Indigenous Studies Unit

Acknowledgement of Country

Located in RMIT’s Melbourne campus, the ISU acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which the University stands and respectfully recognises Elders past, present and future.

Artwork by Wurundjeri artist Mandy Thomas, 2012

Indigenous Studies Unit

The ISU provides academic leadership, promotes Indigenous Knowledge Systems and embeds cultural safety at RMIT through

  • applied research and consultancy
  • teaching, curriculum and assessment design
  • Indigenous research and ethics advice
  • partnerships with community and sector organisations in Australia and internationally

The ISU also coordinates the Indigenous Specialisation, which provides students with an understanding of the cultural, historical and contemporary frameworks that have shaped the lives of Indigenous people in Australia and globally.

Vision and Mission – Mirring-ian Durrong

The ISU is a university-wide initiative realising RMIT’s commitment to Indigenous education and research. For further information please visit RMIT’s Reconcilliation Action Plan.

Mirring-ian Durrong is the vision of the ISU. In the Woi wurrung language ‘Mirring-ian’ means to ‘hear understand’ and ‘Durrong’ to ‘join unite’. Combined, they convey the intent and vision of the ISU: ‘Learning together’.

Consistent with this vision, the mission of the ISU is to provide academic leadership that supports knowledge and engagement with Australia’s First Nations Peoples, their history and culture, and the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous and minority peoples globally.

What ISU offers

  • Guest lecturing
  • Cultural consultations
  • Mentoring
  • Advice on supervising Indigenous postgraduate students
  • Advice on ethical Indigenous research methods
  • Help with integrating Indigenous content into courses
  • Help revising assessment tasks to be more culturally competent
  • Co-developing new courses 

Indigenous studies electives

Indigenous studies electives offer you a rich, dynamic learning experience taught by leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics. In the courses, you will learn about the cultural, historical and contemporary frameworks that have shaped the lives of Indigenous peoples in Australia and globally.

Students who complete four elective courses can have the Indigenous Specialisation formally noted on their academic transcript. For information on currently scheduled courses, please see electives search

Contact us


Key academic staff for the Indigenous Studies Unit

Dr Suzi Hutchings - Senior Lecturer

Suzi has extensive experience working professionally and academically in the fields of social justice, youth, family law, Indigenous affairs, tertiary education, community service and health in Australia and North America. Suzi’s expertise in these fields has included work with urban, rural and remote Aboriginal community organisations, native title representative bodies, government, and private sector stakeholders. 

Complementing her work on Indigenous identity; Indigenous youth and social justice and native title, Suzi’s current research interests focus on the social meanings of Indigenous and minority hip-hop among youth in Australia and North America.

Suzi teaches in Indigenous Studies, Researching de-colonisation: Indigenous Land Rights to Hip Hop and Indigenous Dislocation and Diaspora.

Julia Torpey-Hurst - Associate Lecturer

Julia's interests cross story-telling and social justice themes, and she has successfully merged these interests working as a social researcher, author, mentor and theatre practitioner. Her work has a foundation in social research and Indigenous developments and histories and involves creating, producing and telling stories via theatre, creative writing and oral and digital history research methodologies.

Julia is currently completing her PhD in History at the University of Sydney and is also a member of the ARC Linkage Project Deepening Histories of Place: Exploring Indigenous Landscapes of National and International Significance, directing and authoring an enhanced e-book entitled At the Heart of it... Place stories across Darug and Gundungurra Lands: A downloadable history.

Julia teaches in Mythbusting Reality: Indigenous v Western.


Young creative showcases talent and culture for NAIDOC Week

Australian Unity’s annual Artist-in-Residence program invites Indigenous art students to share their artistic process with Rathdowne Place residents and staff.

Indigenous alumnus excels in new career

For Indigenous alumnus Mikaela Miller, NAIDOC week is an opportunity to reflect on her successful transition from Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) student to full-time employee.

Poetic Portraits of Australian Elders

A new project to capture the lives and memories of Australian elders and seniors through poetry is set to restore some balance to an increasingly youth-focused arts sector.

Indigenous Australian artwork in the spotlight at major European festival

Indigenous designs by an RMIT alumnus are being used for official RMIT merchandise as part of the Grec Festival of Barcelona – the city's annual theatre, dance, music and circus festival.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information