Show Me The Way Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Busy time for Oorala

Story courtesy the Koori Mail

IT has been a busy time for the Oorala Centre at the University of New England.

And it will culminate next month when the centre marks three decades.

Oorala has a range of entry pathway programs designed to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to succeed in higher education and provide
support in their journey.

Vice-chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan says UNE’s support for Indigenous people “is built into our social contract, and our curriculum”.

Oorala is set for a major celebration next month to mark its 30th anniversary.

A month-long program that includes art and cooking exhibitions, and live music headlined by Isaiah Firebrace, the 2016 winner of Australia’s X-Factor, is planned.

Celebrations begin on October 18 with the opening of the Oorala Art Exhibition, which consists of paintings, photographs, weavings and sculptures by local and
regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The exhibition will also include three bark paintings from Milingimbi dating back to the 1960s.

A Sunset Opening Ceremony, on the lawns of Booloominbah, will be held on October 23.

And in the main event, the Oorala 30 Open Day will be held from 10am-3pm on October 31.

Isaiah Firebrace will perform, there’ll be cooking demonstrations with Clayton Donovan and the Duval Deadly Dancers will perform. Markets stalls, workshops including a weaving circle with Dolly Jerome, community canvas painting with artist Lloyd Hornsby, didgeridoo performances by Christian Page, a flint-knapping workshop with UNE archaeologist Mark Moore and many more activities are also on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Oorala sent 14 Indigenous students, four staff and five other researchers to Toronto in Canada for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in July.

They had the opportunity to choose from more than 800 presentations over five days focusing on the conference theme of Truth and Reconciliation.
The Oorala delegation had the opportunity to share culture and knowledge with nearly 4000 representatives from other First Nations.

Oorala director Greg Davison presented a paper on the implementation of a student engagement system tailored to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students that provided timely culturally appropriate support.

Oorala students also participated in the continuing discussion and development of reconciliation in Indigenous education.

Michael Kirk, a final-year education student at UNE, said that “developing a cultural awareness early in childhood allows it to then become part of a child’s upbringing”.

More details on Oorala HERE



The Koori Mail is a media partner of Show Me The Way.


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