Since 1990, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University has delivered the Ways of Working (WoW) program for non-indigenous Australians to gain a better understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture – and today it is wowing people.
The WoW program focused on increased understanding of the past (pre-colonisation), present (colonisation), and the future (progress towards recognitions and reconciliation).
It is understood that for many workshop participants it is the first time they have interacted with an Aboriginal person and discussed matters related to Aboriginal culture, racism, discrimination, intergenerational trauma and hopes for reconciliation.
Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies director Professor Marion Kickett said the training workshops are developed and taught by Aboriginal people.
“Non-indigenous participants completing this training are intended to have better insight to better teach Aboriginal students and engage and interact with Aboriginal colleagues, therefore creating a better environment to develop good, sustainable working relationships in future,” she said.
“WoW is developed and taught by Aboriginal people who are a diverse group of experienced educators with outstanding knowledge and lived experience in matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
“Structured learning activities aim to increase participants’ knowledge, understanding and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian history, cultural diversity and cultural issues, past and present, and how current social and political issues impact on the lives of Aboriginal Australians.
“WoW is based on key fundamentals of mutual respect, understanding and recognition of the past to allow a brighter future and stronger, enlightened and harmonious Australian society.”
Ms Kickett said the program has been so successful, that Curtin is now looking at offering the program to external organisations and workplaces who have expressed an interest in participating.