Indigenous research takes centre stage

22 September 2021

Two of the standout events at UQ’s recent Research and Innovation Week focused on current strengths and future opportunities in Indigenous research.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks addresses the Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy Symposium.

More than 100 academics and Higher Degree (Research) students participated across a 48-hour period, in person and via Zoom, to hear presentations across a number of themes. LINK for PHOTOs.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Forum, now an annual feature in UQ’s Research Week, featured the launch of UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-2025, alongside presentations by academics and community leaders on the topic ‘Traditional Knowledge in the University Research and Innovation Landscape’.

UQ’s Professor Bronwyn Fredericks Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and Professor Bronwyn Harch Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) partnered to guide the panel discussion.

Professor Fredericks said all panellists shared incredible insights and participants were especially grateful for a presentation by Professor Gracelyn Smallwood AM, an Adjunct Professor at James Cook University. Professor Smallwood will be with UQ for several weeks throughout September as part of UQ’s annual Visiting Scholar program.

Also in Research Week, academics, professionals and RHD students gathered at Customs House for the Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy: Premise and Practice Symposium. It was a full house as people packed the room and tuned in on Zoom to hear 10 presentations from esteemed speakers.

Topics included Indigenising university curricula, incorporating Indigenous perspectives and knowledges into campus planning and design, and the importance of learning about and preserving knowledge of First Nations languages. 

Special guest and recent UQ staff member, Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson enlivened the room with her keynote presentation ‘Embedding Indigenous Knowledge within the academy: some epistemological challenges’, while Professor Brendan Hokowhitu was entertaining and insightful with his session ‘Monster’ about accepting your cultural identity while going through puberty.

The Symposium concluded with a wonderful keynote dinner speech from visiting scholar Professor Gracelyn Smallwood AM.