Learning with Land (Country as Curriculum)

Children in garden

Learning with Land (Country as Curriculum)

The Learning with the Land partnership brings together an international network of art educators to explore how artists and arts-based researchers are taking up the concept of reciprocity to critically engage with the land upon which they live, learn, teach, and create. This partnership focuses on how the arts might help challenge Western-Euro-centric understandings of land and provoke meaningful dialogue and action towards decolonizing education and research practices. This partnership responds to the urgent need for innovative models of learning, teaching, and scholarship that create and examine human-land relationships as collective expression grounded in movement of thought (theory) and body (practices) by drawing on a transnational coalition of scholars, students, artists, and writers in education. This partnership simultaneously sees this research as a response to the calls to action from the most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (UN IPCC) that urges the use of scientific, local, and Indigenous Knowledge for adaptation and mitigation to the ongoing climate crisis (UN, 2021). This partnership is of utmost importance because despite institutional policy commitments towards decolonization: "There is a real need for academics to move toward concrete conversations about the Land to significantly reshape settler consciousness" (Ray, Cormier & Desmoulins, 2019, p.81). The Partnership Development Grant seeks to:

  1. Establish a Canadian-led international network of researchers and practitioners with shared interests in engaging a/r/tography alongside Indigenous methodologies as an act of inquiry into artistic, pedagogical and scholarly practices;
  2. Explore the potentiality of the arts, and a/r/tography in particular, for provoking complex conversations about reciprocity, reconciliation, and Indigenous-settler relations in teacher education as they relate to Land, culture, and sustainability, and establishing a body of research that documents the possibility of this endeavour; and
  3. Mobilize knowledge by developing collaborative cross-cultural exchanges about transnational storytelling through geo-specific understandings of a/r/tography alongside local traditional Indigenous knowledges.

This Australian site of the Learning with the Land project is distilled into the Country as Curriculum: A Living Collaboratory project.

The Country as Curriculum project seeks to decolonise educational and research practice through collaboration, and immersion in place – on Country – by engaging the methodology of a/r/tography, and learning about Aboriginal perspectives, knowledges, histories of the Wijabul Wia-bul people of the Bundjalung nation.  Reciprocity, reconciliation, and Indigenous-settler relations in teacher education are all touchstones for his project.

The project is enacted as an a/r/tography on Country through the methods of walking, storying, mapping and making as doings, knowings and tellings. These methods create analytical loops as data is created, analysed, recreated and extended.

SCU Australian Cis: Professor Alexandra Lasczik, Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, Professor Tracey Bunda, Professor Stuart Barlo, Dr Katie Hotko

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) $200,000 CAD.