Monash University
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How a Boon Wurrung tree inspired teachers and students to connect with Indigenous knowledge

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posted on 2021-12-14, 04:08 authored by Carolyn Briggs, Geraldine BurkeGeraldine Burke, Melissa Bedford, Charlotte Day, Ginette Pestana

Authors: N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs (AM), Geraldine Burke, Melissa Bedford, Charlotte Day, Ginette Pestana

This article, featured in Monash University's TeachSpace archive, shares a story of how we came to re-think taken for granted approaches to pre-service art education, by working with Indigenous knowledge as both a starting point and central concern. Our un-learning story is centred on the Boon Wurrung Tree, a culturally marked Tree that formed the impetus for The Tree School installation and exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, as conceived by artists Sandi Halel and Alessandro Petti. It was this Boon Wurrung Tree that connected our pre-service teachers together through partnership learning with primary school children and the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) and prompted learning across institutions. This Art-Reach experience saw us first come together to experience the Tree School exhibition at MUMA and then explore a Forest of Ideas workshop back at the Monash University studio where pre-service teachers facilitated the same children’s art experiences as inspired by cultural, sustainable and aesthetic knowledge about trees.


Supported by a VicHealth grant