Reconciliation Week 2018 was memorable for news of our Indigenous staff and students achieving accolades at home and abroad, and showcased RMIT's partnership with the Essendon Football Club.
RMIT design student Taylah Cole was announced as winner of a competition to have her Indigenous designs featured in RMIT’s official branding. In creating her designs, Taylah was inspired by the traditional owners of the land on which the University stands
RMIT also featured at the prestigious 2018 Good Design Awards, where an interactive Wiradjuri-RMIT project was among the winners in the social impact category. Co-designed by Wiradjuri Nation citizens and researchers from RMIT University, the project centred on a number of community events held on Wiradjuri Country in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, and in Melbourne for those living and working “off Country”.
Two Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous pre-doctoral fellowships were announced last week. The fellowships aim to support higher research degree candidates from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and build Indigenous research capacity.
Mark Jones and Megan Kelleher will each receive a four-year fellowship and the opportunity to build their research track record and reputation, supported by training, development and mentorship.
Victoria’s first female Public Advocate Colleen Pearce was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her work supporting society’s most marginalised. As a proud member of the Yuin Mob, Pearce promotes reconciliation and a society that values and respects the human rights of Aboriginal people. She dedicated her award to her great-grandmother Annie Ralph, an Aboriginal Australian from the Yuin Mob.
In Venice, RMIT’s Ngarara Place is one of 15 projects that will be on display as part of Australia’s ‘Repair’ exhibition at the 2018 Architecture Biennale. The award-winning garden has been included as an example of how to strengthen the Indigenous presence in an urban environment and will be showcased via images on five-metre-high screens inside the famous Australian Pavilion at the prestigious event.
Reconciliation Week culminated with Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean CBE joining Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and 20,000 others in the Long Walk from Federation Square to the MCG for the ‘Dreamtime at the G’ game between Essendon and Richmond.
RMIT’s new partnership with the Essendon Football Club added another dimension to Reconciliation Week this year, with the MCG crowd treated to a video featuring Essendon legend Kevin Sheedy and RMIT students and staff discussing Reconciliation and the importance of building a shared future for all Australians.
The Long Walk CEO and Essendon Director Leanne Brook said Essendon had partnered with RMIT to educate, inspire and change lives.
“Our partnership with RMIT will enable us to provide genuine education pathways for our Next Generation Academy (NGA) participants in our north-west corridor and regional communities, ensuring that our program builds personal capabilities outside of football.”
Martin Bean said he was excited about the possibilities the partnership offered.
“Through RMIT’s Ngarara Willam, we support the ongoing economic and social development of young Indigenous people by creating pathways into tertiary education,” he said.
“We’re exploring new research opportunities that deliver real impact in a range of areas including sports science, nutrition, textiles and e-sports – to name just a few.
“We’re also creating connections between the club and our students. In fact, the Essendon Women’s VFL team has started training at our new AFL ground recently opened at our Bundoora campus, training right alongside our own RMIT Redbacks who have been relishing the chance to be part of and see elite athletes in action.”
RMIT also announced its partnership with Hands on Health Australia (HoHA). The two organisations have teamed up to deliver a student outreach health clinic to the Fitzroy Stars – an Indigenous football and netball club. The clinic not only helps Chiropractic and Exercise Science students develop their diagnostic and examinations skills as health professionals, but also gives them an insight into the importance of the Fitzroy Stars in the broader community.
Story: Karen Phelan