Ngarrangarni: Gija Art and Country

Subject CUMC90034 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

June, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 30-May-2016
Teaching Period 20-Jun-2016 to 24-Jun-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 03-Jun-2016
Census Date 20-Jun-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 01-Jul-2016

This intensive subject will be taught over 5 days in June in East Kimberley, Western Australia.

This subject has a quota of 12. Students may provisionally enrol via the Student Portal but places are not guaranteed until selection is completed. You will be notified in writing by the Subject Coordinator if you are selected.

Initial selection priority will be given to students who have previously studied aspects of Indigenous knowledge, the materials and techniques of Indigenous art, or the cultural, ethical or technical considerations relevant to the conservation of Indigenous cultural materials. Where numbers of potential students within this identified cohort exceed places available, students who are investigating these topics as part of the Minor Thesis or Internship subject, or as part of officially endorsed engagement activities will be given priority. Where numbers of potential students in this second identified cohort exceed places available, final selection will be based on academic merit (relevant subjects only)

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours - 10 x 3.5 hour seminars on-country and 1 x 1 hour seminar prior to departure
Total Time Commitment:

170 Hours


Admission into MC-CULMC - Master of Cultural Material Conservation

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Understanding of the purpose and intent of the University of Melbourne Reconciliation Action Plan, and its Aboriginal Cultural Protocols Guidelines.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Robyn Sloggett


Robyn Sloggett


Marcelle Scott


Subject Overview:

This on-country subject takes place at Warmun Art Centre and on surrounding Gija land in the East Kimberley, Western Australia. It is taught by senior Gija knowledge holders as part of a collaborative two-way learning partnership with University of Melbourne cultural materials conservation staff. Gija lecturers will introduce students to the concept of Ngarranggarni; an expansive and complex one that defies simple definition or translation. The Ngarranggarni is also a framework that continues to encode, nourish and maintain Gija law and conceptions of social organisation, trade and exchange, kinship relations and family ties, custodianship of country and the practice of song, dance, spirituality, art, language and philosophy.

These big concepts are explored through song, dance, language, mungari (food) and the preparation and use of artistic materials, such as ochre, garliwoony (tree sap) and wood for carving.

In introducing Ngarranggarni the fundamental link between Gija culture, language, country and artistic expression is emphasised. Its specific relevance to ethical and technical decision making regarding the conservation, storage, exhibition and use of Gija cultural material is reinforced through discussion and practical sessions in which the source, location, physical characteristics and production methods of the ochres and binders used in Warmun artworks and their associated stories are studied.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • have gained an understanding and deep appreciation of Gija knowledge systems;
  • reflect on how cultural understanding informs conservation ethical practice; and
  • have gained an informed understanding of how to embed two-way knowledge and shared decision making frameworks into their professional practice.
  • A 2000 word or equivalent mixed media presentation due at the end of the fieldwork (40%)
  • A 3000 word reflective journal due at the end of the assessment period (60%)

Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 100% of classes in order to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available in the pre-teaching period.

Recommended Texts:

Additional texts may be recommended.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Student who successfully complete this subject should:

  • develop an appreciation of Gija knowledge as a demonstration of Australian Aboriginal knowledge. By learning from Gija elders and artists they will gain an understanding of the importance of country and the ways that cultural and artistic knowledge and techniques are informed by and reflect country; and
  • increase their reflective thinking skills and ability to articulate complex concepts through two-way knowledge sharing modes.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Cultural Material Conservation
150 Point Master of Cultural Material Conservation
200 Point Master of Cultural Material Conservation

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