"Northern Australian Aspirations"

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Presenter:  Judith Lovell and John Guenther

Date: Aug 10, 2015

Time: 11:00am to 12:30pm

Contact person:  LEBA Research and Postgraduate Office
T: 08 8946 6156
E: lebaresearch@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Lecture Theatre Blue 5, Casuarina Campus, CDU

RSVP by Friday 7th August via email LEBAResearch@cdu.edu.au
**Waterfront Campus, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne & Sydney based colleagues interested in attending please request video conference in your RSVP

Lunch will be provided upon receipt of an RSVP


One challenge for Northern Australian development is that national sampling cannot adequately represent the drivers of economic participation for sparse populations in remote Australia. Through better defining the aspirations of a sample of those in Northern Australia, and making clear the opportunities that natural, cultural and knowledge capital offers, this paper compares those Northern aspirations with the key indicators for national policy, with an awareness of the Developing Northern Australia, white paper. We posit the need for (re)framing economic participation to aspirational and economic participation in Northern Australia.

We compare employment and industry participation data with findings of the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation (CRC-REP) and partner projects to ascertain which Northern Australian industry sectors have pathways inclusive of remote cultural, knowledge and environmental aspirations. The industry sectors we name as natural resource management; arts and cultural industries, education, research and evaluation.

This presentation acknowledges three of the key issues described in the academic literature. The first is the scale required to interpret the values and variables asserted through cultural and knowledge capital, natural and linguistic characteristics and property rights. The second is the burgeoning and valuable aspirations associated with social, cultural, natural, manufactured and knowledge capital of Northern Australia’s sparsely populated regions, and the third is the benefits flowing from these that can address Indigenous Disadvantage and inform the agenda for Developing the North (Australian Government 2013; Northern Territory Government 2013).


Judith Lovell is the project leader for Synthesis and Integration of Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation. She is a Senior Research Fellow with the Northern Institute, and has a multidisciplinary research experience with particular interest in arts-based and collaborative approaches to human geography. Judy’s work in Central Australia has come to focus on the reciprocity and everyday agency that underpin diverse forms of capital that are in play in remote Australia.

John Guenther is the Principal Research Leader for the Remote Education Systems project with the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation and Flinders University. John has worked as a researcher and evaluator in remote Australian contexts - particularly the Northern Territory - for the last 12 years on issues related to education, training, families and children, justice, child protection and domestic violence. His current role is focused on understanding how education systems can better respond tot he needs of students and families living in very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Beyond this, the Remote Education Systems project is looking for innovative models of schooling, teaching and learning that improve livelihood opportunities for students from remote communities.