Exploring collaborative research partnerships in remote Indigenous communities

Jane Page, Janet Scull, Megan L. Cock, Dorothy Gapany, Samantha Stewart, Marilyn Murukun, Rona Lawrence, Jonica Dhurrkay, Felicity Hayes, Verity Burarrwanga, Jessica Goveas, Leah Chynoweth, Michelle Callahan, Nuala Scannell, Lisa Murray, Wan Yi Lee, Patricia Eadie, Joseph Sparling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


‘Gularri (fresh water) has met the dhukun (metaphorically meaning confusion, doubt, misunderstandings or myths) and over the past three years become clear again, drinkable and nourishing.' This story of freshwater, contamination and nourishment was told during a yarning circle by a community member. It was used to describe their research journey in a collaborative research project that sought to create, enact and evaluate a ‘bridge’ that early childhood education curriculum supported at one end by the strengths and content of local culture, and at the other by a proven pedagogy and learning strategy from the broader culture. This chapter draws on our experiences of implementing 3a (Abecedarian Approach Australia) in Families as First Teachers (FaFT) playgroups in two remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory (NT), Australia and explores the contextual realities and relational aspects of researching family practices and young children’s early learning in remote communities. Specifically, we discuss the factors that shaped the implementation of the research and consider the approaches to grow research relationships of trust and collaboration. These partnerships within the research team (university and FaFT) enabled culturally appropriate adaptations and local language interpretations that ensured the strengths of Aboriginal identity, culture and language were upheld in the implementation of the programme. Insights from our efforts to collaboratively develop a culturally responsive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programme are discussed as design principles that might influence Indigenous early childhood educational research more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecisions and Dilemmas of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education
EditorsAnne Keary, Janet Scull, Susanne Garvis, Lucas Walsh
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000618785
ISBN (Print)9780367648510, 9780367648541
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Early Childhood Education

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