Office for Environmental Programs - Theses
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ItemListening to country and learning about artful sustainability in a remote Aboriginal community: a study of Aboriginal knowledge systems with respect to placeMunro-Harrison, Emily ( 2012)The work of an Aboriginal art centre involves both Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal staff, and a process of constant negotiation between knowledge systems. This thesis explores the sustainability of knowledge systems and place, and some of the ways that Aboriginal knowledge circulates in the setting of an Aboriginal art centre in a remote Arnhem land community. I share stories from my experience of volunteering in an Aboriginal Art Centre in western Arnhem land for several weeks, which I frame using Altman's `Hybrid Economy.' This framework allows us to explore these experiences, and analyse some of the ways in which knowledge circulates. The example of land disputes in Australia is used to uncovered different ways of seeing the world - and the ideas of knowledge systems are explored through the work of academics Verran and Christie. The dispute over what constitutes `authentic' and `inauthentic' art and culture is discussed, through the eyes of Aboriginal activist and artist Richard Bell, and through the mediation of Altman's hybrid economy frame. The importance of art and culture in identity and community is discussed with the assistance of Morphy and Dening. I uncover the ways in which I began to understand how to learn from a group of people striving to live sustainably in today's Australia in a remote Aboriginal community, and show that Aboriginal art centres are places where a lot more than art happens.