Issue 5 of the University's Future-Makers publication that brings attention to the fascinating research undertaken in a wide range of disciplines has been released. This issue features four research projects conducted by Institute for Culture and Society researchers and students.
Bhavya Chitranshi Stronger Together: Single Women revive Sustainable Farming
In 2013, Bhavya Chitranshi, a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Culture and Society, moved to Emaliguda in eastern India to immerse herself in the community of a Kondh Adivasi tribe. She aimed to spend a year researching and designing a project to support sustainable development within the community. There, she helped establish Eka Nari Sanghatan, a single women's collective which practices sustainable farming to boost single women's status and fight hunger.
"By adopting traditional, ecologically sensitive techniques, the Sanghathan is rejecting the industrialised, technology and profit-based systems introduced by the Green Revolution, where farmers were encouraged to use chemical fertilisers and to plant high-yielding and hybrid seed varieties and cash crops."
Kate Naidu Forging Cultural Understanding
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience for many students, which can help them acquire new skills. Every year, the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) sends students from Australia to spend a semester at a university in Indonesia. Kate Naidu is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural studies at Western and a former teacher of Bahasa Indonesia. Her research examines the intercultural learning process gained from students' study-abroad experiences and how it improves their communication and interaction skills
with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
"Naidu looked at which factors help build intercultural capacity during an in-country experience including formal educational aspects, such as university classes and private language tutoring, as well as informal aspects, such as relationships with locals and other ACICIS students, individual personality differences, new routines, and navigating unfamiliar local built environments, transport, and even climate. "
Associate Professor Tanya Notley Helping Young People Read the Finest Print
In 2017 and 2020, Dr. Tanya Notley from Institute for Culture and Society worked with a research team on a national survey of young Australians about their media literacy and engagement. The multi-institutional Australian Media Literary Alliance (AMLA) was formed in response to the survey findings, and throughout 2021 Western and the AMLA will co-develop a more comprehensive national media literacy strategy with news outlets and government bodies NGOs, and civil society organisations.
"The 2020 survey study found that only 36% of young Australians believe they know how to identify fake news stories. The complex news media landscape means critical news evaluation skills are essential, but it seems most young people are not developing these skills at school."
Anisha Madden Straight to the Source
In May 2021, a guide outlining how to support grassroots voices in global food policy was sent to the organisations associated with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security. Anisah Madden co-authored the guide as part of her Ph.D. through Institute for Culture and Society. The Guide to Facilitation in the Civil Society and Indigenous People's Mechanism gives insights into the methods of the Civil Society and Indigenous People Mechanism (CSM), which aims to amplify the voices of smallholder farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples, among others.
"Madden's guide was put together over two years through consultation with the CSM and interviews with 40 facilitators. In addition to outlining some basic principles of how to facilitate better and share power, the guide shows how the CSM channels working group contributions into text-based policy formats while keeping its mission's spirit alive."