Transcultural knowledge co-construction for social justice

Year: 2019

Author: Qi, Jing, Manathunga, Catherine, Bunda, Tracey, Singh, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

To reimagine a socially just doctoral education, a theoretical and methodological focus on knowledge inclusion is critical. A socially just doctoral education develops the value-based capabilities of doctoral candidates as future knowledge producers. This is significant when navigating a time of global conflicts and crisis that is further marginalising some migrant, refugee, culturally diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Doctoral education leverages its vantage point to question the norms that underpin the glonacal knowledge hierarchies associated with social inequality and exclusion. Reimagining a socially just doctoral education requires the development of research methodologies that encourage access, engagement, equity and inclusion of knowledges from marginalised communities.

Funded by the DFAT Australia-China Council and the RMIT Enabling Capabilities Platform for Social Change, this phase of our larger research project uses research-based modules and art exhibitions to practice and improve transcultural doctoral education. Workshops and time map exhibitions were delivered to doctoral supervisors and candidates in the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, Changchun and Beijing. Our workshop takes Australian and Chinese intellectual history and culture as a case study to invite participants to experiment with our creative research methodologies of time mapping and multilingual knowledge co-construction, whilst reconceptualising doctoral supervisory relationships using the Williams, Bunda, Claxton and MacKinnon (2017) global decolonisation praxis approach. This Indigenous Knowledge framework is based upon principles of respect, relationality, reciprocity and responsiveness and promotes intercultural, participatory and experiential approaches to produce transformative learning experiences. In this paper we report on thematic analysis of the workshop processes, focus groups and feedback surveys from doctoral supervisors and candidates. Our analysis highlights participants’ views of the potentials and challenges of practicing the research methodologies of time mapping and multilingual knowledge co-construction, as well as the possibilities and limitations of institutional and disciplinary structures to implement such methodologies.