The Kungullanji Summer Research Program celebrated its fifth anniversary at the recent Kungullanji Indigenous Research Conference.
Kungullanji, an Aboriginal word of the Yugambeh language, means “to think”.
The program offers opportunities for Griffith University’s undergraduate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to think outside the box through research placements in a range of research centres, institutes and schools during the summer break.
Jennifer-Leigh Campbell, a PhD candidate with Griffith Sciences, is the co-founder and coordinator of the Kungullanji program.
“This successful program has supported more than 80 research placements, creating opportunities and pathways for many of these students who have then progressed to honours, masters and PhD programs,” she said.
“Also, the Kungullanji program has had a positive impact on student retention with 91.49% of Kungullanji’s participants remaining in their studies, compared with the 78.4% retention rate for all Griffith University domestic undergraduates.”
The conference showcased two Griffith Architecture students, Megan Westrop and Tahlia Steadman who are working with Associate Professor Leigh Shutter and Dr Henry Skates from the School of Engineering and Built Environment on a project to digitally record traditional culturally significant sites.
The students were both recipients of the 2018-19 Kungallanji Summer Research Scholarships.
This project (with relevant permissions) involves Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) scanning traditional gathering/sacred places and recreating these in augmented reality (AR) and/or virtual reality (VR).
The purpose is twofold. Firstly, this will create a permanent digital record of the traditional gathering/sacred places in case they somehow be damaged or lost in some form of catastrophe, and secondly, this will provide a platform to allow relevant people to visit these sites in a virtual/augmented realm in circumstances where it is not possible for them to physically visit (e.g. old age or sickness, or lack of resources) and thus create a connection with country.
If you would like to be involved as a future mentor/supervisor, please contact Jennifer Leigh-Campbell — [email protected].
For more details about the Kungullanji Program visit: griffith.edu.au/kungullanji