Course Title: Indigenous Fieldwork

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Indigenous Fieldwork

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban & Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2011

Course Coordinator: Dr. Peter Phipps

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2039

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 35.5

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The Indigenous community fieldwork course is an intensive immersion into contemporary international Indigenous issues through an intensive fieldwork visit to an Indigenous community in Australia or overseas. You will be introduced to key concepts and points of connecting (and distinguishing) the issues being dealt with by Indigenous people in their local, national and global contexts. You will have the opportunity to apply this introductory knowledge in their project field work, working intensively in teams assisting in the organization, recording and documentation of community-based research, and reflect analytically on your experiences.

Project field work in recent years has included the Garma Forum of Indigenous knowledge in Arnhem Land, Lake Condah Sustainable Development Project in Western Victoria, Tribal communities in South India, Naga people in North East India, Bali Aga in Bali and others.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • outline and discuss the cultural dimensions of working with and for Indigenous communities
  • Run and organise community-based research colloquia, conferences, fora and other public events in an Indigenous cultural setting
  • Conduct fieldwork including development of methodology, recorddocuments, store and report of data

Overview of Learning Activities

This is substantially a fieldwork course. You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities including:

  • lectures/seminars/workshops prior to fieldwork
  • reading to extensively to orient yourself for an intensive cross-cultural experience;
  • engaging in the planning and participation in a research ‘Forum’ at a fieldwork site; work very intensively in this role as part of a team in an exciting and challenging cross-cultural context recording and note-taking to produce a public report and transcripts of the event on-site during the Forum
  • participate in reflective seminars on your return
  • analyse and critically reflect on your experiences and the data that was gathered
  • write a report which analyses and critically reflects on your experiences and the data that was gathered


Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include: research and organisational assistance activities in support of the Forum and a reflective essay or report.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: