Events & Activities Report - 2006
Women in Agriculture Forum
Student Support Services facilitated a forum to encourage more senior school girls to consider careers in agriculture and aligned fields. The three groups of female keynote speakers work in management, HR, field work and advanced study within the agricultural industry.
Subject teachers and nominated students from regional state high schools were invited guests and Gatton students also attended.
Diversity Week Events at UQ Gatton
A panel including Ms Jackie Huggins (Deputy Director, ATSIS Unit), Tulasi Prasad Paudel (International postgraduate student), Ms Ann Stewart (Director, The Equity Office) and Dr Luke Leung (Lecturer School of Animal Studies) led a forum on the topic ‘Is Diversity at Gatton Campus a Myth?’
A performance by international students preceded the forum, which was followed by a free lunch on the Walkway provided by the UQGSA and the Gatton International Student Association.
Footprints on Funafuti – a Pacific Legacy
A visual presentation in UQ Ipswich Library throughout Diversity Week highlighted the society, culture and 20th century legacies of war and globalisation relating to the people of Tuvalu, a remote southwest Pacific nation affected by global warming and rising sea levels. The display included photographs, traditional Tuvaluan pieces, maps and plants and was precursor to a photographic exhibition launched at Customs House on 26 May, organised by School of Journalism students.
An open meeting was also held with Pacific Liaison Officers from UQ Ipswich to discuss general issues faced by Pacific nations and Pacific Islanders who settle in Australia,
The project helped to create a new level of awareness which may be built on to bring positive change by working with the Tuvaluan people.
Access to Higher Education for Migrants and Refugees
A forum organised on behalf of the UQ Ipswich Equity and Diversity Committee initiated discussion around access to higher education for potential students from migrant and refugee backgrounds with international qualifications. Topics included pathways to higher education; admissions processes, and UQ student support services.
The intensive process necessary to gain recognition for prior learning; English language acquisition and proficiency, and accessing information were issues raised by participants.
Migrants, refugees, UQ staff, representatives from Education Queensland, Catholic Education, Bremer TAFE, Department of Multicultural Affairs, Ipswich City Council and Anglicare Refugee and Migrant Services attended the forum. and useful connections were made amongst these groups.
International Food Festival
Students organised a festival with food and music from around the world.
Workshop on Cross Cultural Awareness
This workshop is regularly presented by Dr Juliana de Nooy for both academic and general staff, through TEDI. The growing number of students and staff from international, indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds means an increased need for staff awareness of cultural differences in the values and behaviour of the University population.
Equity and Diversity Competition
The Student Centre conducted a Diversity Week competition consisting of a short quiz designed to bring awareness to students regarding the varying cultures, sexual preferences and special needs of the UQ student community. Several small prizes were offered.
Diversity Week UQ Union Queer Collective Poster Campaign
Members of the UQ Union Queer Collective distributed posters to raise awareness of sexual and gender identity and diversity; promote a positive profile of the LGBTI/Q (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning) campus community; encourage acceptance; and provide information to students. The campaign complemented the UQ ALLY Program.
Strategic Indigenous Awareness
A hypothetical: to understand the present we must understand the past
CALDIA arranged for Grant Sarra to run a shortened half-day version of his hypothetical during Diversity Week. This was facilitated by the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and was well attended with over 50 staff and students.
The workshop gave participants an opportunity to briefly 'walk in the shoes' of Indigenous Australians over the past 200 years, providing insight to issues of displacement, social disruption and community fragmentation as a result of removal from land, ill health, premature death and incarceration.
Grant managed to provide participants with some understanding of the impact of dispossession and issues such as the stolen generation. His workshop was conducted in such a way as to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and in discussing such complex and highly emotive topics, he was remarkable in the way that while at times participants may have felt challenged, everyone came away having had a positive learning experience and no matter their previous level of knowledge of the issues, a greater depth of understanding of the work that needs to be undertaken by all parties to be able to walk forward together in equal partnership.
A profoundly moving and extraordinary morning!
Free BBQ for UQ Students
This event aimed to raise the profile of UQ Abroad and to promote studying abroad as a core component of studies at UQ. This provides students with an opportunity to interact with different cultures by immersing themselves in the host nation’s way of life for a semester or more and developing a deeper understanding of diversity.
UQ Abroad staff answered questions about exchange and study abroad options, with support from the UQ Abroad Students Club.
Environment and Culture Forum – why culture matters for environmental sustainability?
Students from several disciplines who are enrolled in LTCS2004 Environment and Asia, presented case studies on aspects of various Asian cultures, discussing significance in local, regional and global contexts.
Guest speaker was Dr Deborah Rose, Centre for Research and Environment Studies, Australian National University, whose work on indigenous knowledge has made a significant contribution to environmental studies.
The forum was well attended and facilitated interdisciplinary and cross cultural dialogue under the theme of global sustainability.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Staff – Issues and Needs
The Equity Office in conjunction with a research project by the NTEU conducted a forum to identify particular issues and needs that staff from non-English speaking backgrounds may have, and how the University and/or the NTEU might address these.
Participants suggested that opportunities to prepare for job interviews and practice interview techniques would be helpful. A collection of stories of arrival and survival in Australia and UQ – how to avoid/overcome difficulties and problems – could be made available to other CALD staff.
Australian/Muslim experience in the student/working world
Staff from student centres, libraries and student support services attended an informal lunch and discussion on the experience of being a Muslim in Australia, studying and working at UQ and the distinction between culture and the Muslim religion. The aim was to implement more effective ways of enhancing customer service and meeting the needs of different groups.
Culture and Conflict in Papua: Papua Cultural Forum
Organised by the University of Queensland Environment Collective and OxfamUQ, the discussion included representatives from the Australian West Papuan Association and the PNG Student Association about daily life, subsistence economies, and the problems of development which are creating situations of conflict in our region.
International Evening – School of Integrative Biology
This event, held annually since 2003, highlights the multicultural diversity of the School’s postgraduate student body and encourages interactions between overseas students and other members of the School. Staff and students were also encouraged to bring their families to the evening.
Participants gathered to share refreshments, then several students from various countries gave presentations with slideshows about aspects of their country and culture. This event has proved to be an excellent way to increase understanding and assist international students to feel connected to the life of the School.
The Anthropology Museum conducted tours of the collection and Antiquities Gallery, reflecting on the values volunteers bring to museum environments.
Australian Studies Day
A one-day symposium organised by the Australian Studies Centre was dedicated to showcasing and sharing research across the University. Australian Studies are interpreted broadly to include Australian history, literature, visual and performing arts, politics and policy, Indigenous issues, gender and sexuality, international relations and comparative studies.
The Keynote Speaker was Dr Katrina Schunkle from UTS, a member of the Trans/forming Cultures research group.
Celebrating Diversity in a Global Society – Launch and Forum
The United Nations Student Association collected personal experiences, artworks and reflections of students and staff illustrating the importance of diversity in an increasingly globalised world. The resulting publication was launched at a forum attended by 25-30 people. Contributors were invited to expand on their experiences, followed by an open discussion.
UNSA reported that this was a valuable and educational experience for students as well as a social event.
Multicultural Playtime Launch
The UQ Union Student Parents Group, the Women’s Area and Welfare Area combined to launch and publicise the Multicultural Playgroup which meets in the Family Room in the UQ Union Complex. The group provides invaluable support to student and staff parents, particularly those from multicultural backgrounds who may have fewer opportunities to socialise and establish support systems within the university community due to their family commitments.
The event included resources such as books, music and ‘dress-up clothes’, story telling, simple songs and dances to enable interactive sharing of cultures for both parents and their children. Parents were able to access information provided and talk informally about difficulties they faced.
Many of the families who came to this event now attend the group on a regular basis.
UQ Library Focus Groups – St Lucia, Gatton and Ipswich campuses
Forty-five international students participated in four focus groups. The students were of mixed gender, age, Faculty, and represented 19 different countries. The objective of the sessions was to gain feedback on the Library’s web page targeted at international students.
Although most of the students were unaware that this page existed, valuable insights were gained on how to improve and promote this and other University web pages to international students so they can access vital information. A full report will be presented to the Library Management Group, and outcomes of the recommendations forwarded to the Equity Office.
Vice-Chancellor's Equity and Diversity Awards Function
Diversity Week concluded with a cocktail function for staff, students and invited guests in the UQ Centre. The Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Awards for a group and individual were presented to the student group AIESEC and to Dr Sean Tweedy respectively. Mr Perry Cross was the inspirational guest speaker at this event.
A number of other events, although not planned specifically for Diversity Week, were relevant to its theme World of Difference:
Lecture: Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Political Community
Organised by the School of Political Science and International Studies, St Lucia.
Dr Gideon Baker presented a paper exploring the implications of the tension between universality and particularity for conceiving of future forms of cosmopolitan political community ‘beyond the state’.
Public Lecture: Fast forward to the past? The line in the sand from Iran to Iraq
Organised by the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, St Lucia.
A public lecture by Professor Ramesh Thakur, Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University (Tokyo) and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, examined the implications of the Iraq War for the UN. It demonstrated how the goals being pursued in Iraq have been undermined by the means, and argued that the liberation of the people from Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime was a collateral benefit amidst much damage to principles, institutions and relations.
Waku, Wantoks and Women: the Solomon Islands and RAMSI
A seminar by Associate Professor Clive Moore examined corruption in the marine and forestry industries in the Solomon Islands. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is intent on exposing corruption and enforcing accountability, but so far the emphasis is on seeking out corrupt indigenous officials, not tackling the foreign companies.
University Art Museum Exhibition: The Sonoda Project
The Sonoda project (11 May–9 July) is a collection of digital portraits of students and staff at Sonoda Women’s University in western Japan, where Brisbane artist Jill Barker was teaching for two years.
Democratic education: developing deliberative communities
Arts Ipswich held a book launch and public lecture by Dr Gilbert Burgh, co-author of ‘Ethics and the Community of Inquiry: Education for Deliberative Democracy’ (Thomson, 2006). This event provided a platform for discussion on the role of education reform in developing understanding of values in a pluralist society.