FM20.2.11 — Engaging Indigenous Students in the Australian SKA Project

Date & Time

Aug 14th at 9:30 AM until 9:35 AM

Track

Presentations 

Location

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Author(s): Robert Hollow1, Lisa Harvey-Smith1, Kate Brooks1, Leonie Boddington1

Institution(s): 1. CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

The Murchison region of Western Australia is the site of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) that includes the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and soon the SKA. This is also traditional land of the Wajarri Yamatji people. As part of its development in the region CSIRO has extensive engagement with the Wajarri Yamatji people. This includes educational, cultural, training and commercial opportunities. We outline the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) between the Wajarri Yamatji and CSIRO, focusing on the educational and training aspects. Starting with "Wildflowers in the Sky" program in 2006 we have made extensive tours to all schools in the region providing teacher training and student engagement. More recently we have implemented a program where CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science staff visit the Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School, the closest school to the MRO, to mentor students. Students and staff from the school visit the MRO annually to explore the ASKAP telescope and see what is involved in its operation. An educational resource about ASKAP and astronomy that also incorporates traditional sky stories and local ecology is being trialled and developed. A cadetship and trainee program supporting Indigenous students has been implemented with the goal of providing employment opportunities and work skills in a diverse range of areas.