Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern: from traditional knowledge to 21st Century Minds

The annual Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is demonstrating the value of traditional knowledge and contemporary Indigenous science. Now the National Indigenous Science Education Program has attracted the attention of PwC.

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern (Photo: National Indigenous Science Education Program)

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern
(Photo: National Indigenous Science Education Program)

Several years ago, Yaegl Aboriginal Elders approached Macquarie University scientists to help engage their youth with science and realise their potential.

With the help of an Inspiring Australia Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant, the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) was born. Joanne Jamie , who co-leads the Indigenous Bioresources Research Group at Macquarie University is co-director of NISEP.

“That was the start of giving us the exposure and the ability to extend our collaborations with Australian Museum, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, and Redfern Community Centre; and to approach and attract other partners, such as Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga,” Joanne says.

The annual four-day Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is their flagship National Science Week event, a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, including yarns with Aboriginal Elders on bush foods and medicines, making Aboriginal tools and jewellery, exploring Aboriginal astronomy, spear throwing, the science of ochre and hands-on science activities led by Indigenous youth.

“What we’ve found is that we’re also showing the wider public the knowledge and achievements of Indigenous youth and elders. It’s improtant to get that positive story out there—that these youth can do amazing things.”

The NISEP team now work with up to 20 different types of activity providers, having made connections and forged ongoing partnerships with the help of the Inspiring Australia connections.

NISEP has been chosed as one of 20 participants for PwC’s 21st Century Minds program, designed to help build Australia’s pipeline of innovators and problem solvers skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths, ensuring a workforce fit for the future.

“PwC will help us develop as a social enterprise. This is something that’s going to take us to the next level.”

For more information, explore the NISEP website at nisep.com.au, and their Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Read SBS story ‘Indigenous science gets its spotlight in community events

See ABC news coverage of the 2016 Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern via the NISEP Facebook page

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