The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences invites you to a watch party featuring Marnee Shay and Ren Perkins sharing their research and practice experiences of how to implement strengths philosophies and principles into our everyday thinking and practices with the aim of re-shaping narratives around Indigenous education in Australia.
  • Date: Monday 1st August, 2022
  • Time: 5pm-6:30pm (AEST)
  • Location: Online Via Zoom


'Indigenous education' has been a term used and discussed in educational policy and practical terms and has all too often been framed and positioned as a problem to fix. Recent work shows that deficit discourse surrounding Aboriginality is intricately entwined across different sites of representation, including the mainstream news media and Indigenous education policy (Shay, Sarra and Woods, 2021; Vass, 2012).

There has been a shift to reject deficit thinking in response to addressing Indigenous education inequalities. In response to the limitations associated with the deficit-based approach, a growing body of research and evidence has shown support for the strength-based approach. From a strength-based perspective, engagement is focused on realising the existing capacities, knowledges and life-enhancing potential within people, processes and organisations (Shay & Oliver, 2021). This approach is in contrast to disengagement, which is so often focused on the deficits and lack of life potential within particular young people (te Riele 2009).

Strength-based, collaborative approaches to teaching and learning, and research, have demonstrated that young people who have been labelled as lacking in motivation, ability and social skills are capable of concentrated effort, attainment of goals, high levels of achievement, and social cooperation (Carrington, Bland & Brady, 2010). Strengths approaches in Indigenous education became prominent through the work of Aboriginal educator and academic, Prof Chris Sarra. His development of 'stronger smarter' philosophy (Sarra, 2011) provided educators, scholars and policy makers with a framework that systematically requires different thinking in relation to Indigenous education that start from a position of Indigeneity as a foundational strength.In this session, as two Aboriginal educators and researchers (Shay, Wagiman and Perkins, Quandamooka) we will share our research and practice experiences that have been significantly shaped by strengths approaches. We will provide practical examples of how to implement strengths philosophies and principles into our everyday thinking and practices with the aim of re-shaping narratives around Indigenous education in Australia.

Presenter Biography

Marnee Shay - Marnee’s maternal connections are to Wagiman Country (Daly River Region) but she was born in Brisbane and has community connections to Indigenous communities around South East Queensland. Marnee is currently an ARC DAATSIA Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education. Marnee has 20 years of experience as a youth worker, teacher and academic. Marnee’s current research is focused on co-design in Indigenous education policy, examining excellence in Indigenous education and she is an associate investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence ‘the Digital Child’.

Ren Perkins - Ren is a Quandamooka man with connections to the Wakka Wakka Nation. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Queensland. His research topic is; Learning from the lived experiences of Indigenous teachers who have remained in the profession. His positioning as an Aboriginal man who has worked in Indigenous education for over twenty years has contributed to conceptualising this presentation and contributing another Aboriginal voice to the literature in Indigenous education.  

About UQ NAIDOC Festival 

UQ celebrates NAIDOC Festival from 1-6 August across St Lucia, Herston and Gatton. 

Join us in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

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About HASS Career Seminar Series

The HASS Career Seminar Series invites HASS industry and alumni to participate in online panel discussions where students have the opportunity to ask questions and learn how the panel used their HASS degrees and skills to help them transition into careers after graduation.

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Online via Zoom.