Within the Geography Department at University of Manchester there is an informal collective of human and physical geographers committed to decolonising the curriculum, and taking anti-racist and anti-colonial actions alongside our students in careful (Newstead, 2009) co-learning classrooms. Together we have been developing a range of actions to embed diverse ways of knowing and doing theory, method and practice across the UGT and PGT programmes.
In this session I (Dr Alison Browne) will overview some these collective activities to ‘unsettle the taken for granted’ (Howitt, 2020) within our department. While there is still a lot of work to do we believe that our approach has led to a series of relational and reparative alliances (rather than just rhetorical or metaphorical moves, Tuck & Yang, 2012).
I will explore how our teaching has enabled deeper connections with University of Manchester’s cultural institutions (Manchester Museum, Whitworth Gallery) and other global communities.
I will spend some time introducing how Geography@Manchester has co-developed as series of virtual fieldtrips with Nowanup Bush University. Nowanup (place of the malleefowl) is a large revegetated farming property located in Noongar Boodja (Noongar country = south west of Western Australia). Nowanup is a place of deep cultural and spiritual significance for Goreng Noongar people, is an ancient land once part of the Gondwanaland supercontinent, and overlooks Bular Mial (Bluff Knoll) and the UNESCO Listed Biosphere Stirling Ranges (Koi Kyeunu-ruff). Nowanup Bush University has a tagline of ‘Healing Country, Healing People’ and the property is used extensively as an educational centre, for health and healing camps, for court and justice diversion, and as a sustainable tourism destination.
These virtual fieldtrips now sit as a Noongar knowledges pathway within our UGT BSc and BA curriculums. They have been developed with Noongar Elder Eugene Eades and Rocky Eades (Director Nowanup Noongar Boodja Ltd), following an invitation by Uncle Eugene Eades to work together to bring lessons about Nowanup to Manchester and the world.
The University of Manchester and the Manchester Museum are emerging as important international partners as Nowanup develops a sustainable business and educational model. There are possibilities to expand the virtual fieldtrip to Nowanup Bush University across SEED.
It fits with SEED teaching themes around ‘sustainability education’, ‘Indigenous environmental knowledges, management and planning’, ‘water’, ‘fire’, ‘ecology’, ‘land and health’, ‘mapping’, ‘sustainable tourism’, ‘land rights’, and those interested in engaging with the augmented and virtual reality pilots through the Humanities E-Learning Team.