Title: Virtual Cultural Immersion with Bathurst Wiradjuri Elders and Gulaay during COVID19
Presenter(s): Dr Barbara Hill
Gulaay First Nations Curriculum and Resources Team
Type: Podcast Q&A
When: Wednesday, November 18th 2020 @ 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm
Abstract: When COVID 19 hit, the Elders from Gunhigal Mayiny Wiradyuri Dyilang Enterprise, who are also Adjunct to Charles Sturt, had been working with the Hyde Park Barracks project with Gulaay since late 2018 and were involved in a launch vital to truth telling at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney. Plans for cultural immersion with both students and staff from our University and others, including staff from Hyde Park Barracks had been made, and the year was looking like one of increased engagement. Suddenly with the pandemic, the Elders were not only isolated from each other but their care for Country, and the fulfilling of cultural obligations was also limited in lockdown. We know that COVID has effected all of us, but it has not impacted us all equally. The impact of COVID led to a known and understood Wiradjuri cultural resilience and through Gulaay, the Elders were quickly linked-up virtually, and plans began to emerge for not only the care of Charles Sturt students and staff ─ as Elders in residence and those who are responsible for the care of others on their Country ─ but how the Elders could both still care for County and further educate others about Country, especially after the bushfires of the previous summer. The Elders came up with the idea of a virtual cultural immersion experience. This experience was rolled out firstly to Charles Sturt students in a capstone subject in The Centre for Law, and then delivered to Charles Sturt DLT and DVC Academic Executive staff. Listeners to this podcast will understand the history of cultural immersion at Charles Sturt, the role of Gulaay in this, and how Wiradyuri ways of knowing, learning and doing inform cultural education in changed times; and furthermore, how students can thrive in these experiences. COVID has asked us all to creatively reimagine the way we do things, now and into the future.