Course Title: Indigenous Fieldwork

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Indigenous Fieldwork

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: Dr. Peter Phipps

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2039

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5.20

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this experiential course you will be introduced to the practice of learning on country through fieldwork; 

You will engage in nyernila, the practice of ‘deep listening continuously’ on country; 

You will practice nyernila with Aboriginal Elders on country in Victoria (and possibly elsewhere); 

You will practice nyernila with the land itself and the living systems within it (especially birds, but also wind, water, plants and so on); 

You will practice nyernila with the murmurings of your own heart and mind, that is you will engage in deep self- reflection as part of the learning process; 

You will also hear first-hand accounts of the lived experience of settler-colonialism, institutional and structural violence, abuse and racism. 

While the emphasis of the course is on Indigenous community strength and processes of healing, students are advised that parts of this course can be confronting and possibly distressing for the reasons stated above 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development



Course Learning Outcomes  

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Better understand the cultural and political dimensions of working with and for Indigenous communities;
  2. Be able to critically investigate core assumptions of the settler-colonial project;
  3. Develop a deeper understanding of relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Victoria, Australia and globally;
  4. Understand and practice key aspects of fieldwork including deep listening, journal keeping, the importance of self reflection. 

Overview of Learning Activities

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

  • intensive fieldwork experiences; 
  • reading to extensively to orient yourself for an intensive cross-cultural experience; 
  • analyse and critically reflect on your experiences and the data that was gathered by keeping a fieldwork journal; 
  • write a report which analyses and critically reflects on your experiences and the data that was gathered. 

This is a challenging course that will at times be personally demanding and possibly confronting for some students. It involves camping outdoors and working intensively in a group. 


Overview of Learning Resources

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

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

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 Tasks 

Assessment Task 1: Short response to first fieldwork module 20%(500 words) CLO3, CLO4 

Assessment Task 2: Journal and Fieldwork practice 40% (1,600 words or equivalent) CLO1,CLO2,CLO3,CLO4 

Assessment Task 3: Essay, artefact or performance 40% (1,600 words or equivalent) This individual (optional collaborative) assessment is presented to the class as a key part of the course CLO1,CLO2,CLO3,CLO4 

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 Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.