Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Creative Writing, 2019

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Level 4 Linkway, John Medley Bdg

University of Melbourne


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This event draws open a space for Creative Writing staff to reflect on the extent to which their teaching is or could become culturally aware, active and responsive, and to gain a deeper understanding of questions of representation, racial literacy – the history of race, positionality, privilegeand classroom dynamics. It will also be an opportunity to think through ways to move our cultural awareness into taking action individually and collectively, as a program.

This is a voluntary day - TAs (i.e. sessional colleagues) will be paid for their attendance, for up to 5 hours at OAA rate. Please feel free to come to all or part of the day depending on your availability.


10.30am – 1pm: Workshops on racial literacy, on understanding and situating oneself in relation to classroom power dynamics, and on developing a toolkit of respectful and inclusive teaching strategies

1pm – 2pm: A chance to carry on the conversation over a catered lunch

2pm-3pm: An interactive Q&A session with esteemed Professor Alexis Wright, current Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.* Professor Alexis Wright will respond in an informal session to questions that Creative Writing staff may have. Please check out the readings listed below to inform preparing questions for this session.

3pm-3.30pm: A chance to inform the direction of the Creative Writing program's self-review of the cultural responsiveness of its teaching, learning and assessment practices

*Prof. Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the Gulf of Carpentaria. She is an author and essayist writing in fiction and non-fiction. Wright has written widely on Indigenous rights and has organised two successful Indigenous Constitutional Conventions in Central Australia, Today We Talk About Tomorrow (1993) and the Kalkaringi Convention (1998). Her collective memoir Tracker (2017) was awarded the 2018 Stella Prize. Her novel The Swan Book (2013) was awarded the 2014 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and the 2016 Raka Award, and was shortlisted for several other literary awards in Australia. Her novel Carpentaria (2006) was awarded the 2007 Miles Franklin Award, Victoria Premier Award, Queensland Premier Award, Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, and the Australian Book Industry Award. Her essay What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story (2016) was awarded the 2016 Hilary McPhee Award.

Reading list kindly provided by Prof. Alexis Wright:

Jeanine Leane 'Subjects of the imagination: On dropping the settler pen'

Alexis Wright 'What happens when you tell somebody else’s story?'

Alexis Wright 'The power and purpose of literature'

Alexis Wright 'The ancient library and a self-governing literature'

Alexis Wright 'Telling the untold stories' (the last part of this essay refers to the radio documentary below)

Nothing But the Truth. This is a radio documentary developed through the ARC Other Worlds Research Project with my friend Clarence Waldon, Gangalidda man from Doomadgee, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. ‘Clarence Walden is the boss of his own story and in this gripping oral history the Gangalidda man tells it straight to his old friend Alexis Wright.

Other readings that may be of interest:

Robin Di Angelo 'Nothing to add'

Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda 'On whiteness and the racial imaginary'

With special thanks to Dr Jeanine Leane for advice on this event's conceptual direction - action after/beyond 'awareness'.

This event has been developed by the Creative Writing program and Dr Kay Are (Arts Teaching Innovation). Please direct enquiries to Kay at Please direct questions on sessional staff payments to ATI Project Coordinator Yasmeen Hassan at

NB: We aspire in planning for this event not to damage the lifeforms supported by the land and waterways. Please tread carefully. This event promotes sustainable practices - we will minimise wastage, and you are invited to bring a reusable cup.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is an initiative of Arts Teaching Innovation that supports programs and disciplines to self-review and adapt curricula and pedagogy to self-devised goals in relation to raising cultural awareness and assuming cultural responsibility. This training day, facilitated by the Creative Writing program in collaboration with ATI, learns from current discourses across the sector on 1) generating the conditions for cultural awareness and affirmative, inclusive action; 2) supporting student and staff wellbeing; and 3) increasing student engagement and student satisfaction with their experience of learning.

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Level 4 Linkway, John Medley Bdg

University of Melbourne


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