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Indigenous culture embedded in fabric of community through UC Reconciliation Plan

10 December 2019: The University of Canberra strives to weave the narrative of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into the fabric of our community through the sector-leading Reconciliation Action Plan, which is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

The University is actively engaged in creating a culturally safe and responsive environment, through internal policies, plans and programs to make the University environment a welcoming one.  

UC recognised National Reconciliation Week earlier this year where changes were evident across the whole University. The second reconciliation breakfast saw special guest, Nyoongar woman Shelly Cable, speak about unleashing Indigenous Australian potential through economic and financial freedom.

The UC Indigenous design treatment is a first for the university sector, and is used throughout university marketing and communications—internally and externally. Beyond Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, the design treatment echoes the significant place and role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories have within the University.

The Indigenous treatment incorporated an artwork painted by Ngunnawal/Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist, Lynnice Church, with each element within the design uncovering integral parts of the UC story that celebrates diversity and inclusive relationships.

The Indigenous design treatment was featured on the UC Capitals uniform for their inaugural Indigenous round in December 2018 and is used across the University’s website and within the design of student and staff workspaces to demonstrate the ongoing commitment to increase the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples year-round.

Across social media, UC has brought to the forefront the stories of Indigenous students and academics, and how their culture has shaped them and their journey with the university. Across the university’s social media channels during Reconciliation Week, students were profiled and both Indigenous and non-Indigenous were asked to share what Reconciliation means to them.

In November this year, the visual element will be even more tangible, with the completion of the Mura Gadi Gallery, a UC-owned gallery exhibiting student, staff and community works of interest to the UC community.

Nestled at the bottom of the UC concourse, sits the recently opened Ngunnawal Plant Use Education Space, called Ngaladjima, a Ngunnawal word for plants of different sizes, including trees. The space is home to varieties native to the ACT region which the Ngunnawal people have used for a myriad of purposes, from food and tools, to weapons and medicine. While, 5.5% of the University’s capital spend in campus estate has gone to Indigenous businesses.

Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures on campus and within the curriculum, allows students to develop respect for the world’s oldest living culture.

The University is working towards relocating the Ngunnawal Centre in 2020, to a purpose-fitted out high-profile location, that has an Aboriginal design and colours to reflect the importance of the university’s engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

UC is continuing to strive to do better, to ensure the University is a welcoming and culturally safe educational environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

UC aspires to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate completion rates to be in line with the broader UC community.

While the Indigenous Australian Completions Taskforce is developing a University-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s ways of knowing and learning strategy, to enhance curriculum design and delivery through the embedding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people perspectives, content and material across the University’s courses.

With Ngunnawal people at its heart, the University will continue to build upon its commitments to reconciliation and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in all areas.