Spotlight-Creativity within making and seeing

Creativity Within Making and Seeing Within an Aboriginal Cultural Place and Spiritual Space

Professor Liz Cameron and Barbara Allen

How Long: 60 Mins


Creativity in making and seeing has always played a role within Aboriginal Australian societies as a part of daily life which enhances the relationship between connectivity and belonging within our environment. Our land is not owned, nor is seen as a commodity; but it is a sacred extension of self within a collective framework; entwined and embedded within our cultural practices and spiritual rituals.

This paper discusses cultural interpretations of the environment from an Aboriginal perspective through an interplay of visual literacies and narrative inquiries, appropriate to Indigenous pedagogies. Through illustrative transfer of knowledge, our objective is to highlight the relationship between the natural creative environment worlds and disseminate how this relates to traditional Aboriginal ideals. The focus of this paper is to illustrate how natural creativity within our environment is replicated through symbolic interpretation that has the capacity to tap into imaginative and intuitive life forces associated to cultural place and spiritual space.

Aboriginal symbolic creativity centres on circular imagery as it is representational to our core relationships that includes all living things. The circle is emblematic to spiritual concepts of relationships to self and others, deeply embedded within perceptions of sacredness to all living things including the cosmos. Symbolic imagery surrounding circular and spiral formations elucidates our philosophical comprehensions associated to evolving continuous rhythmical growth within our environment; it is argued to emulate timelessness, flow and balance. The visual use of circles and spirals also emphasises one’s owninner consciousness and hence plays an important roleto spiritual space within physical place.

Presenter Information

Professor Liz Cameron

Professor Liz Cameron is of Dharug Aboriginal decent from the Hawkesbury River area in NSW. Liz commenced her early career in nursing and later completed a Diploma in Fine Arts through NSW TAFE (1993), Post Graduate studies in Indigenous Social Health at Macquarie University (2008), and a PhD in Indigenous Social Health, Newcastle University (2005).

Professor Cameron has held various Indigenous senior leadership roles in both health, community based organisations and education. In 2010, Liz was nominated and awarded the National Indigenous Education Ambassador of Australia; in 2012 presented in Top Ten Women’s researchers at Macquarie University and 2013 awarded the National Indigenous staff scholarship awards.

Liz’s research interests include Indigenous land and sea management (Caring for Country), creativity within cultural form and function (creative making within traditional Aboriginal healing practices), Indigenous health (preventative social/emotional health) and is a practicing artist.

Liz is a Member of the Australian Medical Council: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Team; Deakin School of Medicine Advisory Board; Advisory Committee member – Weenthunga Health Network  and holds continued membership with various Indigenous organisations NIRAKN, NATSIAC and CATSIN.

Barbara Allen

Senior Lecturer of the Koorie Institute, Deakin University, VIC

Barbara Allen is a Kurnu Baakandji descendant from the Darling River area of New South Wales.

She is a Registered Nurse Division 1 with post graduate studies in Aged Care and Higher Education Learning and Teaching.

After graduation Barb spent several years working in Far North Victoria in the areas of district nursing, aged care, rehabilitation, medical, and surgical nursing, but felt that there was something missing, she wanted to give back to community and help others like herself.

Barb is a past graduate of the Institute of Koorie Education and two years ago she applied for a position at the Institute, back where she started, where she currently works as a nurse lecturer.

Outside of her nursing commitments she is the Chairperson of Toorale National Park, part of her traditional lands, and is actively involved in preserving Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, park management and the facilitation of Culture Camps back on her traditional country.

With both of her roles of equal important to her, she has learned to embrace both her traditional and western skills and knowledges to her benefit and over the past two years has presented at the World Archaeology Congress Conference (WAC) in Japan, the Australian Archaeological Association Conference (AAA) in Terrigal NSW, and World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in Canada.

Barb is passionate about the education, support, and the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians and this year enrolled in the Master of Nursing Practice so she can continue to add value and new knowledge to these areas with the goal of helping to “Close the Gap” in Indigenous health.