An international focus on Indigenous knowledge

Representing the University of Melbourne at the APRU workshop: Kirsten Hausia, Margot Eden, Brittany Carter, Kirsten Clark, Professor Adrian Little, Dr Cameo Dalley, Professor Michael Wesley, Professor Aaron Corn.

The University of Melbourne is delivering on its commitment to elevating Indigenous knowledge in teaching and learning by co-hosting the inaugural workshop of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ (APRU) Indigenous Knowledges Working Group in Chiapas, Mexico.

Led by the University of Melbourne with Tecnológico de Monterrey, the Indigenous Knowledge Working Group brings together APRU members, many of whom have world-leading departments and programs in the areas of Indigenous, First Nations, Māori, Pacific, or Native American studies.

The working group and workshop aimed to build focus on how universities can practice and promote comparative research and teaching in Indigenous studies.

This aligns to the University’s goal of assisting in the recognition, curation and activation of Indigenous knowledges within academia, which is outlined in the University’s Advancing Melbourne 2030 strategy.

As part of delivering this strategy, the Indigenous Internationalisation Plan works to overcome barriers to Indigenous staff and student participation in international experiences and encourage faculties to develop new initiatives to boost Indigenous staff and student international engagement.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Michael Wesley said it was a privilege to be involved in such an important conversation and experience from its initial stages.

“As Australia’s leading university, we have a pivotal role to play in progressing the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge into academia,” Professor Wesley said.

“Indigenous internationalisation means we look for partnership opportunities that facilitate knowledge exchange, understanding and collaboration between Indigenous Australians and First Nations peoples internationally.”

“We’ve been joined in Mexico by many experts, including our own Indigenous colleagues, who are shaping a focus on sharing best practice and the strength of what is ‘uniquely Australian’ within the Pacific Rim.” Professor Wesley said.

The workshop, which ran from 1-5 November, was themed as a ‘Dialog surrounding Indigenous Knowledges within the Pacific Rim: Living Cultures and World Heritage’.

The University of Melbourne’s work on Indigenous knowledges is led by the Indigenous Knowledge Institute and Murrup Barak. Staff from both institutes attended and contributed to the conversation, an opportunity for knowledge sharing and creating new connections to promote Indigenous heritage within the Pacific Rim.

The University of Melbourne is also preparing to host the APRU Indigenous Knowledges Working Group workshop on campus in Parkville in 2023.