Researching a university’s engagement with the Indigenous communities it serves

Researching a university’s engagement with the Indigenous communities it serves Journal Article

Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts

  • Author(s): Campbell, M, Christie, M
  • Published: 2009
  • Volume: 2009

Abstract: Charles Darwin University (CDU) is committed to community engagement and is developing ways of embedding this role within university structures and processes. One strategy to achieve this was the Indigenous Community Engagement (ICE) research project, conducted in 2007 and 2008. The ICE Project aimed to document and make explicit the engagement embedded within past and ongoing projects with Indigenous people as a way of informing the development of CDU’s community engagement strategies. This paper documents the origins, methodology, findings, recommendations and implications of the ICE Project. CDU has a long history of conducting successful teaching and research projects with Australian Indigenous people. A key assumption underpinning the development of the ICE project was that there were numerous examples of good existing collaborations between CDU staff and Indigenous communities that the university as a whole could learn from. One of the critical aspects of the project was to create space for Indigenous people, from both within and outside the university, to participate and tell their stories of engagement, including what they consider it to be and what the preconditions are for good community engagement. The ICE Project demonstrated that good community engagement with Indigenous people is an emergent process embedded in respectful relationships between individuals. Successful Indigenous community engagement depends on recognising Indigenous knowledge and its practices and Indigenous identity as central to the development of partnerships and collaboration between the university and Indigenous communities. Successful Indigenous community 3 engagement also requires that university staff see their professional relationships with Indigenous people as extending beyond the life and concerns of individual projects.

Notes: Indigenous Community Engagement Edition

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Suggested Citation
Campbell, M, Christie, M, 2009, Researching a university’s engagement with the Indigenous communities it serves, Volume:2009, Journal Article, viewed 21 November 2019,

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