About the Fellowship – The Missing Peace

A literary analysis of the Australian representation surrounding the Indigenous and non-Indigenous colonial experience.

Timeline: June 2019-June 2020

Overview: A consideration of the textual representations relating to the colonial experience, this Project aims to bring together narratives from a variety of different writers to significantly inform English teaching practice.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is a cross curriculum priority (CCP) in Australian schools but teachers are often scrambling to find great resources to bring these perspectives to life.” – Copyright Agency CEO, Mr Adam Suckling.

The notion of something being missing is a key motif which drives much of our greatest Australian literature. Yet, one can only be aware of something being missing, when the knowledge of what should be there, arises. ‘The Missing Peace’ is a research based, Australian literary analysis project, which seeks to address the missing pieces (word play) relating to English teacher professional knowledge of Indigenous and non-Indigenous representations pertaining to the colonial experience.

The project is based around the English textual concepts of perspective, voice, representation, point of view, and narrative. These concepts work in conjunction to propel the driving question: How do we remember the Australian colonial experience?

Using a number of seminal Australian literary texts as a framework for analysis, this project will seek to extrapolate the representations relating to the colonial experience of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and use the English textual concepts to consider the intentional choices pertaining to the act of representation. Texts will be drawn from a variety of literary media (including non-fiction, historical fiction, picture books, poetry) with a clear focus on using this research to inform classroom practice.

The need to authentically address and engage with the Australian CCP of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is an area for growth and opportunity. By being able to embed important indigenous perspectives through texts, teachers will be more effectively equipped to discuss and explore significant cultural ideas and concepts, and how these have been portrayed through literature. The challenges and lack of teacher confidence surrounding accessible Indigenous literature means that Indigenous students within our classroom are currently underrepresented with regards to textual selection. An awareness that in the past, both peace and pieces have been missing, further reinforces the need for this research.

Proposed Meetings: Meetings, interviews, site visits, observations, research and data will be gathered from all eight Australian states and territories, in order to co-construct an overarching throughline for this project. Participants range from teachers, academics, historians, publishers, Indigenous elders, community volunteers, consultants, and authors.

Aims: This project is of a highly sensitive nature in terms of content and historical significance, and therefore propels the Fellowship’s aims to equip teachers with the professional knowledge needed in the English classroom, through challenging stereotypes. This includes consideration of best teaching practice, increasing the use of Australian literature, enabling our teachers (and ultimately students) to more fully engage with and access such texts,. The interconnectedness of this project in its aims seeks to genuinely bridge intercultural understanding, offering further pathways towards reconciliation and recognition.

Copyright Agency Reading Australia Fellowship

“The Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy will support an experienced teacher to undertake professional skills development and career-enhancing opportunities.

The Fellowship will enable teachers of English and literacy to undertake research in a designated area that will enhance their skills and abilities in the teaching of English and literacy to Australian students. Research projects may be undertaken overseas.

This Fellowship is an initiative of Reading Australia, the Copyright Agency’s online portal to connect teachers and students with Australian literature and which provides resources for teachers to teach these important works.”

For more information about the Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy, visit the Copyright Agency website.