Indigenous Education Research Network

Developing Aboriginal research capacity is a national policy priority. In the absence of Aboriginal academics at UNE and in our School to take leadership of this work, the Indigenous Education Research Network (IERN) seeks to align its research agenda to reflect Aboriginal-determined priorities by working in partnership with the Oorala Centre and an Aboriginal Advisory Group. Amongst other things, the IERN tries to lead a discussion on how the School of Education can address the need to embed Aboriginal perspectives across the Teacher Education curriculum. In alliance with others, our goal is to investigate, and change, the social and political practices (research, pedagogical, institutional) in which we are complicit and for which we are responsible, from the point of view of the marginalising/silencing of indigenous ways of knowing/ being/ doing. We support SOE staff and HDR students to develop and undertake research projects which will counter the current pattern of educational discrimination and dominant contribute to overcoming Indigenous education disadvantage.

The Network nominally includes 21 members of the School, plus several others including three Aboriginal Advisory Committee members, and two researchers (one of whom is Aboriginal) from other Schools. SOE members have varied experience in this field, with some having worked in it for many years, while others yet to commence an actual project. Therefore an important function of the network is capacity development.

Some ongoing projects include:

  • Aboriginal adult literacy campaign evaluation/longitudinal study – a partnership with the Literacy for Life Foundation and participating communities in western NSW (Project leaders: Associate Professor Bob Boughton & Adjunct Professor Jack Beetson). More details at
  • Reconstructing the Lower Southern Aranda/Wangkangurru Identity: Post-colonial approaches to indigenous knowledge and learning – a partnership between Dr Paul Reader and members of the Lower Southern Aranda/Wangkangurru communities in South Australia/NT
  • “Have we have met before?”:  Historical Consciousness and educational research in Aboriginal Communities – a UNE seed-funded project led by Dr Adele Nye, to employ an Aboriginal researcher to collect oral histories of UNE’s earliest efforts in Aboriginal community development and community education in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Study of retention of Aboriginal teacher education students – funded by the national project, More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers in Schools, this is a quantitative and qualitative exit survey, led by Drs Keita Takayama and Tiffany Jones.

Network members are currently supervising several HDR students researching topics in this field.

We welcome new members to our network, including prospective and current HDR students working in this area. We have a 'members only' Moodle site which includes lots of useful readings and resources, and more detail on network projects. We also maintain a database of previously-completed UNE research in our field. If you would like to join us, email the Network Coordinator, Associate Professor Bob Boughton on