Two knowledges working together

Two knowledges working together Conference Paper

2010 AUCEA National Conference: Communities Participation & Partnership

  • Author(s): Guenther, John
  • Published: 2010

Abstract: Tangentyere Aboriginal researchers and Charles Darwin University (CDU) evaluators, have been working together to evaluate Akeyulerre, an Aboriginal healing centre in Alice Springs. The healing centre offers traditional healing and cultural support for local Arrernte families in and around Alice Springs. The healing centre was established in the late 1990s. It was set up as a place for Arrernte families in Alice Springs and surrounding communities to come for a range of support services. The CDU research team is well experienced in conducting evaluations across the Northern Territory. The Tangentyere researchers were asked to work alongside the CDU team who have the knowledge in western academic ways. The Tangentyere researchers have their own style of conducting research among their people. They recognise the need to be patient, building the trust and the respect for each other before any work can be done. The Aboriginal researchers play a vital role when conducting research within an Aboriginal environment. Members of both teams recognised that to carry out the evaluation they must work closely with Arrernte language speakers who will be able to get the right and true information. The researchers found that by working together and understanding each other the respect was shown to each other and the outcome out of the respect for the two working parties was an evaluation report that effectively blends together the western knowledges of the University researchers and the cultural knowledges of the Aboriginal researchers. Many individuals and/or institutions contact Tangentyere in order to carry out research on Aboriginal people on the Town Camps. Naturally, the Council has developed a set of research principles to ensure that research is of benefit to the residents involved and is conducted in a culturally protected manner. The presentation is based on research that Tangentyere and CDU have been involved in and the principles behind the Tangentyere Council Research Program. These principles are included as “two knowledges, working together”. Presenters from the CDU and Tangentyere research and evaluation teams will offer insights they have learned from working together. Their learnings are discussed in terms of a) the time required for partnerships to develop; b) community ownership of research; c) what partnership means; d) the dilemma of living with uncertainty; e) trust and respect; and f) the importance of sharing tasks equitably.

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Guenther, John, 2010, Two knowledges working together, Conference Paper, viewed 15 June 2024,

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