This theme is led by Dr Raj Yadav
(Law and Society)
Dr Raj Yadav is a decolonial scholar, a development enthusiast, and a multidisciplinary researcher. He was born in Nepal and studied in India and Australia. Currently, he works as a lecturer at the School of Law and Society, UniSC; and meantime, supersizes HDR students in various areas. He has published books, several journal articles, book chapters, and a magazine article.
Our innovative, transdisciplinary research projects harness expertise at UniSC and beyond.
Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Scheme 2023
This project aims to address an absence of true representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and knowledges in nursing and midwifery. Significantly it intends to co-create an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurse and midwife theory and principles for practice. An anticipated goal of the research is to better understand how the theory and practice can be implemented in nurse and midwifery education (inclusive of clinical settings) in regional and urban areas. The intended outcome is to provide improved cultural safety in nursing and midwifery, greater cultural safety for health consumers and; stronger recruitment and retention of Indigenous nurses and midwives.
Phase II Traditional Knowledge and Local Knowledge (TLK) DFAT - Australia Pacific Climate Partnership
There are many places around the world where western/global science-informed solutions for climate-change adaptation and disaster management are valued less than ones based on local people’s worldviews and understandings of the environments they occupy. This helps explain why many outside aid-funded investments in such places have failed to be either effective or sustained, a situation which has led to increased calls for the documentation and critical evaluation of traditional and local knowledge (TLK) for climate change and disaster management, and its meaningful incorporation into future adaptation strategies.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Futures
ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Futures aims to transform and improve the life chances of Indigenous Australians by utilising Indigenous knowledges in unique trans-disciplinary cross-sector designed research to enhance our understanding about the complex nature of Indigenous intergenerational inequity. The Centre expects to generate new knowledge to enable evidence-based policy formulation and implementation including best practice models. The Centre will be entirely led by Indigenous researchers working with communities, government agencies and practitioners to strengthen the delivery of outcomes and linkages intentionally focused on all four of the National Agreement Close The Gap -2020’s Priority Reform areas.
Australian Research Council Linkage Project Scheme 2022
Reading Climate aims to investigate the connections between sustainability and Indigenous knowledge in the context of school English and directly responds to imperatives for climate education and racial justice in Australian schools. It links teachers, students, authors and scholars through book clubs, exploring the potential of literature as an interdisciplinary site for knowledge building and for reimagining social and environmental futures. With partners the Stella Prize, the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, Feral Arts and VoicEd Radio, the project will develop strong collaborations between literary education, industry, and Indigenous writing, producing an open access digital resource for use in schools nationally.
Implementing Indigenous Knowledge Approaches in Australian Doctoral Education
The purpose of this project is to decolonise and dehomogenise Australian doctoral education. The project aims to reform Australian doctoral education by foregrounding Indigenous approaches to knowledge production, being the a) power of stories; b) agency of Country and c) iterative, intergenerational and intercultural assemblage of knowledge.
Australian universities have been slow to recognize and accredit the knowledge systems, histories, and cultural practices of First Nations and transcultural doctoral candidates, unlike universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand and South Africa. However, increasing the participation and quality of Indigenous doctoral education has become a national priority in Australia.
This project aims to link Indigenous and transcultural ways of knowing to build epistemic solidarity and transcultural resilience, centered on a First Nations worldview and Indigenous protocols. The project seeks to reframe whiteness and the canon as the axes of normality and reposition the center of knowledge production.
K’gari of old: Indigenous Memories and Archaeological Evidence of Habitation Before Current Sea Level
Sea level reached near present levels about 7000 years ago. Before this time, Indigenous People inhabited country that is now submerged. In collaboration with Indigenous elders, we aim to identify stories and/or submerged archaeological evidence that documents when Indigenous people inhabited areas of the Great Sandy Strait, along possible walking routes, from K’gari to the mainland.
Collected stories show that walking along these routes was commonplace, and midden mounds and other habitation-evidence have been found in abundance on K’gari and on smaller islands en route to K’gari. However, now-submerged/buried mounds/artefacts have not been identified within the Great Sandy Straits. Recollection or identification of midden / artefacts in now submerged areas of the Great Sandy Strait, where people once used to walk, would provide valuable regional insight and highlight the importance of oral traditions in Indigenous contexts, in Australia and elsewhere.
If stories exist documenting this habitation, permission will be sought to record and publish these, together with estimates of the longevity of these stories, derived from the history of postglacial sea-level change.
Measurement and evaluation of Indigenous social work practice
The purpose of this project is to develop and create a range of reflexive tools that will adequately evaluate and measure cultural responsiveness practices within social work. These tools would complement existing frameworks and help to facilitate the development of culturally responsive, inclusive social work practitioners. This project uniquely sought to embrace, prioritize, support, and highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholder views of cultural responsiveness, utilize Indigenous standpoints and methodology.
The project addresses a key Australian Research Council priority area, by focusing on improving the health and wellbeing for Indigenous people. The development of such measurement tools translates to better models of health care and services that improve outcomes for Indigenous people for both urban and regional communities. This project will provide social work practitioners with efficient ways to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of their cultural practice and therefore provide clear outcomes to a range of stakeholders who are focused on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.
These tools will enable the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) to uphold social works professional core values and advance teaching practices, with the potential to expand to other societal intuitions. This further ensures students effectively integrate culturally responsive practice into their professional development in line with the AASW code of ethics.
Walking to K’gari: Indigenous memories of when Fraser Island was connected to the mainland
In collaboration with Indigenous groups, this project aims to identify whether stories exist that recall when it was possible to walk between mainland Australia and what are now offshore islands. Given that such stories have been found in other (about 25) coastal contexts around Australia but not yet in Southeast Queensland, this project will work with Badtjala (Butchulla) and Gubbi Gubbi peoples to identify whether such stories exist for K’gari (Fraser Island) and with Bayali and Darumbal peoples to identify stories for Curtis Island and the Keppel group.
Where such stories are found to exist, permission will be sought to record and publish these, together with estimates of the longevity of these stories derived from the history of postglacial sea-level change. Given that sea level reached its present level only about 7000 years ago, such stories are at least this old, something with wide-ranging implications for the understanding of the importance of oral traditions in Indigenous contexts in Australia and elsewhere.
Culturally Safe Pedagogy in Higher Education
The purpose of this project was to review existing frameworks and practices for embedding First Nations’ perspectives across a variety of education providers from both national and international contexts. This project explored how practices aligned to UniSC’s Framework for Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Perspectives in Curriculum
The findings aimed to advance teaching and learning to effectively embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices across UniSC, and with the potential to expand to other societal institutions.
Building Australia-China research capabilities for intercultural knowledge collaboration
This project will increase knowledge collaboration, educational connectivity and cultural engagement between Australia and China. It aims to improving the transcultural research capabilities of research supervisors and students in China and Australia. This project will create and trial five research-based modules on Chinese and Australian history and culture, multilingual knowledge co-construction, supervisory relationships and time mapping.
This multi-sited project will generate community energy through art exhibitions, which showcase time maps of supervisors’ and students’ intellectual trajectories in Sydney, Beijing and Changchun. A project website will be developed. Williams’, Bunda’s, Claxton’s and MacKinnon’s 2017 Indigenous Knowledge global decolonisation praxis approach will promote transformative learning experiences and draws upon Indigenous Knowledge principles of respect, relationality, reciprocity and responsiveness.
The 'university place': How and why place influences the engagement and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students
This project aimed to enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student engagement and retention in university study by understanding the impact of the ‘university place’. A case study approach was used involving two case universities and the use of mixed methods. Interviews and focus groups were used to collect data from Indigenous students, academic staff, and administrative, professional and technical staff, and surveys of Indigenous students and academic teaching staff.
Findings suggest that universities should understand that ‘university places’ are an intersection of Indigenous peoples’ social identities (as a student, as Indigenous, as an emerging professional).