Increasingly in Melbourne you are met with Womin Djeka a Kulin nation greeting, often translated as welcome – more precisely as: welcome – what is your purpose?
Having the opportunity to travel and explore different regions and countries has influenced my understanding of the concept of “open”. While my family has been in Australia for many generations, this land is not mine, and my presence is based in part on the openness of the traditional owners. For me, there is a critical need to move toward Bundyi Girri, or shared futures. Yet this requires me to change my understanding of Australia and to willingly and openly engage with Aboriginal perspectives, to re-interpret the colonial narratives historically presented through generations of education in Australia.
This block is inspired by the Australian Aboriginal Flag, designed by Mr Harold Thomas. The block uses fabrics I have collected across multiple continents. The use of the maple leaves for what is traditionally the ochre colour (representing the land), representing my connection to Canada and the open welcome they had for my family. The concentric circles on the central fabric, are often used in traditional art to indicate meeting places, this is included as a reminder to myself, of our commonness and what we share are people and how being open to experiences and others can enrich our lives.
The challenges in education between Australia and Canada are similar; with the need to help connect students with learning resources across geographically isolated regions. To me, the radio tower represents the importance of communicating over distance and the critical importance of School of the Air for remote Australian students. The icon used as inspiration for the tower is drawn from The Noun Project; the original graphic was designed by Marco Galtarossa.
School of the Air and associated programs have allowed access to education for generations of students who lack access to resources due to geography; in many cases, it may have been the sole educational opportunity available.
The inclusion of a book is to represent western notion of education. This also represents the new lands of opportunity presented by technology as it continues to democratise educational opportunities. The advancement of technology has improved educational access, improving the numbers and diversity of students who have the opportunity to engage with educational material. Open and Open Educational Resources support people in their developing knowledge and experiences globally.
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