Funded by the Australian Research Council, Melbourne Climate Futures, and Stella
Climate change has been identified as the major crisis facing the world, and a core issue for young people.
Addressing the climate crisis in education requires interdisciplinary approaches that reflect the urgency and scope and scale of the situation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander narratives provide new perspectives on interactions with Country, climate change, facilitating reader engagement with Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. While Indigenous writers’ contributions to understandings of climate are well documented, and the power of story to impact on understandings of significant environmental issues is well established, Indigenous writing remains significantly underrepresented in Australia’s secondary school and tertiary curricula.
This Australian Research Council funded project brings into dialogue Indigenous authors, interdisciplinary scholars, English teachers and students through book clubs and public events.
Reading Climate: Indigenous literatures, school English and Sustainable Futures Symposium (January 2022):
This online symposium brought two of Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous authors and a leading geo-philosopher together to consider the power of interdisciplinary collaboration centred on the literary arts in our rapidly changing climate:
Ellen van Neerven
Professor Tony Birch
Professor Kathryn Yusoff
With discussions by Sandra Phillips and Larissa McLean Davies
Chaired by Sarah E. Truman
The symposium was attended by 180 delegates from around the world and hosted by ArtsFront.
Cross-Country Book Clubs with Secondary English Teachers (2022-2023)
With funding and support from Melbourne Climate Futures and Stella, The Literary Education Lab ran a series of online book clubs with teachers from four states across Australia. The book clubs focused on climate literatures and speculative fiction from Mykaela Saunders’ edited anthology This All Come Back Now.
The online book clubs included:
Close reading of Indigenous climate fictions by teachers and Reading Climate scholars (Sandra Phillips, Larissa McLean Davies, Melitta Hogarth, Clare Archer Lean, and Sarah E. Truman).
Workshops facilitated by Debra Dank.
Conversations and questions with authors Ellen Van Neerven and Mykaela Saunders.
Group discussions with the Reading Climate team.
Insights from the teachers in the project are being incorporated into teaching resources and provocations.
Reading Climate Symposium (2023) at University of Melbourne
In June 2023, the Literary Education Lab hosted an international symposium of interdisciplinary scholars to think through some of the project’s themes. Funded by Melbourne Climate Futures.
The symposium began with an evening public keynote by Professor Kathryn Yusoff. The talk focused on the arts and literatures as modes for interrupting the 'grammars of geology' and included a discussion by Chair of Literacies, Professor Jo Lo Bianco. The talk was attended by 120 interdisciplinary scholars and artists.
The symposium continued the following day with:
A morning keynote by Professor Sandra Muse Isaacs, a Cherokee scholar from Canada who spoke of Indigenous literatures of Turtle Island;
A ‘Geoethics for an anti-colonial earth’ workshop by Kathryn Yusoff based around a Natalie Diaz poem;
A round table with author Delcan Fry, Sandra Muse Isaacs, Sandra Phillips, and Larissa McLean Davies with host Astrid Edwards, centered on Indigenous literatures and the secondary English curriculum.
The second day was attended by 50 interdisciplinary scholars and artists.
"Sarah E. Truman is an Associate Professor at University of Melbourne whose research focuses on English literary education, cultural studies, and the arts. From 2022-2025, Dr. Truman is an ARC DECRA Fellow conducting a project focused on speculative and science fiction as methods for thinking critically about the world and proposing different futures on the themes of technology, climate, and social justice. Dr. Truman is co-director of the Literary Education Lab; co-Director of WalkingLab, and one half of Oblique Curiosities. Dr Truman’s most recent book is Feminist Speculations and the Practice of Research-Creation (Routledge, 2022)."
Sarah E. Truman
University of Melbourne
"Sandra Phillips is a member of the Wakka Wakka and Gooreng Gooreng nations of Queensland and Professor of Publishing and Communications and Associate Dean of Arts (Indigenous) at University of Melbourne. Prior to becoming an academic, Sandra had a successful career in Australian publishing and continues to be a widely recognised and valued leader in the Indigenous literary sector."
University of Queensland
"Larissa McLean Davies is Professor of Teacher Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Larissa McLean Davies leads large-scale Teacher Education research which mobilises partnerships with Government agencies, Education Departments, and not-for-profit organisations. She is the co-convenor of the Literary Education Lab (with Dr Sarah E. Truman), where she leads research which draws together the digital and environmental humanities, literary studies and education around core issues related to teacher professional learning in the context of justice and sustainability imperatives. Her co-authored book Literary Knowing and the Making of English Teachers was published by Routledge in 2022."
Larissa McLean Davies
University of Melbourne
"Clare Archer-Lean is Senior Lecturer in English and Deputy Higher Degree Research Coordinator in USC’s School of Business and Creative Industries. Clare's research is focused on analysis of animals and environment in various cultural artefacts, but also in applied, trans-disciplinary work. Clare's work also explores how Indigenous storytelling provides vital insights into sustainability. SandClare is a committee member of Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA) and on the editorial board for Social Alternatives and Animal Studies Journal."
Univeristy of the Sunshine Coast
"Melitta Hogarth is a Kamilaroi woman and is the Assistant Dean (Indigenous) and A/Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Prior to entering academia, Melitta taught for almost 20 years in all three sectors of the Queensland education system specifically in Secondary education."