Driving systemic change, greater understandings and broader engagements will be the focus of the new National Centre for Reconciliation Practice, launched today by Swinburne University of Technology.
The National Centre will take a multidisciplinary approach to exploring nationally significant reconciliation matters and will host a rich program of engagement, outreach, education and research activities.
Speaking at the launch, Swinburne Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pascale Quester said the National Centre was an important step forward in Swinburne’s reconciliation journey and its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
“As the first university in Australia with an Elevate RAP, we are extremely proud of the national leadership position that Swinburne has held in reconciliation over the past six years,” Professor Quester said.
“This National Centre for Reconciliation Practice will extend our existing industry and academic leadership in reconciliation. This National Centre also reflects our long-standing commitment to considered and meaningful reconciliation action,” she said.
Driving national systemic change
The National Centre has four interrelated program themes:
- Cultural Safety - led by Wiradjuri scholar Dr Sadie Heckenberg
- Indigenous Knowledges - led by Woiwurrung/Yorta Yorta/Ngarai illum Wurrung man Dr Andrew Peters
- Indigenous Rights - led by Garrwa scholar Emma Gavin
- Reconciliation Movements - led by Wiradjuri scholar Dr Wendy Hermeston
The National Centre has already appointed 60 research affiliates from a diverse range of disciplines – including Indigenous studies, astronomy, education, entrepreneurship, health, history, sport and technology – to undertake work across these four themes.
Swinburne’s Executive Director of Reconciliation Strategy and Leadership Professor Andrew Gunstone said the National Centre would be a central point for leading work on reconciliation around Australia.
“It is my absolute privilege to be leading the new National Centre and working with a diverse range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, organisations and communities to do extraordinary work,” Professor Gunstone said.
“I look forward to working closely with Reconciliation Australia, our industry and community partners, the National Centre leadership team – Dr Heckenberg, Dr Peters, Ms Gavin and Dr Hermeston – our Advisory Board and the broader team to drive systemic change and key national outcomes in reconciliation,” Professor Gunstone said.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Engagement Professor John Evans said the National Centre would play an essential role in expanding understanding of reconciliation in Australia and around the world.
“As we celebrate National Reconciliation Week with the theme ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’, the National Centre demonstrates how we can convert bold thinking into meaningful action that will have a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous Australians and First Nations people across the globe,” Professor Evans said.
The National Centre was launched at an event featuring a panel with Ian Hamm (Chair of the National Centre’s Advisory Board), Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA (National Centre Advisory Board Member) and Melinda Cilento (Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia), along with Swinburne’s Professor Gunstone and Professor Evans.
Learn more about the National Centre for Reconciliation Practice.