This project aims to deepen our understanding of the role that ‘country’ plays in the context of life, healing and connection. By prioritising active listening and learning, we aim to cultivate a greater appreciation of the culture and knowledge of First Nations.
Reading Country is an engagement project that explores Indigenous culture and literature. The initiative is organised by allies at Melbourne Connect who are dedicated to enhancing reconciliation through reading and community engagement.
The first iteration of Reading Country was held during Reconciliation Week and explored Tony Birch’s The White Girl — winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize. Tony is the current Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at The University of Melbourne.
Reading Country provides a unique opportunity for University staff, students and members of our community – both allies and First Nations people alike – to come together and participate in a book group that explores and celebrates works written by Indigenous Australian authors.
To ensure broad participation multiple book clubs will run concurrently, and featured authors would be invited to attend a public event that book club members – and the general public – can attend.
Each book group will have a facilitator who is well-versed in engaging discussions, but we also encourage free-flowing discussion amongst book group members.
Whether you are interested in leading a book group or joining an existing one, Melbourne Connect will assist with all the administrative tasks so you can focus on reading and connecting with others. We welcome readers, facilitators, and organisers from all backgrounds who share our passion for Indigenous Australian literature. To learn more, sign up and we will be in touch with you shortly.
The purpose of Reading Country is to:
Reading Country values:
This project has been organised on the lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people, and with respect to their elders, and to all Aboriginal elders past and present.
Reading Country acknowledges that for reconciliation to occur, non-Indigenous Australians need to take responsibility for learning about Aboriginal culture and perspectives.
This project has received input from Indigenous colleagues at the University, as well as non-Indigenous staff and allies, to ensure that this project operates in an inclusive and respectful manner. We welcome your feedback to support the growth of this initiative.
We also acknowledge that this land was never ceded and that it has always been, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
Please email Steve Grimwade at Melbourne Connect.