Webinar will explore Indigenous ‘cultural death literacy’

6 SEPTEMBER 2021

Webinar will explore Indigenous ‘cultural death literacy’

Charles Sturt University will present an online seminar to explore concepts that encourage understanding the past to move forward in positive ways.

  • ZOOM research seminar on Wednesday 8 September will provide cross-cultural models of support about life and death

Charles Sturt University will present an online seminar to explore concepts that encourage understanding the past to move forward in positive ways.

Visiting Indigenous Scholar Professor Lana Ka’opua from the University of Hawai’i will speak about one of her research areas, ‘Cultural death literacy, navigating the new normal: the breath of life and the breadth of death’.

Professor Ka’opua will be joined by co-presenter Dr Linda Annela Cole, Associate Professor at University of Nevada-Reno.

Associate Professor Susan Mlcek in the Charles Sturt School of Social Work and Arts and member of the Charles Sturt Institute for Land Water and Society (ILWS), along with colleagues Dr Monica Short, Ms Rohena Duncombe, and Mr Ben Iffland (Division Learning and Teaching) have organised this third visiting scholar event.

The focus of Professor Ka’opua’s practice is at the nexus of health-mental health.

In this webinar, Professor Ka’opua and Professor Cole will use the lens of ‘cultural death literacy’ to share concepts that potentiate success in navigating the breath of life and the breadth of death across diverse cultural contexts.

They will examine a Polynesian Elder wisdom, which encourages understanding the past to move forward in positive ways, and will discuss the cross-cultural practice of ‘learning to weave, weaving to learn’.

Citing international examples, the presentation will note that in our ‘new normal’, we continually witness the breadth of death owing to racism, violence, COVID-19, and environmental disasters exacerbated by social inattention.

That is, we encounter death and our personal losses and are challenged to find meanings and positive ways towards the new normal.

The special online webinar is on Wednesday 8 September starting at 2pm (AEST) with Ho’okupu, a traditional Indigenous gift-sharing ceremony, followed from 3pm to 5pm with the research seminar/presentation and discussion.

This presentation will be accessible via a ZOOM link and will be recorded.

“This Charles Sturt Visiting Scholar initiative promotes the sharing of Indigenous/First Nations knowledges,” Professor Mlcek said.

“It is another collaborative research opportunity to facilitate the partnering of Indigenous international scholars, with Australian First Nations Peoples, and the broader Charles Sturt University academic community, to promote tangible research outputs.

“In addition, this is an opportunity to enhance the University’s students’ experience of the wealth of knowledges to which they are exposed in these contemporary complex times, to foster transformative learning.”


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Associate Professor Susan Mlcek contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or news@csu.edu.au

Professor Lana Ka’opua, from the University of Hawai’i, is the a third Visiting Scholar to present a webinar through Charles Sturt University as part of an ‘Indigenous Knowledges Stream’ project, supported by the Charles Sturt Gulaay (Indigenous Australian Curriculum and Resources Team) and  Charles Sturt Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS). The project shares knowledges and understanding from First Nations Peoples, and has included Professor Cindy Blackstock from Canada, Professor Leonie Pihama from Aotearoa/New Zealand, and First Nations Australian Elders.


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