Questacon is Australia's largest Science and Technology Centre and is taking a leading role in developing cross cultural communication processes in science communication.

Questacon’s Indigenous Outreach Programs aim to overcome the cultural and geographical challenges that arise when sharing information between cultures. In Australia these challenges include: 

Language: A large proportion of Indigenous people living in remote areas have English as a second or third language.

Distance: Some communities in Australia are thousands of kilometres from major population centres.

Cultural diversity: Today there are hundreds of groups of Indigenous people living in Australia, each with its own distinct knowledge and stories.

Questacon recognizes that many Indigenous Australians still hold their traditional understandings of the world. In the past, education institutions have attempted to replace these understandings with “correct, modern” knowledge causing confusion, uncertainty and some resentment. The cultural identity of the young Indigenous students was also threatened. Questacon acknowledges the importance of Indigenous ways of “knowing” whilst offering alternative explanations for phenomena.

The way they do this is through exchange, not delivery. This is done through establishing contact and gaining confidence within the communities and acknowledging place and culture. Through these links Questacon aims to have a genuine sharing of knowledge and stories with understanding and respect for others view of the world.

Questacon’s Burarra Gathering Online exhibition draws on the content of the gallery exhibition Burarra Gathering: Sharing Indigenous Knowledge which presents contemporary and traditional knowledge and technology of the Burarra people of Arnemland. The exhibitions were developed through close consultation with the Burarra people and present a means for their community to preserve their knowledge and culture while sharing their knowledge with other Australians.

The award winning online experience has drawn very positive feedback and has highlighted some unexpected benefits in the field of Indigenous education.

The Burarra Gathering Online experience, together with Questacon’s program of community visits, come together in an exciting new project which aims to facilitate the sharing of science and Indigenous knowledge in person and online.

This project aims to create more opportunities for on-line experiences in other areas. Students and communities will be involved in the research, development and construction of on-line resources and material where traditional stories are told alongside modern-day science stories. This hopes to encourage a greater understanding and knowledge of modern communications technology while also facilitating links between schools, communities and stories old and new.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science and indigenous knowledge together online

Allen Rooney   Indigenous Programs

Questacon is Australia's largest Science and Technology Centre and is taking a leading role in developing cross cultural communication processes in science communication.

Questacon’s Indigenous Outreach Programs aim to overcome the cultural and geographical challenges that arise when sharing information between cultures. In Australia these challenges include: 

Language: A large proportion of Indigenous people living in remote areas have English as a second or third language.

Distance: Some communities in Australia are thousands of kilometres from major population centres.

Cultural diversity: Today there are hundreds of groups of Indigenous people living in Australia, each with its own distinct knowledge and stories.

Questacon recognizes that many Indigenous Australians still hold their traditional understandings of the world. In the past, education institutions have attempted to replace these understandings with “correct, modern” knowledge causing confusion, uncertainty and some resentment. The cultural identity of the young Indigenous students was also threatened. Questacon acknowledges the importance of Indigenous ways of “knowing” whilst offering alternative explanations for phenomena.

The way they do this is through exchange, not delivery. This is done through establishing contact and gaining confidence within the communities and acknowledging place and culture. Through these links Questacon aims to have a genuine sharing of knowledge and stories with understanding and respect for others view of the world.

Questacon’s Burarra Gathering Online exhibition draws on the content of the gallery exhibition Burarra Gathering: Sharing Indigenous Knowledge which presents contemporary and traditional knowledge and technology of the Burarra people of Arnemland. The exhibitions were developed through close consultation with the Burarra people and present a means for their community to preserve their knowledge and culture while sharing their knowledge with other Australians.

The award winning online experience has drawn very positive feedback and has highlighted some unexpected benefits in the field of Indigenous education.

The Burarra Gathering Online experience, together with Questacon’s program of community visits, come together in an exciting new project which aims to facilitate the sharing of science and Indigenous knowledge in person and online.

This project aims to create more opportunities for on-line experiences in other areas. Students and communities will be involved in the research, development and construction of on-line resources and material where traditional stories are told alongside modern-day science stories. This hopes to encourage a greater understanding and knowledge of modern communications technology while also facilitating links between schools, communities and stories old and new.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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