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Centre for Creative Futures

Research

Why creative research?

Our centre supports research that mobilises creative practice as a mode of critical social inquiry. Creative practice can be used within research in many ways: as a mode of problem formulation, data collection, analysis, and dissemination. The opportunities for using creative methods within research are widely documented and acknowledged through the inclusion of creative practice as a strand/stream in many PhD programs in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts, including those at CDU.

At CCF we value creative research as a powerful means to contribute to social and environmental change. We believe, along with many others, that the accelerating challenges of our times urgently require new ways of thinking, knowing, and taking action. Our researchers are committed to developing new forms of scholarly practice that engage and understand communities in meaningful ways. We do this through developing agile and responsive approaches that combine transdisciplinary, creative and social sciences research methods and media. We seek to develop strong and enduring partnerships to deliverpositive social and environmental reach and impact.

We recognise the lands, skies, and waterways of this continent as always already owned and storied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, and acknowledge our responsibilities as researchers to find ways of working that remain accountable to the authority of these people and places. Our centre explicitly recognises the long lineages of creative and aesthetically-charged ways of knowing used and owned by First Nations peoples across this continent and internationally and the ongoing mobilisation of these practices within communities. Working creatively under First Nation’s guidance means different things across different projects; sometimes we work collaboratively with First Nation’s researchers and community members leading projects. Other times, our projects may be led by non- First Nation’s researchers, proceeding with an ethic of respectful relationality and careful attention to the knowledge traditions and authority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander landowners and communities.

Attuned to ethics of accountability and orientated to issues of social and environmental justice, our researchers combine scholarly investigation, artistic expression, and formal experimentation with a theoretically lively, interdisciplinary outlook. In these ways we ask new questions, create new kinds of scholarly connections, and build new collaborations and coalitions beyond the university.

Raŋipuy: a Yolngu digital art of renewal 

Raŋipuy project

The Yolŋu word raŋipuy means coming from the beach. This collaboration with Yolngu researchers seeks to enrich Australia's understanding of the beach as a critical zone of Indigenous history, identity, and environmental knowledge. Concerned that they face a devastating tipping point, participants seek to use co-creative methods to document endangered songs, stories, and beach environments. New knowledge will be produced about Indigenous observations of - and responses to - environmental threats. Outputs will include a website co-designed by ritual and digital experts. Multiple generations of Yolŋu families, and the wider Australian community will benefit as this project models new ways of caring for coastal futures. 

Chief Investigators: Paul Wunungmurra and Jennifer Deger 
Partner Investigator: Yangipuy Wanambi 
Partner Organisations: Goŋ-Däl Aboriginal Corporation; Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Aboriginal Corporation 

Caring for Cosmologies: Making Living Maps for West Miyarrka 

Caring for cosmologies

This project aims to develop a new kind of digital mapping to document endangered forms of knowledge along a coastline under threat from climate change. The project expects to draw on unique Yolŋu knowledge practices and representational systems - with traditional owners and managers guiding digital media experts, rangers and artists.

Expected outcomes include:

  1. Expanded Indigenous research capacities and digital expertise; and,
  2. Access to novel resources for a new generation of Indigenous leaders.

Benefits include:

  1. Enhanced intergenerational and intercultural knowledge transmission and negotiation;
  2. Methods adaptable to other Indigenous contexts;
  3. And greater national recognition of Indigenous seeing and caring for the country. 

Chief Investigators: Gawura Wanambi, Paul G. Wunungmurra, Joy Bulkanhawuy, Jennifer Deger, Michael Christie, Michaela Spencer, Benjamin Ward 

Partner Organisations: Goŋ-Däl Aboriginal Corporation; Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Aboriginal Corporation 

Curatorium 

Curatorium is a collective of anthropologists, artists, activists, makers and thinkers. Inspired by our own unruly collective connections, we host online gatherings and promote new forms of academic publishing in an attempt to create a space for those who work differently to find one another. Curatorium has been established to support media/art research in anthropology throughout Australia and to generate spaces for making, sharing and talking differently about research-creation in partnership with the Australian Anthropological Society and the Centre for Creative Futures, CDU. Follow us on Instagram @c_cltv. 

Editorial collective: Jennifer Deger, Victoria Baskin Coffey, Sebastian J. Lowe, Lisa Stefanoff