Connecting Urban Indigenous Students with Country, Culture and University
The National School of Arts and Equity Pathways have recently collaborated on the Laura Aspirations Project, which aims to provide a deep, engaging university experience for young Indigenous students in our equity partner schools in Queensland.
Eight urban Indigenous students and the Indigenous Liaison Officers from their schools went on a trip to the biennial Laura Dance Festival held in Cape York Peninsula from 30 June to 2 July. They were accompanied by Dr Maggie Nolan, Deputy Head of the Queensland School of Arts, and Ms Erin Dougherty from Equity Pathways.
Prior to this trip, the students participated in a film-making workshop at ACU’s Brisbane campus, and were provided with cameras so that they could document their experiences at the Festival. Shortly after the Festival, the students flew to Melbourne where they spent three days in the editing suites at ACU’s Arts Precinct editing their short films, in anticipation of a screening later in the year.
This has been a life-changing experience for these young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Not only have they received a genuinely immersive university experience, but the project has facilitated connections to country and culture not always available to students in metropolitan areas. In this sense, the Laura Aspirations Project has both raised aspirations and built capacity for young Indigenous students in our partner schools.
National Head of Arts, Professor Michael Ondaatje, and Dr Maggie Nolan both expressed pride in the fact that the School of Arts had led this project with Equity Pathways, in line with ACU’s commitment to having Impact through Empathy.