Batchelor Institute » Science Week Open Day, Alice Springs
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Science Week Open Day, Alice Springs

Over 300 families and representatives from organisations in Alice Springs and surrounding communities joined the knowledge building interactive activities at the Desert Knowledge Precinct (DKP) at the South Stuart Highway, opposite Yirara College, Alice Springs, Northern Territory for a fun-filled family open day.

People from the local communities took the opportunity to explore the Precinct and participate in a range of demonstration and interactive activities aimed at developing people’s knowledge and understanding of the economy of the desert. The DKP is a 73 hectare site in Alice Springs that provides a national and international focal point for desert knowledge activities.

The DKP Open Day was a group initiative with displays and activities by Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Centre for Appropriate Technology, CAT Projects, CSIRO, Desert Peoples Centre, Ninti One and Desert Knowledge Australia.

Activities and displays included:

  • walking a desert trail for a chance to win an ipad mini.
  • visiting the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre.
  • bush cooking demonstrations by Ninti One.
  • meeting CSIRO’s friendly piglet and discovering why Alice Springs scientists are working in Africa.
  • carbon farming in Central Australia’s landscapes.
  • investigating past and future CSIRO research projects relevant to Central Australia and identifying key research questions for a chance to win a prize.
  • asking a scientist a question or three.
  • participating in a colouring competition.
  • craft and games activities with the Regional and Remote Aboriginal Children’s and Services Support Unit
  • recording and listening to language, viewing Indigitube language clips and showing your language group on a map with Batchelor Institute.
  • lino block printing at the Art Centre.
  • demonstrations in the CAT workshops.
  • guided tours with Bushlight and the Life Skills Camp.
  • visiting the CAT 2020 Visioning Booth – predicting news headlines in 2020.

Batchelor Institute staff also shared information on the Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education options and Higher Degree by Research programs delivered through the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE) partnership with Charles Darwin University. The programs are closely aligned to key employment opportunities for Indigenous people, particularly in regional and remote Australia.

Visitors showed great interest in Batchelor Institute’s interactive displays for art, the remote learning centre, Indigenous language projects, the library, Indigenous community services programs, the ‘Music builds literacy and life skills for Indigenous students’ display, the Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) display, and the Garden of Reflection tour.

After completing the Desert Trail the visitors relaxed in the Irrante Cafe and enjoyed the Ninti One bbq.

The Precinct was first conceptualised in 2000 as a place to create a “knowledge community” to share and leverage resources.

Desert knowledge is the know-how, ideas and innovations that desert people have developed to thrive. Connecting people with desert knowledge, creating partnerships and using desert knowledge helps to build stronger economies and more sustainable communities.

The DKP reflects over $35 million investment by the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.
Current infrastructure includes:

  • Desert Peoples Centre: a joint venture between Batchelor Institute and Centre for Appropriate Technology
  • Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre
  • Desert Knowledge Business and Innovation Centre

Batchelor Institute is one of the major contributors to the on-going development of the DKP.