Listening to First Nations Voices — Podcast 10
In this episode of the Listening to First Nations Voices podcast, we speak to Marina Martinello, who is in charge of the Indigenising the Curriculum Framework at UC. She talks about the program and its implementation, and her hopes for its future.
The Indigenising the Curriculum Framework aims to embed Indigenous Ways of Knowing across all Courses and Units at UC.
A transcript of this interview is available below.
The Listening to First Nations Voices podcast was created by Indigenous and non-Indigenous University of Canberra students. The idea for this podcast came from Associate Professor Samia Goudie who is passionate about Indigenous people and culture and is attempting to expand people’s knowledge on the subject and start a conversation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This podcast was developed to educate people on Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing, and to inspire awareness and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the richness Aboriginal people bring to Australia.
Episodes 10 & 11 were created by a passionate team of young professionals studying at UC. Team members, and their areas of study, were:
- Daniel Chudleigh — Visual Communication
- Lucy Monaghan — Creative Writing
- Gabrielle Gregoire — Film
- Tim Cross — Film
- Alexandra Mackay — Interaction Design
- Clare Douch — Heritage, Museums and Conservation
Listening to First Nations Voices Episode 10 – Transcript
Daniel: Hi, welcome to the First Nations Voices podcast. My name is Daniel, and I will be your host today.
First of all, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land that we are on today – the Ngunnawal people, and their Elders, past, present, and future.
So, today I’m here with Marina Martiniello who works at the University of Canberra, and she is responsible for Indigenising the Curriculum.
So, welcome to the podcast.
Marina: Thank you, Daniel.
Daniel: First of all, what is Indigenisation and why is it important?
Marina: I’d also like to start by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people, the land of the Ngunnawal people on which we meet today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging as well.
Okay. Indigenisation, why is it important?
It’s really important to understand that their culture has been here for 60,000 years, and that they’ve got ways of being, knowing, and doing that are very valuable. And that are very long-lasting – for want of a better word. So, it’s really important that we acknowledge those ways of being, knowing, and doing, and making sure that we incorporate them into our everyday practices and things that we do.
And that’s really why it’s important for the Indigenisation.
Daniel: So then, why is this program important to you?
Marina: So, this program, to me – I’ll give you a bit of background first if that’s alright, about the-
Daniel: Yeah sure, go ahead.
Marina: -Indigenisation here at UC. So, this is actually identified as a national priority from the higher education sector, as one of their national priorities. So, as part of that, UC took on this Indigenisation initiative, and made it a strategic focus for the university.
So, as part of that, we’re looking at the Indigenisation within the Curriculum to embed those Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing, within the Curriculum. Ways of doing that are also incorporating it into teaching practices, so teachers and academics incorporating it into their practices, and some of their governance that they might function within their own teams and things as well.
So, for me, this is a big project, it’s a fantastic project, and it makes me really proud to be a part of this, and being able to lead the University in this sector, or work with the staff in this way – to bring this Indigenisation about.
Daniel: What do you think of the definition of Indigenisation included in the framework, and would you be able to give an overview of that for our listeners?
Marina: The Indigenisation of the Framework was developed back in 2019 with consultation with the Ngunnawal Elders and Indigenous community – at UC and outside of UC – and went to the academic ward here at UC for approval and sign off last year – literally as I came on board (employed at UC), so that Framework was developed before I came on board.
The Framework itself has three focus areas – looking at Indigenous perspectives, Indigenous content, and Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing. So, based on Yunkaporta’s 8 Ways of Learning, and incorporating those Ways and those pedagogies into Curriculum as well, so that students, all students, will undertake and understand that they are using these pedagogies in their learning – and using those three areas then to come together to meet the Indigenous Graduate Attributes. Which, if you’re not aware of, that was fairly recent it was added again last year, I think it was towards the beginning of last year. And it, the Indigenous Graduate Attribute, is to give students- to build their skills and knowledge in Indigenous histories and cultures and things like that – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture, and their context within their disciplines – so, what students are studying.
As well as practical applications or opportunities where they can engage those skills and knowledge that they learn along the way, by interacting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and working with them – in particular through their Professional Practice Units, core units which all programs have, so when they do things like placements and internships, projects and things like that, they’ll, eventually, as it all gets involved in things like that, they’ll get those opportunities.
Daniel: And, has there been any pushback, like, with the program, has there been any reluctance to engage with the program with students or staff?
Marina: No, so, at the moment my role is I actually work with the staff, directly with the staff, to work with them to embed these things into their teaching and their classes and their Courses, things like that. So, this is really the first stage of the implementation. What’s coming out of that is that there’s a real engagement, a real keenness, eagerness for people to want to do something and to start this process and engage in this process.
There is a little bit of, pushback’s not the right word, I guess more of a reluctance, or… hesitation would be the better word, for some staff to do this, because they don’t necessarily feel confident that they might do it the right way, or are they doing it the right way – what can they do, what are they allowed to do, how can they do it in a respectful way? That kind of thing.
Which is part of my role, is to guide them through that process a bit as well. So, they’re also… those that are already doing things, or have attempted things, and worked through things, are starting to mentor and buddy up with other academics and things as well. So, there’s a real Champion sort of effect happening now, with people taking it on, so it’s really heartening to see.
Daniel: So, with the reluctance you mentioned, what has been the feedback from students and staff around that?
Marina: Students I don’t have direct contact in this, so that the feedback that I hear from students is actually coming through – or comes through – academics that have worked directly with the students.
For some students there has been, where it started off, it was a challenge for them to understand what was happening or why it was happening, but as they progressed through their learning, by the end of it, they were quite engaged with the process and what they were learning – which was fantastic.
It can be challenging, I think, just in general for anybody, in that when you’re learning about something for the first time, or it’s something you might not be familiar with that has quite confronting elements and aspects to it – particularly in Aboriginal culture when we look back and we think about the oppression of Aboriginal people (stolen generation and those kinds of things) that, it can be confronting for people, to number one realise that those kinds of things can happen and have happened. But also, for some people, it challenges them to think about their own identity and their own unconscious biases and perspectives and how they view things – so it’s quite a learning journey for anybody to undertake and can be very challenging, but also extremely rewarding.
Daniel: What do you hope to achieve in the next 3-5 years with this Curriculum?
Marina: So, the idea for UC – UC has identified a goal of making sure the Indigenisation happens to all programs, with all programs across UC. So, that would be in that timeframe that that happens, with a view for it to then become that “business as usual,” that sort of practice for staff. That, when they’re undertaking or writing a new Course, or a Course is going through reaccreditation or whatever’s happening, that that Indigenisation is automatically a part of that process, from the very beginning. And then mapped through from the Course Learning Outcomes to the Units, to Content, Learning, Assessment, right through to meet those Graduate Attributes.
That’s the goal for UC in that space. I think that pretty much answers that question.
Daniel: Do you think this will make a real change, and if so, how much of a change will it bring?
Marina: I do think that it’ll make a real change. Because, the idea of this is to make sure that this is really embedded throughout Curriculum, and throughout teaching practices for staff and things like that.
So, being able to be a part of that – it’ll be a slow change – but to be a part of that and to bring that change along, it really gives UC an opportunity to be a leader in that respect with universities, and to provide students with a real holistic education around all of this: so, being able to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people effectively… Yeah.
Daniel: That all sounds great. And, that’s all we have today on today’s episode of First Nations Voices. Thank you very much for all your contributions, and perhaps whoever’s hosting here can have you on again.
Marina: Thank you, Daniel, that would be fantastic.
Daniel: And we’ll have our next episode coming up very soon, so stay tuned.