Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Health: Object Based Learning Project

Object based learning

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Health: Object Based Learning (OBL) Project has been developed by the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at Flinders University (led by Dr Maree Meredith, Poche Acting Director) in partnership with Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) (led by Ms Fiona Salmon, FUMA Director). This project is informed by object-based learning theory and practice-led research demonstrating transformational impacts of art on student outcomes. It has a focus on FUMA’s nationally significant collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and aims to effectively engage students with Indigenous Australian histories, cultures and contemporary experiences to explore associated impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being. The artworks selected will provide students with an opportunity to engage with Indigenous knowledge and value systems, and through a series of activities encourage critical self-reflection, a core cultural safety skill.

To date project work completed has included a thorough literature and background review of comparative models and tools, detailed methodological discussions, consideration of teaching themes and concepts and planned pilot roll out into selected potential topics. Key themes of Stolen Generation, Racism, Alcohol abuse, Land Rights, Identity, Colonisation, Frontier Wars, Reconciliation, connection to Country have been identified in this process.

This has led to a focus on the development of an Online Toolkit for use by teaching staff to enable effective incorporation of OBL and Indigenous perspectives into teaching and learning and will provide an opportunity to support a broad range of staff to incorporate this material in a culturally appropriate and safe manner. Example resources in the Online Toolkit may include:
• Short videos on selected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists show casing their artworks;
• A list of available artworks with text to indicate how each piece might be incorporated into teaching; and
• A series of teaching resources and materials available for use by educators in the delivery of OBL learning.

As the first phase of the Online Toolkit development three short artistic videos have been commissioned with their release with complementary resources planned for the first pilot in Semester 2. The three artists with prominent works selected from the FUMA collection include Ali Gumillya Baker (focus on Sovereignty and Indigenous Women), Sandra Saunders (focus on Stolen Generation and the Apologies) and Darren Siwes (focus on Sovereignty and ‘confronting’ perspectives).

Future activities for the project include a Topic Coordinator’s Educational Workshop, a CMPH College Forum presentation, a 2021 National Key Thinkers Forum themed around Art in Health and several potential 2021 pilots into topics across Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and Health Sciences.

For further information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Health: OBL Project please contact the Poche Executive Officer, Liz Larkin.

This project is funded by the CMPH Capacity Building and Education Uplift Fund. 

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