Crafting safer spaces for teaching about race and intersectionality in Australian higher education contexts

Year: 2018

Author: Anderson, Leticia, Riley, Lynette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The adoption of neoliberal business models within the Australian higher education sector has driven a surge in recruitment of staff and students from culturally diverse and non-traditional western backgrounds, without facilitating the necessary concomitant changes in institutional culture. Providing a genuinely inclusive and ‘safe’ higher education experience in this context requires a paradigm shift in our learning and teaching cultures. Creating safe spaces in our classrooms, for both teachers and students, is a necessary building block in the transformation and decolonisation of higher education cultures in Australia and the development of cultural competency for all staff and graduates. This paper outlines different approaches to building safe spaces within the classroom, focusing on a case study of successful strategies for teaching and learning about race, racism and intersectionality employed by the authors in an undergraduate Indigenous Studies unit at the University of Sydney.