“Spreading your wings"

Exploring transformative learning in Indigenous Australian studies

By Denise Proud (2011)

The five circles, in blue, purple, green, pink and yellow, represent the universities where the case studies were undertaken as part of the project. The University of Queensland is represented by the blue circle as the lead university on the project and the collaborating universities: University of Technology Sydney, Monash University, University of Newcastle and Charles Darwin University are symbolised by the other circles. The circles also represent the cocoon or safe space where students can gain knowledge about Indigenous ways of knowing, peoples and histories. The black and white shapes around the circles signify the students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who enrol in Indigenous Australian studies. The students sit in circles demonstrating the meeting, sharing, dialogue and relationships that occur through PEARL in Indigenous Australian studies. The red tracks between the universities demonstrate the flow of knowledge and the collaboration that is occurring between the universities. The butterflies signify the process of growth, maturity, change and transformation which we believe occurs in student’s understandings about Indigenous Australian peoples, histories, and cultures through the process of PEARL pedagogy. The background of green and yellow depicts wattle coming into flower when the seasons change symbolising the importance of having the climate “right” for this transformation in student’s understandings to occur.

Denise Proud

Denise Proud was born in Cherbourg, an Aboriginal settlement in Queensland, and in Wakka-Wakka country. She was an early childhood educator for many years and is a popular international speaker in this field. Denise has also worked in correctional centres, youth detention centres, and women’s centres and has been closely involved with The University of Queensland facilitating cultural awareness workshops and guest lecturing on a diverse range of topics. Her parents along with many brothers and sisters are major influences in her life and more than a few of the “Chambers” family are well known artists. Denise has lived for many years at The Gap in Brisbane, Australia with her husband David and daughter Monique, where she has set up a studio and likes to paint into the small hours of the morning. She continually supports her family, her community and her country.