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Examining the graduate attribute agenda in Australian universities

A review of (continuing) problems and pitfalls

Peta S. Cook

Graduate attributes refer to an amalgamation of cognitive, personal, interpersonal and social skills, abilities and qualities that students are expected to develop and apply during and after their degree programme. They have been widely adopted across higher education in Australia and internationally. In this article, I review some of the continuing problems of graduate attributes in the Australian higher education sector some twenty years after their introduction, including the concepts of employability and work readiness, the processes of mapping and resourcing and whether graduate attributes are generic. This examination foregrounds the ongoing pitfalls of graduate attributes in relation to their purpose, contextualisation and implementation. While there remains potential positive student and institutional outcomes from graduate attributes, the continuing problems of resourcing and the diversity of roles and purposes that universities serve for students and communities, are being overlooked.

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A Journey to Australia

Travel, Media, and the Politics of Representation

Helen Bones

In November 2013 an international symposium was held at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia called “Travel and the Media” (cohosted by the National Film and Sound Archive and the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University and organized by Sofia Eriksson and Bridget Griffen-Foley). The Museum’s collections formed a fitting backdrop as a destination of travel and a site of tourist experiences, as well as a gathering of items related to the physical objects that enable people to embark on journeys to different parts of the globe. A number of the papers presented referred to a time when Australia was dependent on a maritime world, with sea-based expeditions forming the majority of travel experiences of the southern continent until the mid-twentieth century.

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Steamships to Suffragettes

A Case Study of Interpretative Museology, Public Engagement, and Digital Development

Nicolas Bigourdan, Kevin Edwards and Michael McCarthy

Since 1985 the shipwreck site and related artifacts from the steamship SS Xantho (1872) have been key elements in the Western Australian Museum Maritime Archaeology Department’s research, exhibition, and outreach programs. This article describes a continually evolving, oft en intuitive, synergy between archaeological fieldwork and analyses, as well as museum interpretations and public engagement that have characterized the Steamships to Suff ragettes exhibit conducted as part of a museum in vivo situation. This project has centered on themes locating the SS Xantho within a network of temporal, social, and biographical linkages, including associations between the ship’s engine and a visionary engineer (John Penn), a controversial entrepreneur (Charles Broadhurst), a feminist (Eliza Broadhurst), and a suff ragette (Kitty Broadhust), as well as to Aboriginal and “Malay” divers and artists. Achieved with few funds, the project may be a valuable case study at a time when funds allocated to museums and archaeological units are rapidly diminishing.

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The Ritual Labor of Reconciliation

An Autoethnography of a Return of Human Remains

Lotten Gustafsson Reinius

Having a dual perspective as researcher of expressive culture and museum curator, I engage in the ceremonial aspects of repatriation through a practice-based “museology from within.” Focusing on a handover of human remains by the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm to indigenous claimants from Australia (2004), I combine material from my own participant observation with sources such as interviews and written and photographic documentation. The aim is to bring an autoethnographic perspective to a discussion on the ritual dynamics of repatriation. The transfer of custody and right of interpretation was accomplished with a ceremonial process, cocreated by museum staff and indigenous claimants. Drawing on differing cultural scripts as well as on improvised interplay, participants engaged in turn taking and intercultural translation of symbolic communication. Certain themes were ritualized redundantly, such as mutual exchange and reconciliation, but there also existed the more paradoxical copresence of seclusion and openness, closure and continuation.

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Travel Writers and Traveling Writers in Australasia

Responses to Travel Literatures and the Problem of Authenticity

Helen Bones

This article compares responses to travel writing and imaginative fiction about the settler colonies, in particular Australia and New Zealand, between 1870 and 1945—a time when distinctions between travel, mobility, and emigration were hard to pin down. Very little scholarship has shown an interest in what the subject society’s inhabitants thought of its portrayal, and what this can tell us about colonial and national identities. Australasian responses to works about Australasia, in the form of published reviews, were influenced by the knowledge and particular concerns of the reviewer and their own negotiations with identity. What mattered to readers and critics was the authenticity of the portrayal of the place, but this was not only related to whether the work claimed to be fiction or non-fiction. The perceived level of familiarity that the writer had with the area was the most important factor in determining whether the reception of a work was positive or negative.

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Managing Time and Making Space

Canadian Students' Motivations for Study in Australia

Heather Barnick

This article examines the ways in which Canadian students on an exchange or study abroad programme in Australia articulated the value of their experience in connection with time and, more particularly, time constraints. Where Canadian universities often promote study abroad programmes in connection with the global knowledge-based economy, students' desires to travel abroad were more often rooted in a desire to take 'time out' while remaining productive towards the completion of future goals. Students' narratives reveal a connection between time management, travel, and the formations of a class identity. Rather than analysing time strictly as a form of capital, however, insights are generated around time as practice, that is, how time becomes an important factor in students' continual negotiations of space, social relationships, and what could be called a 'lifetime itinerary'.

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Embodying Exile

Trauma and Collective Identities among East Timorese Refugees in Australia

Amanda Wise

Some of the more interesting and useful work on diasporic and transnational identities has emanated from scholars working in cultural studies and contemporary anthropology. However, with a few notable exceptions, little attention has been paid to the specific experiences of refugee diasporas, and in particular, to the role of trauma and embodiment in the creation of these ‘moral communities.’ Based on research with the East Timorese diaspora in Australia, this article looks at the performative dimensions (protests, church rituals, singing, and dancing) of the diaspora’s political campaign for East Timor’s independence. I consider how the bodily dimensions of this protest movement contributed to certain formations of identity, belonging, and exile, within the Timorese community. In particular, I explore how these performative strategies have created a context for ‘retraumatizing’ bodies and memories, channeling them into a political ‘community of suffering,’ in turn contributing to a heightened sense of the morality of an exilic identity among many Timorese.

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Crossing Divides

An Argument Catalogue of Submissions to the 2000 Australian Government Inquiry into the Education of Boys

Deborah Hartman

This article describes a study of a sample of submissions to an Australian government Inquiry into the Education of Boys, using a relatively new methodology for reviewing literature, called an argument catalogue. The study examines the usefulness of the methodology to an analysis of the complex field of boys’ education. The author argues that the argument catalogue approach offers a way of including and analysing all voices within the field, particularly the previously under-represented views of parents and practitioners and that despite complexities, there are commonalities that can be built on, which are critical to any positive change in this field.

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Introduction

Print Culture, Mobility, and the Pacific, 1920–1950

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

This special section considers the interconnections of print culture and mobility across the Pacific in the early twentieth century. The contributors explore how print culture was part of the practices, experiences, mediations, and representations of travel and mobility, and understand mobility in a number of ways: from the movement of people and texts across space and the mobility of ideas to the opportunities of social mobility through travel. The special section moves beyond studies of travel writing and the literary analysis of travel narratives by discussing a range of genres, by paying attention to readers and reception, and by focusing on actual mobility and its representation as well as the mediation between the two.

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Pushkar Sohoni

The domestication and use of animals is an integral part of the history of technology, as beasts were used to improve the efficiency of agricultural, military, and transportation activities. Individuals and social groups often had to be introduced along with animal technologies, as the domestication, breeding, training, and handling of animals was a culture that could not be immediately learned. In the age of European empires, several ethnic groups were imported along with the animals that they tended. This article highlights the role of humans as part of animal technologies, as an important anthropological component when technologies that involve animals are introduced to new settlements and areas. Using three case studies in which animal technologies from Asia were introduced to other parts of the world, it can be seen that humans are an essential and integral component of animal technologies.