Learning regenerative cultures: Indigenous nations in higher education renewal in Australia

Sandra Wooltorton*, John Guenther, Anne Poelina, Mindy Blaise, Len Collard, Peta White

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    What is regenerative learning in Australian higher education? This paper addresses the intersecting crises of climate, species loss and injustice; often called a conceptual emergency. We tackle the problem of disciplinary compartmentalisation, preventing integration of important related concepts. The particular case is separation of the Australian Curriculum Cross-curriculum Priorities at school and university for teaching, learning and research purposes. We are concerned with two of the three: sustainability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. The project generates significant conceptual linkages, which strengthen sustainability with Indigenous histories and cultures. The linked concepts have the potential to re-centre Indigenous knowledge systems and knowledge holders in Australian higher education for sustainability. The interconnectedness facilitates learning of, for and through regenerative cultures, which are healing and wellbeing-oriented. Centring Indigenous histories, concepts and wisdom in sustainability education will reveal deeper meanings such as communicative ways of understanding worlds. These have multiple applications in teaching and learning, and improved outcomes in practice. Each case study presented in this paper utilises a decolonising, regenerative research method for answering research questions. The methods challenge Western, colonising power relationships that continue to act upon Indigenous lived experience; enable communicative relations with more than human worlds and are transformative. Together, they value experience, the collective, being creative, narrative, justice, ways of knowing and responding to sentient, animate places. In this paper, decolonising ways of working towards regenerative futures foreground Indigenous ways of knowing, being, valuing and doing, revealing Indigenous knowledge making for contemporary contexts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)639-651
    Number of pages13
    JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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