AustLit hosted its first Professional Development day for teachers in November 2017. Convenved by BlackWords champion, Dr Anita Heiss, and AustLit Director, Kerry Kilner, the event explored important ideas around how to read and teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authored texts in the classroom. The event was supported by the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland and the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research.
Below are resources resulting from the Symposium.
Anita Heiss's fiction, poetry, and non-fiction has won Deadly Awards, the Scanlon Prize, and both the New South Wales and the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. As an editor, a novelist, a critic and a children's author, her works have been taught in universities across Australia. She is also a frequent participant in community literacy and writing events, from the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to schools.
An academic at University of Technology Sydney, Larissa Behrendt holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School and has both held and continues to hold a number of distinguished positions and awards.
In addition to critical works on issues such as Aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination, Larissa Behrendt has published two novels, Home and Legacy, and the critical work Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling, an analysis of the pervasiveness of colonial myths in contemporary Australia.
An academic and researcher in QUT Creative Industries, Sandra Phillips has extensive experience in publishing, editing, and teaching Indigenous and Australian writing in university settings. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). As an editor, she has worked with the University of Queensland Press, Magabala Books, and Aboriginal Studies Press.
Her works include Fresh Cuttings: A Celebration of Fiction and Poetry From UQP's Black Writing Series (St Lucia: UQP, 2003), edited with Sue Abbey.
Poet and professional storyteller and narrator, Sam Wagan Watson has been publishing since the mid 1990s. In the last 25 years, he has published nine individual collections of poetry, as well as several co-authored works and hundreds of individual poems in periodicals across Australia. One of his collections, Smoke Encrypted Whispers, was also reimagined as an audio work, the poems accompanied by music by Brisbane composers.
He has won the Scanlon Prize, the David Unaipon Award, and the Kenneth Slessor Prize (New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards), and his work has been taught at universities in New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania.
Kerry Kilner, has been Director of AustLit since 2002. She is responsible for driving AustLit's agenda. Kerry researched Australian theatre, bibliography, book history and women's history. She is the leader of the Australian Drama Archive which is digitising and publishing under-recognised Australian plays.
Well known to teachers across Queensland as the 'English Teacher Guru', Lindsay Williams taught for 24 years in state and independent schools, including 17 years as a Head of English. In addition to his teacher, he has worked with a wide range of publishers and organisations to write a range of curriculum activities for books and television programs, has been extensively involved in curriculum development at state and national level, and has presented workshops at local, state, national, and international conferences.
Lindsay Williams's workshop and lesson plan ideas on "Challenging Terra Nullius of the Mind" provides a hands-on tips for exploring of the power of representation and the practice of writing back by using Henry Lawson's story The Drover's Wife and Leah Purcell's powerful adaptation of the story for the stage.
Watch a video of Anita Heiss in discussion with author and academic Professor Larissa Behrendt on stolen generations and challenging father-daughter relationships as she explores her own family history in her novels. Anita and Larissa discuss a range of stories and resources teachers can use to deepen and expand their own and their students' understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and experiences.