University of Melbourne

Wednesday, 8 March 2023 - 12:00pm

The Launch of The Australian Centre’s 2023 Critical Public Conversation webinar series coincides with International Women’s Day. This webinar will be hosted by four extraordinary women - Wurundjeri Elder and a fellow of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute Professor Aunty Dianne Kerr; Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung and Ngurai Illum Wurrung dancer and educator Stacie Piper; Yorta-Yorta and Quandamooka (Noonuccal Nation) Medical doctor and Public Health scholar Dr Ngaree Blow; and Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung songwriter/composer/academic Dr Lou Bennett AM.

Drawing on their experience as Traditional Owners, the panel will explore the importance of Country and what it means to them, particularly in this climate crisis. This special event will set the scene for the Centre’s 2023 research theme: Country, Climate, Colonialism.

If you have any support requirements in order to participate fully, please let us know via to ensure that we can arrange any reasonable adjustments.

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Professor Aunty Dianne Kerr OAM
Elder of the Wurundjeri Tribe and Professorial Fellow at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute.

Professor Aunty Dianne Kerr is a respected Elder of the Wurundjeri Tribe. She has devoted much of her life to her local community as a mentor and foster carer. She has worked in various fields, including child care, education, native title, Stolen Generation support, and other community work. Professor Aunty Di was recently appointed as a Fellow of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute at the University of Melbourne. She is working on a project to understand the impacts of Indigenous medicine and healing knowledge on infection management and antibiotic use.

Stacie Piper
Dancer and educator in the Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group
Stacie Piper is a proud Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai Illum Wurrung woman, a dancer and educator in the Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group. She volunteers on the Victorian NAIDOC Committee, on which she is the current Chairperson. Piper held the position of First Nations Curator for Yalingwa 2021 at TarraWarra Museum of Art where she curated the exhibition WILAM BIIK of South East Australia which will tour around Victoria throughout 2022. Stacie is currently completing her Masters in Social Change Leadership at Melbourne University as part of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity.

Dr Lou Bennett AM
Westpac Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts
Dr Lou Bennett AM is a former member of the internationally acclaimed trio Tiddas. Bennett is a consummate performer, playing audiences worldwide. Bennett is a prolific songwriter/composer and during her ten years with Tiddas (1990-2000) penned some of the group’s signature songs. Bennett’s work stretches over a vast area within the arts industry including her various roles as Performer, Songwriter, Musical and Artistic Director, Composer, Actor, Soundscape and Music Designer and Educator.

In 2006 Bennett was a co-founder of the iconic Black Arm Band and was an instrumental force in the company’s transformative journey from being a one-off ‘special project’, becoming an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governed, not for profit major performing arts company. Bennett completed her PhD by project at RMIT Melbourne in October 2015. Bennett’s dissertation discusses the importance and relevance of Aboriginal language retrieval, reclamation and regeneration through the medium of the Arts to community health and wellbeing and explores the importance of Indigenous epistemology, methodology and pedagogy in artistic and academic contexts. Bennett uses her own languages of Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung, extending to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages that can be retrieved, reclaimed and regenerated through songs, stories and performances.

Bennett received the McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the University of Melbourne and was inducted onto the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll for 2017. In 2018 Bennett accepted a member of the Order of Australia. Bennett received a Westpac Research Fellowship in 2021 and continues her research in Sovereign Language Rematriation through Song Pedagogy at the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Science. Bennett was ministerially appointed to the RISING board in 2020 and in 2022 was appointed as the Chair of the Australia Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Ngaree Blow
Snr Lecturer Medical Education Indigenous Health: Medical Education

Dr Ngaree Blow is a Yorta-Yorta and Quandamooka (Noonuccal Nation) woman currently completing her advanced training as a Public Health Physician. She works as the Director of First Nations Health for medical education at the University of Melbourne and dedicates part of her time to the COVID-19 response.

After working on outbreaks for the most part of 2020, she currently works in the COVID-19 Vaccination program for the Department of Health, Victoria. Dr Blow was most recently recognised for her work in 2020 when she was awarded the Australasian Faculty of Public health Medicine (AFPHM) Victorian Gerry Murphy Prize and was named one of 2019’s Australian Financial Review’s ’100 Women of Influence’. Dr Blow is also a board member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) and has been involved in many First Nations health, research and education roles.

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