Issue 5
Monday, 01 July 2019
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Associate Professors Anne Lowell and Läwurrpa Maypilama and her colleagues have been recognised for their “Growing up children in two worlds” website
Associate Professors Anne Lowell and Läwurrpa Maypilama and her colleagues have been recognised for their “Growing up children in two worlds” website

Major award for CDU Yolŋu research project

A CDU research project and one of its leading Indigenous researchers have received national recognition from the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.

Named in honour of its Patron, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG, the institute works to improve health and wellbeing through high-impact quality research, knowledge translation and by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers.

Northern Institute Associate Professor Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama, a senior Yolŋu researcher, has been recognised with the institute’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC Award.

This award recognises the depth of her research work over her career and the significant contribution she has made to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research community.

Dr Maypilama is currently working on a video-based research project, “Growing up children in two worlds”, which shares Yolŋu cultural strengths and priorities in early childhood with the world.

The project was also recognised by the Lowitja Institute, being awarded with Institute’s Tarrn Doon Nonin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Ethics Project Award.

The award recognises and upholds respectful ethical practice in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Tarrn doon nonin is the Woiwurrung language term for “trust”.

The study has been woven into a public record of complex cultural practices that are vital to the way Yolŋu families raise children in remote north-east Arnhem Land. Some of the research findings are available on the project website www.growingupyolngu.com.au

Dr Maypilama said one of the notable aspects of the project was how the research team was working alongside the community on the project.

“The elders are working alongside CDU people. When they do that it’s like the Yolŋu are guiding that project,” she said.  

Project co-leader Associate Professor Anne Lowell said the relationship with the community was seen as one of the strengths of the project.

“I think that was key about the award, that the project was guided by Yolŋu; it was doing something that Yolŋu had asked for and the majority of the team were Yolŋu researchers,” Dr Lowell said.

The collaborative six-year project, funded by the Lowitja Institute and CDU, began in response to Yolŋu women’s concerns about a lack of recognition of their cultural strengths and priorities in some early childhood programs rolled out in remote communities post-NT Intervention. 

The project team consists of: Anne Lowell, Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama, Lyn Fasoli, Rosemary Gundjarranbuy, Jenine Godwin-Thompson, Emily Armstrong, Yalŋarra Guyula, Megan Yunupiŋu, Abbey Guyula, Dwayne Gurruwiwi, Rose McEldowney and Jane Garrutju.