International seminar to focus on Teaching from Country 

Dr Michael Christie with CDU's Yolngu Studies team.

The role and engagement of Indigenous knowledge authorities in university teaching and research will be the focus of an international seminar to be held at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

Hosted by CDU’s School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems (SAIKS), the three-day Teaching from Country International Seminar will report on the Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded (ALTC) Teaching from Country Program.

CDU’s Associate Professor of Education and ALTC Senior Fellow, Michael Christie said that in the past Aboriginal knowledge authorities from remote communities had little opportunity to contribute actively to academic teaching in Australian universities.

“This innovative program sets up and evaluates distance education in reverse: the Yolngu (northeast Arnhem Land Aboriginal language) lecturers are in remote places and the students of Yolngu languages, culture and fine arts, are (mostly) on campus,” Dr Christie said.

The ALTC has funded a national fellowship for the development of a technology-based program in which Yolngu and academic knowledge authorities can come together to develop, foster and engage an emergent remote Indigenous instruction: Teaching from Country.

The three-day seminar will feature a range of expert speakers from CDU and universities around the world to explore trends, challenges and opportunities stemming from the program.

In June 2008, Dr Christie was awarded the prestigious Senior Australian Teaching and Learning Fellowship from the ALTC valued at $300,000 to continue his work integrating Aboriginal culture and practices into tertiary teaching.

The fellowship has enabled Dr Christie to pay for the involvement of Yolngu knowledge authorities, for basic hardware, software and connectivity, to support travel for himself and international experts, for technical assistance and digital resource development, and for the international seminar.

The Teaching from Country International Seminar will be held from 27-29 July in the SAIKS seminar room, Blue 3.1, Casuarina campus, CDU.

To view the seminar program, go to W: