National Dreamtime Awards 2018

15 November 2018
University of Sydney academics Michael Mossman, Nicole Watson, Emma Walke and Katrina Thorpe, and student, Liam Coe have been honoured with nominations for the National Dreamtime Awards 2018.

The National Dreamtime Awards recognises excellence by First Nations people from across Australia in the categories of Sport, Arts, Education and Community.

Educator of the Year

The shortlist for the award recognises an academic or teacher that has demonstrated a commitment to improving the educational needs for Aboriginal students and/or enhancing their own academic credentials to work more effectively in their chosen field.

Honoured with this nomination are:

Michael joined the School of Architecture, Design and Planning in 2016 from architectural practice at the NSW Government Architect, where he was part of the establishment of the Merrima Design Unit – an Indigenous-focused group responsible for the delivery of architectural projects to urban, rural and remote communities in NSW. 

Since making this shift from practice to academia, Michael has continuously displayed his cultural and disciplinary knowledge and his inclusive educational approach has made him a popular and valued teacher, who is always in high demand.

Michael's cultural background and connections to Country have been important to the School. He has established firm, ongoing relationships with the Yarrabah Community which has enabled on-Country educational experiences for students, and promises substantial collective research of immediate value to the community. This experience has been in high demand within the profession, and Michael is currently consulting with established practices in areas of engagement directly related to his postgraduate research.

Since commencement, Michael has taken up pivotal engagement and educational roles in the School. He has rebuilt the Wingara Mura –Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program by reconnecting with community and devising innovative and engaging projects; and he continues to sustain vocational interest among Aboriginal high school students through his community networks and targeted workshops at the University.

Michael's focused creativity, grounded and pragmatic approach and scrupulously ethical disposition to architectural education is reflected in many achievements including the Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program; actively pursuing cultural change within course offerings at the University; facilitating students to learn on Country; working with the Indigenous community of Yarrabah; and within the profession through his participation in indigenous architecture networks both in Australia and internationally. Michael is highly valued as a colleague, an academic showing significant leadership potential, and an exemplary advocate and role model for his culture and profession.

Nicole Watson is a member of the Birri-Gubba People and the Yugambeh language group. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland, a Master of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology and was enrolled in the PhD program at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University.

Watson was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1999. She has worked for Legal Aid Queensland, the National Native Title Tribunal and the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. Her area of research is the legal recognition of Indigenous relationships with land. A former editor of the Indigenous Law Bulletin and former columnist for the National Indigenous Times, she joined Tracker magazine as a monthly columnist in 2011. she has been involved in the Indigenous Mentoring Program at the New South Wales Writers Centre and the First Nations of Australia Writers Network.

She has published extensively on issues relating to Indigenous Australians and the law, especially in relation to the Northern Territory Intervention, to issues of land ownership and connection to country, and the particular difficulties facing Aboriginal women.

In 2016, she was appointed to the University of Sydney Law School.

As of 2017, Watson has published one novel, The Boundary. An earlier novel, Return of the Clever Man, was shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award in 2007, but has not yet been published.

Emma Walke is part of the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore.

Emma Walke has had over ten years’ experience in Aboriginal health and in the operations of Aboriginal controlled organisations in NSW. Her previous positions include Practice Manager / Executive Officer at Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service, after having been employed specifically to set up this Aboriginal Health Service in Ballina.

She has also worked as a Senior Program Officer for Aboriginal Health, in the North Coast Medicare Local corporate office. She currently manages Aboriginal health programs for the North Coast Primary Health Network, Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie and works with the University Centre for Rural Health to develop and deliver Aboriginal Health, Community and Culture components to medical and allied health students on long stay placements in the Northern Rivers.

Emma is currently undertaking a Masters of Philosophy by research, titled: “Efficacy of Webster Packing/Dose Administration Aids for Aboriginal people on the North Coast of NSW”.

Emma began working with CIRCA as an Aboriginal Research Consultant in 2012. She has been involved in key project work including: research for a lung cancer campaign with Aboriginal communities in NSW for the Cancer Institute NSW; concept testing communications on the School Kid’s Bonus with Aboriginal audiences for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and research for an anti-tobacco campaign targeting Aboriginal audiences for the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.

Katrina Thorpe is a descendant of the Worimi people of Port Stephens, New South Wales. She is a lecturer at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work with 20 years experience teaching Indigenous Studies in higher education. In 2017, Katrina completed her doctorate titled Narratives of Learning at the Cultural Interface: The Influence of Indigenous Studies on Becoming a Teacher. This research illuminated the experiences that supported or inhibited preservice teacher learning and development of a personal and professional commitment to Indigenous education.

Prior to her academic career, Katrina was a secondary education teacher and was also employed by the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) where she delivered Aboriginal cultural awareness training to staff within the Hunter Region of NSW. During this time she co-ordinated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Plan and facilitated a mentor network for Indigenous staff within the Region. Katrina’s career in higher education began at the Koori Centre - University of Sydney in 1996. In 1999 she moved to the Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre at the University of New South Wales and then returned to the Koori Centre in 2002.

Katrina has taught Indigenous Studies across a number of disciplines including education, social work, the social sciences, nursing, health and community development. Katrina’s current research is focused in the areas of Indigenous Studies in preservice teacher education, Aboriginal education in schools, engaging Indigenous students in education using Information and Communication Technologies and Indigenous health and wellbeing.

Katrina has a long term interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning in Indigenous Studies and is passionate about developing culturally responsive pedagogies that facilitate connections between students and Aboriginal people, communities and Country. She is also committed to supporting preservice teachers who are developing an Aboriginal education activist identity and want to connect with others who share a commitment to social justice in Aboriginal education.

They are outstanding role models too, and each, in their own way, promises to make important contribution to research, pedagogy and practice.
Michael Tawa, Professor of Architecture

Student of the Year

The award is presented to a school or tertiary student that has demonstrated outstanding effort and academic achievement in their chosen field.

Shortlisted in this category is:

Liam is a Wiradjuri First Nations student known for his engaged and genuinely curious manner. An intrinsic learner, Liam regularly achieves distinction grades in architectural design and technology and has a very promising trajectory.

Liam is an student ambassador, who regularly participates in Indigenous programs focused on high school student experience at the University of Sydney. He is passionate about architecture and the built environment – especially in its engagement with Indigenous issues. His culture is a strong part of who he is and a constitutive basis for the promise he shows and the leadership potential he demonstrates through his engagement with peers and staff. The profession needs more Indigenous built environment practitioners who can contribute to and transform practice; and Liam is an ideal candidate, to be supported and celebrated as he makes his way forward.

“I am delighted with the nominations of Liam Cole and Michael Mossman for this year’s Dreamtime Awards. Both have made exceptional contributions to the School of Architecture, Design and Planning – Liam as an exceptionally engaged and industrious student and Michael as a committed and thoughtful colleague. They are outstanding role models too, and each, in his own way, promises to make important contribution to architectural research, pedagogy and practice,” says Michael Tawa, Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Design and Planning.  

Winners will be announced at the Dreamtime Awards Gala Dinner on 16 November.

Sally Quinn

Media and PR Adviser (Creative Arts)

Charlotte Moore

Assistant Media and PR Adviser (Humanities)

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