Dining for diversity: College representatives meet with Indigenous innovators

Indigitek Dinner
Friday 30 August 2019

As part of the Reimagine Co-Design initiative, representatives of the College met with the Indigitek network for an evening of conversation and deep listening, at a community dinner hosted at 107 Projects in Redfern, Sydney.

Indigitek is a community of likeminded and passionate Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people who are continuing the proud tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The event was a unique opportunity for empathetic reflection and active listening, while hearing from members of the Indigitek network. Conversation focused on personal experiences of connection to family, community, culture and country, as well as educational career pathways for Indigenous people into tech and engineering.

Liam Ridgeway, founder of the Indigitek network was MC and facilitator on the night. The event was also attended by Dean Elanor Huntington, and members of the College academic teaching and research staff. Many Indigitek Network members attended, including people from across the tech and education sector.

Indigitek Network member Emily reflected on how “there was an excellent mix of people in the room who could each bring their unique stories and perspectives. I felt that it was a "safe space" where all questions and stories were listened to and considered respectfully.”

Key reflections from the discussion included how community engagement and connection to family and kin where fundamental to indigenous student pathways to education. A need to acknowledge the impact that distance from country has, and a lack of previous success stories from community was also highlighted. 

“Success as an Aboriginal person is correlated to community engagement and responsibility to one's community either away or at home.  Many Indigenous students really have to battle against all odds in order to be successful, however pathways or tracks to success once trodden can make it possible for many more students reflected Indigitek participant Nancia.

The shared meal was chance for staff to deepen understanding and engagement with the priorities of Indigenous people and networks, in relation to access to university pathways, focusing on how we are transforming engineering and computing for the future.

Senior Fellow from the ANU 3A Institute Andrew Meares was pleased to have attended the event. “We must codesign with Indigenous people to increase our employment of Indigenous staff and recruitment of Indigenous students to demonstrate that our College is serious about nurturing meaningful long-term respectful relationships and relevant education models that are useful to assisting community.”

This was the first in what will be a series of engagements with organisations and networks of Indigenous people in the technology and engineering sector supported by the College Reimagine project. You can learn more about the Reimagine Initiative and the up coming codesign event here.

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