Knowledge brokering at the Kimberley Ranger Forum

The 2017 Kimberley Ranger Forum, held by the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, was a perfect venue to learn about how Indigenous land managers share knowledge and learn from each other. KLC invited Hub researchers Dr Ro Hill and Emma Woodward from CSIRO to report on knowledge brokering at the Forum through conducting interviews and participating in workshops and discussions. This provides an important contribution to a project that’s investigating how knowledge brokering can empower Indigenous people in northern Australia to look after country.

Seven key messages about knowledge sharing were identified at the Forum:

  • Being on country, welcomed by Traditional Owners, following cultural protocols and reciprocity, creates the right environment for learning.
  • Rangers are empowered through social cohesion, collegiality and a sense of pride experienced at the Forum.
  • Cultural connections through dance, language, and family are vital to peoples’ sense of comfort and ability to grow and learn.
  • Peer-to-peer exchanges and one-on-one interactions allow for more targeted learning and follow up.
  • Exchanging common experiences, successes and grievances allows Rangers to identify what works and why in policy, program design and on-ground activities. It also supports women Rangers and land managers to be stronger and more confident in their own roles and decision-making.
  • Practical, hands-on activities particularly the realistic first-aid scenarios, building the tables, the smack-down on the beach and fixing machinery are great ways to conduct formal training.
  • Greater formal and informal interaction between the Rangers and non-Indigenous participants would foster trust, relationships and mutual learning.

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