Local education leader to speak on ‘creativity and difference’

Published 10 November 2009

dianneThe distinguished Armidale educator Dianne Roberts OAM will give this year’s Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture at the University of New England on Thursday 12 November.

Mrs Roberts (pictured here), who devoted almost 40 years of her life to the education of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children at Armidale’s Minimbah school, retired recently as Director of Minimbah Pre-School.

Mrs Roberts began her association with Minimbah as a volunteer mother in 1970, and served as cleaner, bus driver, education assistant and teacher, becoming Director of Minimbah Pre-School in 1987 and Principal of the Primary School in 1997. She holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UNE.

Under her leadership Minimbah, which is known to mean “place of learning”, has truly lived up to its name. Minimbah offers a culturally supportive learning environment for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, with a strong focus on Aboriginal culture.

In her lecture, titled “The challenge for educational research: educating for creativity and difference”, she will draw on the experience of Minimbah School in encouraging the richness of cultural diversity within the first years of early education. The free lecture this Thursday will be in the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, UNE, at 7.30 pm. Everyone is welcome.

Mrs Roberts was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in recognition of her dedication to Aboriginal children’s education. She has also received the NAIDOC Award for Education Initiatives, the NSW Children’s Services Award, and the Government of NSW Citizens Award. She has served on committees associated with the Department of Community Services, the State Education Policy Committee, and the State Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Advisory Group.

UNE established the Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture series to honour Frank Archibald, a revered member of the Armidale community, who died in 1975. He was renowned for his knowledge of – and interest in – all Aboriginal issues, particularly the education of his people. A descendant of the Archibald family, Mr Cyril Davis, will deliver the Welcome to Country and acknowledge other members of the Archibald family before Mrs Roberts’s lecture.