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Cultural Competence - Aboriginal Sydney

The University of Sydney via Coursera


This course explores some of the key themes and capabilities of cultural competence by exploring Aboriginal experiences and narratives of Sydney.

Australia was ‘claimed’ for the British Crown in 1770, by Captain James Cook, but the invasion began in earnest when the First Fleet of British arrived in 1788 and established a penal colony in Sydney.

As a consequence Sydney is a city rich in diverse pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary sites of significance to Aboriginal peoples. Too often though our perceptions about Aboriginal peoples consign them to an ancient past or perpetuates stereotypical imaginations that Aboriginal peoples live in remote communities (Hinkson, 2010).

At the heart of this MOOC is the theme that Sovereignty was never ceded and Sydney always was and always will be Aboriginal Land. Despite this the Aboriginal presence in the city is often invisible to non-Aboriginal eyes. This course aims to bring to light marginalised narratives of Aboriginal presence in this space.

To understand hidden and marginalised narratives and experiences it is necessary to develop cultural competence capabilities. Key elements of practicing cultural competence include being able to understand and interrogate context, which in the case of Sydney includes not only learning about the peoples, places and histories of Aboriginal Sydney but to also understand issues about how knowledge is created and how dominant narratives can exclude diverse knowledges and experiences.

Course learning outcomes

1. Develop knowledge about cultural competence capabilities.
2. Develop a deeper and multi-layered knowledge and understanding about Aboriginal peoples, cultures and places in Sydney.
3. Develop a greater understanding of how history, cultures and places are represented, contested and interpreted and how that relates to their own context.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that this course was developed on the land of the Gadigal Peoples of the Eora nation. We pay our respect to the Traditional Owners of this land and acknowledge that the land that the University of Sydney was built on has been a place of learning for many thousands of years.

Taught by

Gabrielle Russell-Mundine


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • Sylvia Amar completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    I didn't imagine aborigenal people resist to the englishmen. I didn't know all the pain and the suffering they endure, even now. I am happy to have this course, it informs me and makes me aware of the situation in Australia.
  • John Quincy is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    Thanks so much for organizing and presenting this course. I enjoyed reflecting upon my own culture and learned a lot as well about my past history and my extended "tribe's" history as well.

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