The River of learning

building relationships in a university, school and community Indigenous widening participation collaboration

Gail Whiteford, John Hunter, Joanne Jamie*, Rhonda Pitson, Deborah Breckenridge, Yaegl Elders, Subramanyam Vemulpad, David Harrington, Ian Jamie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, findings of a qualitative study of an Indigenous widening participation program are presented. The program, River of Learning, has been in existence since 2010 and represents a powerful collaboration between a rural high school in New South Wales (NSW) Australia, a metropolitan university, Indigenous Elders and non-Indigenous community members. An analysis of the narrative data generated through individual and group interviews with stakeholders provided findings with respect to the program including how it has contributed to the building and strengthening of university and community relationships and how important the interaction with Indigenous Elders and school and university staff is in development of confidence to engage in higher education in the Indigenous students. These findings are discussed and the article concludes with reflections on the learnings generated through such university, school and community collaborations and what these may mean in ensuring greater Indigenous representation in higher education in Australia in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1502
Number of pages13
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017


  • Australia
  • collaborative learning
  • community engagement
  • culture
  • higher education
  • Indigenous education
  • learning outcomes

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