ANTS is exploring the feasibility of a national curriculum in native title anthropology.
Court recognised expertise requires both proper academic training and experience in its application. Martin (2004) has identified a demographic crisis in native title anthropology whereby the majority of well recognised experts are likely to leave the field in the short to medium term. At the same time, most of those who would fill this gap have received academic training less relevant to the specific needs of the native title system. This amounts to a succession crisis that can only be overcome by filling the academic training gap and providing opportunities for graduates to gain experience in native title practice.
In June 2011 the Attorney-General’s Department awarded a one-off grant of just over $5,000 to the University of Adelaide to hold a meeting to discuss the prospects of a National Curriculum in Native Title Anthropology. In December 2012 a meeting of course convenors (both those who have run native title training courses in the past and those who might convene courses in the future) was held in Adelaide. Present at the meeting were representatives of University of Adelaide (UA), Australian National University (ANU), James Cook University (JCU), La Trobe, Melbourne and Queensland (with apologies from Sydney and UWA), as well as convenors of now defunct Native Title Anthropology subjects and programs at Adelaide and UWA. The meeting was facillitated by Peter Hackworth, an independent consultant.
The National Curriculum meeting decided to work towards a postgraduate curriculum in native title anthropology. A key concern of the meeting was the fate of earlier attempts to provide rigorous training in native title anthropology. Funding and enrolment levels were identified as key concerns if the initiative is to be moved further. There was also support for exploring funding options with a full range of stakeholders, since it is clear from earlier experience that a post-graduate curriculum will require funding subsidy for it to be sustained over time..
|Coordinators of previous Native Title courses:||Former Course Title|
|Dr Julie Finlayson||University of Adelaide Native Title Summer School|
|Dr David Martin||University of Adelaide Native Title Summer School|
|Prof Peter Sutton||University of Adelaide course: 'Native Title and the Anthropology of Aboriginal Land Tenure'|
|Dr Nic Smith||UWA Native Title and Cultural Heritage Program|
|Dr Rod Lucas||University of Adelaide course: 'Native Title and the Anthropology of Aboriginal Land Tenure'|
|Dr Emma Kowal||(University of Melbourne)|
|Dr Ray Madden||La Trobe University|
Prof Nicolas Peterson
|Australian National University|
|Prof David Trigger||University of Queensland|
Dr Michael Wood
|James Cook University|
Dr Pamela McGrath
|Centre for Native Title Anthropology, Australian National University|
|Dr Deane Fergie||University of Adelaide|
Dr Gaynor McDonald
|University of Sydney|
|Dr Katie Glaskin||University of Western Australia|
The meeting addressed the key question:
- The establishment of national curriculum working party, its inaugural membership and organisational infrastructure / support;
- Funding prospects for the development of a national curriculum and support for its delivery;
- Consultation & research strategies to inform working group deliberations about:
- Award & Program level(s) - (e.g. undergrad. &/or post grad. cert / diploma or masters)
- Host institutions & offering / award/ funding relations (e.g. cross-institutional enrolments)
- Subjects and topics that should beincluded in a national curriculum
- Appropriate delivery modes (semester units; intensive residential; on-line; mixed media)
- Broader consultation processes to inform the process (amongst Native Title Anthropologists, native title practitioners in allied disciplines; within Universities; with key stake-holders; including the Courts, the National Native Title Tribunal, and the Australian Anthropological Society).
A nationally distributed curriculum model was discussed as a way of managing and spreading risk as well as strangth across insitutions. The model favoured by the meeting is one in which a single insitution will host the program and award the qualifications with units in the program provided by cooperating insitutions from around the country.
A skype meeting of those available was held at the end of January to begin to develop a feasibility stage for the initiative. It was decided that Deane Fergie of ANTS would develop and coordinate a feasibility program, including seeking funds to support this process.
The feasibility process will involve at least:
1) setting up an advisory and cvurriculum development group
2) negotiating with potential host and cooperating insitutions on how to develop the program and its awards nationally;
3) undertaking a range of needs surveys amongst practitioners and and key stakeholders;
4) curriculum development of core units;
5) identifying and developing relationships with potential funding partners.
The next National Curriculum meeting will be held between the 26th and the 28th of June, 2012.
In 2012-13 ANTS is seeking funding to support a year of feasibility discussions with universities around Australia and stakeholders who might contribute funding to the initiative.