Funding to drive Indigenous and transcultural lens in PhD research

A USC-led project to help PhD students strengthen their research with First Nations and transcultural perspectives has received an enormous boost from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The ARC this week awarded a Discovery Project grant valued at almost $277,500 to the project ‘Implementing Indigenous knowledge approaches in doctoral education’.

USC’s Professor of Education Catherine Manathunga will lead a team of researchers, including her colleague at the Indigenous and Transcultural Research Centre at USC Professor of Marketing Maria Raciti, and academics and elders from other universities.

Professor Manathunga said a monocultural approach to research in Australia often missed the solutions to complex problems already used by other cultures – for example Indigenous fire management strategies that have, until now, been largely ignored in Western-led land management.

“Multiple knowledge systems exist and, in order to face the complex problems in the world, we need to draw on them all, including the knowledge systems of First Nations, migrant and refugee peoples,” she said.

“Australia would then be in a better position to harness the power of First Nations and multiple cultural knowledges we already have access to in our society.”

The project team will create a multimedia portal that helps doctoral researchers consider and embed First Nations and transcultural perspectives from the outset of their study – from “agency of Country and power of story” to “the ways that knowledge is developed iteratively across generations and cultures”.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said the research would ultimately strengthen Australia’s research sector through collaboration and drawing on existing understanding of traditional knowledge and practices.

“This funding caps off a magnificent year for the Indigenous and Transcultural Research Centre at USC, with core member Professor Sandy O’Sullivan also awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in July,” he said.

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