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Learning spaces: youth, literacy and new media in remote Indigenous Australia

Youth Aboriginal Australians Literacy Creative workforce Information technology Information technology Australia

This book showcases a range of ‘out-of-school’ youth learning contexts in remote Australia, to analyse the factors that enable positive learning and to provide some working principles for facilitating and supporting effective youth learning in the remote Indigenous context.

The Lifespan Learning and Literacy for Young Adults in Remote Indigenous Communities (2007–2010), later known as the ‘Youth Learning Project’, was jointly funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), The Australian National University (ANU) and The Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF). This participatory research project explored, documented and showcased the many ways in which Indigenous youth—aged between 16 and 25—are extending their learning, expanding their oral and written language skills, and embracing digital culture in community-based domains outside of institutional learning environments.

Jerry Schwab was the project’s Chief Investigator and Inge Kral was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow. Professor Emerita Shirley Brice Heath from Stanford University in the United States was an important collaborator and advisor to the project. Though focused broadly across a range of communities and organisations, an important feature of the project was the close collaboration that evolved between the researchers and around fifteen young people and organisation facilitators from key research sites in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

This book presents outcomes of the project, which asked three key questions:

  • how can early school leavers and disaffected young adults in remote communities be reengaged with learning;
  • how can literacy be acquired, maintained and transmitted outside school settings; and
  • how can learning and literacy be fostered across the lifespan?
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