New media, ancient culture: the power and potential of social media in Indigenous education

Amy Thunig, Luke Pearson

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    The First People of this continent now known as Australia are often referred to collectively as Indigenous or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, the reality is that these terms are applied to a variety of rich and unique people groups, each with complex social, political, ecological, and educational systems who’ve existed on these lands for time immemorial. Whilst acknowledged collectively as the oldest continuous cultures in the world (Nagle, et al., 2017), since British invasion in 1788 it has been common for the knowledges, practices, lives and histories of First Peoples to be erased, excluded, or only acknowledged in very limited capacities within formal systems imposed within this settler-colonial state. Whilst First Peoples are no longer legislatively denied access to formal education, the limitations of Eurocentric, outsider-based epistemologies, which have been utilised to develop and implement policies and practices within formal education have for First Peoples perpetuated the very inequalities which it is often said they would address (Tracey, et al., 2016; Bodkin-Andrew & Carlson, 2016). In this way, while formal education within Australia now allows the attendance of First Peoples, the system itself continues to perpetuate inadequate recognition of Indigenous cultures, history, and ways of knowing within what remains ‘assimilationist curricula’ (Hickling-Hidson & Ahlquist, 2003).With minuscule numbers of First Nations people working within academia, and/or holding formally recognised positions of power and influence within politics, media, education, health, or higher education, the burden carried by those identifiable as ‘representative’ is significant. However, with the increase in innovative technology, accessible platforms such as social media, and the emergence of First People owned and run media and websites, how knowledge is accessed, shared, and legitimised in Australia is beginning to change. This presentation began utilising IndigenousX as a case study of the ways in which social media is challenging what constitutes ‘legitimate’ information, communication, cultural expression, and education in Australia. As an online platform created and curated by Indigenous people, IndigenousX is a community-led innovation in digital media, bringing together and amplifying Indigenous voices through online publications and social media posts (Sweet, Pearson, & Dudgeon, 2013). Responding to and commenting on a myriad of issues, from education, politics, media, community, health, and more, this platform has become a central meeting point for Indigenous people online, but also for non-indigenous people who seek to learn more about us, by engaging in the powerful practice of listening to us (Waller, Dreher, & McCallum, 2015). As Gamilaroi people, and formal educators, we make the case that traditionally framed ‘non academic’ publication formats need to be reconsidered and better recognised in education in order to meet the needs and hear the voices of communities which sit outside of the traditional academic identities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    EventAARE 2019 Conference: Education for a socially just world - QUT Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Australia
    Duration: 1 Dec 20195 Dec 2019


    ConferenceAARE 2019 Conference
    Internet address

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'New media, ancient culture: the power and potential of social media in Indigenous education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this