Arts-based service learning with First Peoples: Interlocking communities of practice
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Copyright © 2015 Engagement Australia. Reproduced with permission.
The core of service learning in post-secondary education is a range of partnerships between higher education institutions and communities, as co-generators of knowledge. This paper, reporting from a national arts-based service learning project involving three Australian universities, is concerned with communities of practice that influence stakeholder values and attitudes as well as enhancing the work readiness of pre-service teachers and university students in music, screen arts and journalism. It builds on seven years of practice and research in arts-based service learning with Aboriginal communities (2009-2015) and a nationally funded project that entailed service-learning programs at three Australia universities in partnership with Aboriginal communities in regional and metropolitan areas Australia (2011-2013). Drawing on the concept of Ubuntu, or humanness, the paper discusses the benefits and challenges of working as an interlocking community of practice. Within this community, inter-relationships underpinned members’ understandings of self as researchers, educators, learners and human beings, and as part of a network of inter-dependence through which our understandings of being human were troubled by our need to rethink our sense of community, culture and history.
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