genuine, patient, and kind.

Tom Frawley

For the month of May, I was lucky enough to participate in a placement in North-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. It is the land of the Yolŋu people. Whilst in Arnhem Land, I stayed in Yirrkala on the weekends and drove out to the homeland Garrthalala to teach during the week with several other teachers. We were joined by the students who either lived in Garrthalala themselves, or flew in at the start of the week and then back again at the end of the week to their homelands.

Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land (Source: openstreetmap)

Something that struck me the instant I began to meet and spend time with Yolŋu people was the generosity of spirit they had and shared with myself and other non-Aboriginal staff. By spending time with Yolŋu people and learning from them. I was able to understand their expectations of me as a teacher. This helped me to see how important it was (and is!) to give proper recognition to, and affirmation of, the lived experience and context of the students I was teaching, to deliver an education that was valuable to them. This was something that, as a teaching student, I knew but hadn’t seen or felt in a truly immersive way before. Gaining this understanding was something that I don’t think any amount of reading or classwork could have impressed upon me and something that I am extremely grateful for and humbled to have had the opportunity to learn.

I have always viewed teaching as a job of service—service to the students and to the greater community. However, experiencing the engagement and the interest from the community at Garrthalala has shown me how important it is to be able to localise the learning that is happening within not only the lives of the students, but the lives of everyone that contributes to and cares about the students and their education.

Indigenous-informed outdoor education

It is crucial for non-Indigenous teachers to engage with Indigenous knowledges, histories and perspectives to inform their teaching. And importantly, this is not only about teaching content, for having an understanding of Indigenous knowledges, histories and perspectives can inform pedagogies and even administrative decisions surrounding experiences in the classroom. In terms of sheer numbers, Indigenous people can’t manage this alone.

This is something I have learned through my involvement with teaching the new compulsory subject “First Nations in Education” in the Master of Teaching. The subject was designed and crafted by Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff. It is taken by all pre-service teachers together, in mixed groups of early childhood, early childhood & primary, primary and secondary teacher candidates, which enables the focus to be on teaching per se, not teaching of a particular subject or specific age group.

Informed by what I have been learning in the subject, I decided to offer a workshop at the recent Outdoors Victoria conference on this very issue, titled: “Non-Indigenous educators engaging with Indigenous being-doing-knowing in outdoor education.” I discussed this with MGSE’s Assistant Dean Indigenous, firstly as an idea, and Melitta was supportive. On the day I was clear to acknowledge that I was not Indigenous, and that much of what I was sharing in the workshop I learned via the First Nations in Education subject.

The conference presentation was accepted very positively – standing room only! There is great interest amongst non-Indigenous educators, outdoor education teachers at least, for developing greater understanding of how to engage in the most supportive ways with Indigenous knowledges, histories and perspectives. Teaching in “First Nations in Education” has contributed greatly to my journey in that regard.

- A/Prof John Quay

Ngugi Wakka Wakka woman, Professor Tracey Bunda to deliver the third Dean's Lecture for 2022

Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) is delighted to welcome Professor Tracey Bunda to deliver the third Dean's Lecture for 2022, titled The Indigenous Call for Change: The Higher Education Response, in celebration of NAIDOC Week 2022.

Professor Tracey Bunda (Source: Supplied)

"Indigenous peoples throughout the world know too well that acts of colonisation cannot be relegated to a historical moment of the past, to be left in the past. Acts of colonisation and their shifting contexts continue to have consequences for Indigenous peoples who have long engaged in resistance to colonisation at individual, institutional and ideological levels. In resistance, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have and continue to call for change. This Address leans into the work of Indigenous scholars and writers such as Wilson(2008), Moreton-Robinson(2014), Dudgeon (2019), Huggins(2022) to frame the call for change through an Indigenous lens of relationality and the inherent responsibilities within this long-practised tradition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Through this lens, Indigenous calls for change through Reconciliation, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and Treaty development currently undertaken by various states are brought into focus and considered for their agentic value in activating positive and sustained change for Indigenous peoples within the higher education sector. In turn, the presentation explores higher education's capacity to respond effectively to these key documents, highlighting responsive models throughout the sector."

- Professor Tracey Bunda

Date: Monday 4 July 2022
Time: 5.30pm Refreshments + Registration  |  6.00pm Lecture
Venue: Q230 Theatre, Kwong Lee Dow Building, 234 Queensberry Street, Carlton

Register now

MGSE launches statement of reconciliation

National Reconciliation Week 2022 ‘Be Brave, Make Change’

On 31 May 2022 over 60 MGSE staff came together to witness the launch of MGSE’s 'Working to Effect Change – a Statement of Reconciliation'.

Professor Jim Watterston (Source: Supplied)

Professor Jim Watterston, Dean MGSE, launched the Statement with a reflection on the meaning of the word ‘reconciliation’ and some recollections of his time working as a young teacher in a remote aboriginal community in Western Australia. Interestingly, one of his students from that time is now studying for a PhD at MGSE as a mature-aged student.

A/Prof Melitta Hogarth and Indigenous MGSE alumni Josh Cubillo (Source: Supplied)

Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth took the podium with an Acknowledgement of Country and spoke to the year’s NRW theme and how MGSE was working to be brave and make change.  She highlighted how MGSE was the first Education Faculty or School within Australia who had released such a Statement and the importance of all staff coming alongside and working with the Indigenous staff to ensure that we continue to progress and actively work to build the representation of Indigenous Knowledge in our teaching and learning and increase Indigenous student and staff in our school.  She reminded us that the work cannot be completed by an individual but that together, we can make a change not just within our school but the spaces our graduates enter and so forth.

The Statement of Reconciliation was developed by A/Prof Hogarth in collaboration with over 50 MGSE staff, in order to make explicit MGSE’s commitment to collaborating and engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Embedded within the MGSE overarching strategy “Education - The Time is Now”, the Statement of Reconcilation includes 7 specific action items across research, teaching and learning, engagement and people and culture.

MGSE is the first academic division in the university to have produced a Reconciliation Statement and we are the first Education faculty to set the agenda as to how we are going to effect change in the ways we work. The Statement will look to inform MGSE’s refreshed Divisional Indigenous Development Plan, to be launched in 2023.

First Nations in Education Research Hub

MGSE has established the first Indigenous-focused education research hub at the University of Melbourne. Through evidence-based academic research and activities, the "First Nations in Education Research Hub" contributes to the expansion of knowledge on First Nations in Education. The objective of the Hub is to foster reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence by emphasising Indigenous Knowledges and worldviews for all.

As a collective, this Hub will represent a network of established scholars, early-career researchers, and students who are dedicated to exploring what might inform, shape, and affect change in education. The Hub promotes innovation supported by empirical research. Members of The Hub aim to de-center colonial legacies and understandings by actively listening to Indigenous peoples and engaging with their worldviews in a respectable way. As a connected community, The Hub brings together a varied and multidisciplinary group of researchers to enable the development of relationally, culturally, and place-responsive practises.

Contact A/Prof Melitta Hogarth for more information.

Emu Sky: Indigenising colonial spaces and narratives

MGSE First Nations in Education Coordinators, Jayson Cooper, Catherine Hamm, John Doolah & Jessica Gannaway, explore Emu Sky, an art installation that explores First Nations ‘land management, knowledge, science, plant use, language and truth telling’ shared from over 30 Aboriginal community members from south-east Australia. Inviting conversations that empower and recognize Indigenous knowledges and sustainable practices as Country continues to be cared for.

Read the photo essay

Reimagining the Relationship and Reshaping our Institutions

Presented by Tim Goodwin, Barrister, Victorian Bar, this lecture celebrated the launch of the Indigenous Law and Justice Hub at Melbourne Law School.

Indigenous Language Support

Thamarrurr Youth Indigenous Corporation trainees participating in a Murrinhpatha writers’ workshop.

In 2021 the Research Unit for Indigenous Language established an Indigenous Language Support scheme with the aim of providing accessible resources and training opportunities for people working to learn, revive, maintain and teach their languages. The scheme aims to tailor training and support to individuals and groups through engaging in discussions and developing plans to help people achieve their goals. In its short existence the scheme has supported various language workshops and projects from a diverse range of languages from Murrinhpatha in the north to Dhudhuroa in the south, as well as providing consultancy to many other groups.

RUIL is aiming to grow this scheme into the future and has a range of expertise to help individuals, communities and organisations whether they have been doing language work for many years or are just starting out. We can provide support in the following areas:

  • Accessing and interpreting language resources like manuscripts and recordings
  • Creating dictionaries
  • Making and transcribing language recordings
  • Using technology to support language work
  • Understanding the sounds and spelling of Australian Indigenous languages
  • Understanding linguistics and the structure of Australian Indigenous languages
  • Creating resources in your language

If you’d like to learn more about how RUIL can support language work, please contact us at

MGSE Indigenous student recruitment

MGSE Recruitment are working with Murrup Barak to coordinate a morning tea drop-in session for all current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander University of Melbourne undergraduate students who may be interested in pursuing further study at MGSE. The session is designed to give tailored course advice and answer questions, and is tentatively planned for early Semester 2 2022 with more details to follow.

MGSE Recruitment continue to proactively contact all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prospective students who submit an enquiry to offer additional support and referral to Murrup Barak where appropriate.

For more information please contact Cody Moore.

Indigenous-focused Professional and Graduate Certificate opportunities

Expressions of Interest are now open for:

Applicants accepted into both courses will receive a full scholarship thanks to a generous Gift to the University from Julie Hannaford.

The MCSHE recently requested the Centre for Program Evaluation to examine the impacts of both the Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research (PCIR) and the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership (GC-IRL). Visit the MGSE intranet to learn more and to download the report.

Please contact Dr Sarah French, Course Coordinator, for more information.

Blak'Ed Submissions

All MGSE staff and students working on Indigenous-focused projects/initiatives or with resources to share are encouraged to contribute to the BlakEd newsletter.

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