Araluen Arts Centre Alice Springs, Northern Territory,
1-4 October 1997
A FOCUS ON INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA, IN COLLABORATION WITH
THE INSTITUTE FOR ABORIGINAL DEVELOPMENT, ALICE SPRINGS
The LERN Conference 1997 was very fortunate to have the support
of the IAD in Alice Springs. Conference highlights, organised
by IAD included:
- An opening ceremony by the traditional owners of Alice Springs.
- Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Courses.
- Introductory Central Australian Aboriginal Language Courses.
- Displays and stalls: artefacts, paintings and books.
- Performances by Indigenous musicians and dance groups.
- A panel of Aboriginal leaders from the Alice Springs region
discussing 'The Politics of Education'.
The Institute for Aboriginal Development is an independent
Aboriginal Community controlled education and training centre.
ALICE SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL
The conference benefitted from the generous support of Alice
Springs High School, where some of the sessions were held. The
conference also showcased the work of Alice Springs High.
During every parallel session, the main speakers introduced
informal 'garden chats' on the main themes of the conference.
POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH FORUMS
Wednesday 1 October-Saturday 4 October
For each of the four days of the conference, Dr Sue McGinty
of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at James Cook University
of North Queensland, hosted a Postgraduate Research Forum. This
was aimed at postgraduate students or intending postgraduate
students. They had the opportunity to engage with senior researchers
attending the conference, and share their own experiences with
other postgraduate students. Each session was 90 minutes in duration.
People could either attend the series of four sessions, or attend
the session that interested them most:
Session 1: Research Basics: Issues of Purpose and Methodology
(Wednesday 1 October)
Session 2: Cultural and Cross-cultural Dimensions of Research
(Thursday 2 October)
Session 3: Technology: Research In, About and Using Technology
(Friday 3 October)
Session 4: Putting Research to Good Use: Application and
Evaluation (Saturday 4 October)
Postgraduate students were also very much encouraged to present
their work-in-progress in the parallel sessions of the conference.
VISIT TO BATCHELOR COLLEGE, ALICE SPRINGS
Wednesday 1 October
Batchelor College is a higher education institution which
serves Indigenous students, many of whom undertake their study
in remote communities. Programs include teaching, adult education
and training, early childhood education, educational administration,
health studies, interpreting, applied linguistics, business and
broadcasting and journalism. This visit to the Alice Springs
Campus of Batchelor College provided an introduction to the work
of the college, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous cultural
aspects and learning in a highly dispersed educational institution.
THE TANAMI NETWORK: VISIT TO ALICE SPRINGS OR YUENDUMU
Thursday 2 October
Two groups of conference participants visited the Tanami Network
on Thursday 2 November: one group visited the Alice Springs site,
and another travelled three hundred kilometres by road to Yuendumu,
an Aboriginal community on the edge of the Tanami Desert. The
aim of the sessions was to demonstrate the Tanami network - an
high speed digital network under the control and ownership of
four remote Aboriginal communities. The groups in Alice Springs
and Yuendumu were also networked during the session. Funded by
mining royalties earned by the communities, the network is involved
in the delivery of secondary education, making family contacts
with prisoners in Alice Springs and Darwin, maintaining family
and ceremonial contacts,'telemedicine' and a variety of other
services. The group visiting Yuendumu were necessarily limited
and with three and a half hours of travel through desert country
in each direction, this option took the whole day.
VISIT TO THE CENTRE FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY
Friday 3 October, 1997
The Centre for Appropriate Technology develops technologies
and delivers technical training to Indigenous people living in
remote communities throughout Australia. The activities of CAT
are based on a philosophy of design innovation and the use of
problem solving processes. This helps promote local responses
to problems raised by communities. The CAT approach seeks to
explore solutions based on a holistic understanding of the inter-relationship
between people, technology and their environment. During the
visit to the Centre for Appropriate Technology's facility in
Alice Springs, staff introduced CAT's philosophy and described
some of its innovative work with technology and community education.
VISIT TO THE TANGENTYERE COUNCIL'S DETOUR PROJECT AT BASSO'S
Friday 3 October, 1997
The Detour Project was began in 1996, as an initiative of
the Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs. Situated at Basso's
Farm, to the north of Alice Springs, the project offers alternative
education for Aboriginal young people of high school age who
have been unable to access mainstream education for a range of
social and cultural reasons. The target group consists of young
people who have dropped out of (or never dropped in to) mainstream
secondary education. Most do not speak English as a first language,
and many come from families suffering from a range of problems,
including domestic violence, alcoholism, unemployment, homelessness
or overcrowding. During this visit, staff of the project introduced
its approach and programs to conference participants.
CONFERENCE DINNER AT CENTRAL AUSTRALIA'S ONLY WINERY
Friday Evening, 3 October 1997
As the sun set over the MacDonnell Ranges as participants
enjoyed an outdoor barbecue at the Chateau Hornsby Winery.
What Springs to mind when you think of Alice? Participants
shared the production of a giant mural (Alice's Family) at the
Araluen Arts Centre, 1 - 4 October, 1997. Early arrivers had
the opportunity of participating in the crucial planning stages
of the mural, but everyone was able to join in at some stage
during its production. Many participants were able to join in
for a few minutes, or even hours, as the mural artist Rob Harris
shared this communication event. Rob works in Art Education at
Charles Sturt University. 'Alice', with her colours, passions,
friends, textures, forms, topography became an underpinning element
demonstrating her relationship with the themes generated from
the conference. Participants were able to say something through
metaphors without words .... just paint! Those who joined 'Alice's
Mural Family' (the name's 'Alice', not 'Muriel'!) were able to
leave something of themselves for the Alice Springs community.