Indigenous Studies Research Network

ISRN Masterclass testimonials

The following testimonials are from participants who completed the Masterclass held at Charles Darwin University and the University of South Australia in 2010.


Professor Steve Larkin
Testimonial Evaluator from Charles Darwin University IRMMM (2010)

Interviewer: So, Professor Larkin, what do you think about the Masterclass?
Professor Larkin: oh i think it’s a magnificent opportunity for post grads student, about to engage or are engaged in higher degree via research. And i think the uh content and delivery, the exercises are all sort of well designed and framed to ensure that students get the next opportunity to get the most out of it.
Interviewer: And what do you think this will do for the future of indigenous academic pursuit in Australia?
Professor Larkin: Well, I think certainly it will encourage and support more current students to complete - and complete with very good quality degrees and dissertations. One of the main problems is our completion rate isn’t matched to enrolment rate.


Chris Wilson Testimonial
Participant from University of South Australia IRMMM (2010)

...the occupational lifelines in the Lower Murray, through the policy, and how does the
archaeological record relate to Ngarrindjeri understandings abroad. I guess, in terms of my standpoint, it’s a Ngarrindjeri archaeological standpoint because I do refer to myself as a Ngarrindjeri archaeologist. Begin that I’m privileged with Ngarrindjeri knowledge and understandings of country and how the Ngarrindjeri archaeologist is connected and is related to this landscape.
I guess the important thing about the position of myself and my stand point is about not just being a Ngarrindjeri archaeologist but the process of becoming; a Ngarrindjeri person, a young person learning still, and becoming a young...ah, an archaeologist. So that’s really important to me.

My epistemological approach, the way of knowing - today I’m just thinking back to some of the things I’ve learnt from elders and other people as I’ve worked on country, and I guess I relate that to Miwi which is a term Ngarrindjeri use which relates to the stomach, it has kind of’s something I’ve learnt so, it has more than that but...I guess that’s the epistemological approach.
So drawing from Ngarrindjeri knowledge through lived experiences of course, and dissemination of that knowledge from elders...and within that I was thinking, I was talking to a few people before about what that dissemination of knowledge, where that actually comes from, and I guess where that actually comes from, and I guess I’m going to explain it; it comes from my direct descendants; it comes from the leadership of the elders that I work with; it comes from the knowledge that is recorded by the white ethnographer as I’m in the archives reading that material; it also comes from people who’ve been privileged as white people, who’ve been given that knowledge, who have then passed that down to me, and some of those people supervising......that I talk to have been taught certain things from my family members..ah, so that’s that!

The ontological approach - way of being...I guess..."Ngartji".... is the term, as in totem and I’m exploring what my totems are; I’ve asked some people, some have said whale, others have said they’re not sure, um so that’s a process I’m trying...starting to learn...but yeah that embodied knowledge as a Ngarrindjeri person is part of that approach, and again being and becoming an Ngarrindjeri archaeologist and that process of transformative practise in that process.


Susan Beetson
PHD Candidate Queensland University of Technology (QUT) - Charles Darwin University IRMMM 2010

Susan Beetson: “There have been a couple of times, you know, where we’ve got to have some good workshops with Aileen, um and While they sort of help me along my way, um now I’ve had in my confirmation document I wrote up about my stand point and I sort of have my ethical framework and I have my conceptual framework and I’ve identified what my epistemology and my ontology and I can say it now and axiology ways of knowing, being and doing um so for me though now I just have so much more clarity, in being able to um, actually articulate my standpoint I think I need to do some thinking about that obviously and reflection and time for me to be able to do that much more clearly like you know I’ve sort of written it out, whatever, but what I thought was important to me, but now that you’ve extended for me, particularly in terms of methods I’ve got a lot out of both lots in terms of qualitative but especially I was very unsure before coming here how I was going to look at my qualitative quantitative data because I will be drawing from the big um, the big databases of what exists out there and I will be drawing from the qualitative to in order to input that and I got some really good feedback from Maggie about the Face book polling for consensus, so that’s a really good thing. So yeah, I just think my whole conceptual framework now I’ve spent some time on it and I think I will really be able to be comfortable with it”.


Michelle Webb
Participant from Charles Darwin University IRMMM (2010)

I think I spoke to you a bit earlier Aileen today and I think what happened for me this time was I am not going to do this crappy speal about not being an academic and a phd and it’s a crock of shit. I am going to do the bottom line (claps from participants) and I am not saying I won’t do it (laughs) but when I say that I am going to say it from now on.

I think what this has given me is the legacy stuff...... that being a Tasmanian (Indigenous) is often seen as invisible and the importance of having that voice out there for me is (I am getting teary, it’s because I am tired) (Dr Maggie Walter adds that she is getting teary as well) but the importance of having our voices being out there has really been drummed home to me.... Maggie (Dr Maggie Walter adds - it’s the connection to our countries and Michelle responds with absolutely). And having you present I am really proud to have you out there presenting as one of my country woman it makes me proud and makes feel really good to have you out there..... it’s my responsibility.

My grandmother, great grandmother and mother went through a whole lot of hardship and shit so that I could sit in some flash hotel room at night and work on my homework, I owe .....

And....I am going to try and pay it back, thank you.....thank you everybody’s intelligence and enthusiasm is....a motivation to stop the bullshit....... and get on with it.