Spirit of Place | Professional development for cultural awareness
Uncle Warren Taggart
Professional development sessions for cultural awareness are scheduled during the ‘Spirit of Place’ exhibition at Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre with Wonnarua Elder Uncle Warren Taggart. The scheduled one-hour sessions provide an opportunity for individuals, such as teaching staff, executive and support staff to gain knowledge about the Wonnarua people and the impressive Aboriginal sites in our region. The sessions are also open to the general public. There is no cost.
- The one-hour session will begin with a walk around the ‘Spirit of Place’ exhibition with Uncle Warren Taggart. He will discuss the art sites in the exhibited photographs and the work that he does to record them. (Approx. 25 minutes)
- Uncle Warren will then talk about the cultural objects from his collection that are on display in the exhibition. This will include information about the use of the objects and how they were made. (Approx. 15 minutes)
- Uncle Warren will talk about the projected works and answer questions – discussion is encouraged. (Approx. 20 minutes) Participants are welcome to stay to explore the exhibition further.
Uncle Warren Taggart is a Wonnarua elder and teacher of Aboriginal Culture. In 2021 he collaborated with photographers Carol Carter and Allan Chawner to publish ‘Spirit of Place’, a beautifully presented book, which documents important Aboriginal sites through a large section of Country – Wonnarua, Darkinung, Awabakal, Dharug – in the Hunter Region. This exhibition at Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre presents many of the fascinating photographic images that are included in ‘Spirit of Place’ alongside a selection of cultural objects – traditional tools and weapons – from Uncle Warren’s personal collection.
‘Spirit of Place’ began through Uncle Warren’s commitment to recording significant sites in the region. The 2021 book was dedicated to his father, Stan ‘Tommy’ Taggart, who passed on his knowledge of caves and rock engravings, his warmth, and his great love of Country. Uncle Warren’s collaboration with Carol and Allan emerged from his desire to show the sites, and the shared recognition that photographic images would allow the public to view Aboriginal art sites without harming them. Many of the sites are very fragile and protecting them is crucial.
Our elders would walk with us, sit with us and tell stories. We would listen, watch and learn in order to understand our culture, our lore. Every part of this traditional land of the Wonnarua people tells a story and through the eyes of ancestors and elders we can see it, we can feel it. Our land is a part of us and always will be. Our ancestors have walked this land for thousands of years and still walk it today. Our ancestors’ footprints are left behind so others can follow to keep our culture and dreamtime alive.
Uncle Warren Taggart
The primary objective of this professional development program is to provide knowledge and cultural awareness of the richness of belief and connection to country that is fundamental to inter-cultural understanding. The pathway to this understanding is through teachers and the importance of quality teaching is acknowledged in the ‘Closing the Gap’ report:
The quality of teaching is recognised as the largest ‘in-school’ influence on student achievement. Well trained, skilled and knowledgeable teachers who are able to engage with their students and the community are essential to lifting student outcomes. …It is important to provide a cultural framework based on local knowledge through elders.
Dr Josie Douglas, Wardaman woman and Executive Director of Policy Central Land Council, NT, states:
‘This is a critical time in history’ and ‘a lot of knowledge will go with this generation of elders’. To ‘carry culture forward’ is critical and teachers need to be culturally aware, have an understanding of protocols and work in collaboration with community leaders.
20 participants per session
Session 1: 27 June 2023, 10.30am – 11.30am
Session 2: 27 June 2023, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Session 3: 2 August 2023, 10.30am – 11.30am
Session 4: 2 August 2023, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Session 5: 16 August 2023, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Bookings via the Eventbrite link above