NCIS HDR scholar masterclass

The NCIS Higher Degree by Research (HDR) scholar masterclass series was commenced in mid-2013 as a student initiative by our HDR scholar Glynnis-Anne Buckley to improve the quality and range of Indigenous education at the Centre, and has proven to be a wonderful contribution to teaching and learning. Since its establishment, the masterclasses have contributed to the intellectual stimulation, inspiration and enthusiasm of our HDR scholar cohort. NCIS has hosted a wide range of experts in Indigenous studies, including Professor Patrick Dodson, Professor Mick Dodson, Dr Jeanine Leane, Bruce Pascoe, Dr Asmi Wood, Professor Richard Baker, Professor Kirin Narayan, Professor Nicholas Peterson, Professor John Taylor, Professor Tim Rowse, Dr Alex Bruce and Dr William Fogarty.

Here is what our HDR scholars have had to say about classes throughout the year:

"The best part about the masterclasses was the opportunities to experience the wide variety of research and storytelling about indigenous Australia. They have been invaluable to my understanding of Australia and learning in detail about pockets of research, as well as being useful tools for undertaking academic research. I particularly enjoyed the class given by Richard Baker, Kirin Narayan and Bruce Pascoe, who were all incredibly passionate about their particular fields and encouraging and supportive of all the scholars' projects."

"On 7 November 2014, HDR scholars attended Bruce Pascoe's masterclass entitled No black writers' block. Bruce spoke of his Indigenous identity and personal experience research and writing his book Black Seeds. He encouraged students to share their stories of research and identity, generously engaging with each and every person in the room and providing advice and sharing anecdotes. Stitching stories together via people, places and research themes. Bruce travelled with each student in the room, giving time, space and value to the stories emerging from what seemed initially to be the usual run-of-the-mill introductions around the room, transforming the masterclass into a conversation across localities, disciplines and identities." Thank you Bruce Pascoe"

"The HDR scholars were lucky to spend time with Professor Narayan during her masterclass entitled Bringing your writing alive, crafting ethnography. With gentle persuasion, Professor Narayan convinced us to share descriptions of the characters and localities we have come across in our research or on a daily basis. Engaging with Professor Narayan's formula to guide us in our writing and in a supportive environment, we presented our stories: descriptions of story, people and place emerged, popping from the page with energy. Professor Narayan presented an inspiring masterclass allowing us to engage more fully with the layers of our research and encouraged us to dig a little deeper, to bring the energy and experience of our research, onto the page." Thank you Kirin.

"I feel Professor Richard Baker's masterclass regarding Lessons in Yanyuwa traditional knowledge was inspiring to many of HDR scholars. Professor Richard Baker's compassionate, respectful manner, being completely open to indigenous world views, was really encouraging to see. He privileged being and learning from Indigenous communities which was an inspiration. I found his work especially helpful in terms of methodology and fieldwork approaches." Thank you Professor Baker.

"Dr Jeanine Leane spoke from her experience as an award-winning indigenous author and poet. She taught us about the process of creative writing and the indigenous methodology of incorporating the self into one's writing. She was able to help students draw out aspects of their research that were individual, unique and creative. She encouraged the student to tell stories that attached importance of Indigenous voices while being aware of the political of writing indigenous issues."

"As a PhD scholar at NCIS, I really appreciate the opportunity given to us to attend the masterclasses. The presenters cover a wide range of topics; all within the field of Indigenous studies, and because of their breadth of experience and scholarship, their insights are always incredibly precious to research students. I particularly enjoyed Professor Pat Dodson's masterclass as my research takes place in the Kimberley, and the issues he covered had a direct correlation with it. Having read much of Bruce Pascoe's work, the masterclass with him was really inspiring, as we got to know not only the historian, but also the amazing story-teller."

"Professor Patrick Dodson's lectures have aided my understanding of the wider context of reconciliation and what it has meant to him and to other Indigenous people. I hadn't really appreciated the subtleties between absolute and restorative justice. Professor Patrick Dodson's comments at the masterclass also gave me a much deeper appreciation of the impact of colonisation on the traditional laws and customs of the Yawuru people and the significant challenges they face in re-establishing and re-asserting their laws and customs. I now have a much deeper appreciation of the impact of the dominant culture and the depth of challenges that a community such as the Yawuru people are facing."

"I've loved Professor Peterson's masterclass, he is a walking encyclopaedia on Indigenous issues and a pleasure to learn from."

"I got a lot out of insights and stories about the history of our country from Indigenous speakers Patrick and Michael Dodson, Bruce Pascoe, Dr Jeanine Leane and Dr Asmi Wood."

All HDR scholars who have attended the masterclasses would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the hosts for volunteering their valuable time, knowledge and experience and greatly contributing to the NCIS scholar-based teaching and learning initiatives.

The Centre's masterclasses will resume in February 2015 with a range of indigenous scholars, both domestic and international.

Content by Glynnis-Anne Buckley.

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Updated:  9 June 2015/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer