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Date:July 31, 2020

Research on Country gives depth

The Nawarddeken Academy Evaluation

Nawarddeken
Researchers Sarah Bilis and Elizabeth Nabarlambarl from Manmoyi Outstation and Dr Robyn Ober of Batchelor Institute

Travel related to a Batchelor Institute research project being undertaken with the Nawarddeken Academy, based in West Arnhem Land, resumed in July with a visit to Mamadawerre Outstation.

The Institute’s Dr Robyn Ober and Associate Professor John Guenther were able to provide support to community-based researchers Elizabeth Nabarlambarl and Sarah Bilis from Manmoyi Outstation, and Conrad Maralngurra from Mamadawerre, after visits were postponed due to COVID 19 restrictions. The researchers conducted community interviews in the local Kunwinjku language and these recordings were then translated and transcribed.

“It is so important to be doing this type of work with community-based researchers on Country,” Dr Ober said. “It is very powerful, and it brings a strength to the study you would not get if you were working together away from traditional homelands.

“These remote visits are a reminder of why we do this work at the Institute – to value and respect Bininj* knowledge and culture, and to empower and equip local researchers with the tools and techniques of a Western academic framework. It gives an added depth and integrity to the research.”

The remote Nawarddeken Academy was established at the request of Elders and has been operating since August 2015. In 2019 it was registered as an independent school, working with Bininj and Warddeken Land Management staff to ensure young people have opportunities to learn on Country, with Bininj culture and Kunwinjku instruction embedded in both ways teaching and learning. Batchelor Institute is working with the Academy to evaluate its services.

“This research project will be used to empower local leaders, families and organisations to shape the future direction of the Academy and its benefit to the region,” Associate Professor Guenther said.

“The findings from interviews conducted at Manmoyi, Mamadawerre and Kabulwarnamyo homelands are integral to the research and evaluation process. This project is a collaboration that very much supports capacity building and self-determination on Bininj terms.”

Batchelor Institute is very proud of the generations of First Nations graduates and nearly 50 years of teaching, engagement and cultural rigour. The Institute’s research is underpinned by evidence-based, bi-cultural approaches and supported through strong partnerships with communities, Indigenous organisations, government and non-government bodies, industry and other research organisations.

Batchelor Institute’s researchers pay their respects to the traditional custodians of the Warddeken Protected Land Management Area and thank local Bininj for their generous hospitality and welcome during their visit.

*Bininj is a Kunwinjku language term for ‘people’, it refers to the local Aboriginal population of the West Arnhem Land homelands that were visited.

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Batchelor researchers spending time on country working with our incredible Bininj community researchers: Elizabeth Nabarlambarl, Sarah Bilis, Associate Professor John Guenther, Dr Robyn Ober and Conrad Maralngurra from Mamadawerre