Ms Gabrielle Fletcher
Indigenous New Career Academic
The Wollotuka Institute (Indigenous Cultural Studies)
- Phone: 02 4985 4567
Walking through her anatomy
A New Career Academic at Wollotuka, Gabrielle Fletcher is completing her Doctoral thesis which considers post-colonial theatres as fields of enactment, how the authentic Indigenous self is negotiated within them, and how these spaces may be inflected towards meaningful Indigenous place.
Gabrielle Fletcher is a Gundungurra woman from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and a descendent of The Gully People of Katoomba Falls.
Her approach is unique in that she is mobilising the two genres of creative nonfiction and fictocriticism to interrogate these post-colonial theatres.
A talented and intuitive teacher, Gabrielle brought to Wollotuka considerable experience within Indigenous higher education contexts from previous roles at Macquarie University, the University of Western Sydney, and Curtin University.
Referring to teaching as 'transformative' and 'porous', Gabrielle strives to embed respectful, authentic exchange and the naturalisation of community into the pedagogical landscape.
Drawing particularly from her experience working in an Aboriginal Land Council, Gabrielle is using a creative nonfiction approach as part of her methodology to explore authenticity and critical spatial theory within her thesis.
"There is the element of exposing things by hiding them in plain sight in creative nonfiction," Gabrielle says.
"If you look at the history of colonisation and Indigenous experience, for everything that is remembered there is something that is disremembered. For everything that is seen there is something that is unseen."
The genres of creative nonfiction and fictocriticism allow for the examination of ideas whilst ensuring the cultural safety of herself and those around her, Gabrielle explains.
She notes that her fictocritical approach to exploring Indigenous authenticity is an uncommon approach, as she steps outside of traditional formal or life story writing.
"My writing is not traditional manageable safe narrative. But it's an aperture to being able to say things and explore things and to engage socially, politically, culturally. To explore ideas of redaction."
"It's personal and cultural narrative as well, it's just a different approach."
Gabrielle's completed Doctoral thesis will contain not just creative work but also an expansive framework reflecting the way she choses to create, retell and present stories.
"I hope to contribute to people being able to tell their stories and be authentic in a culturally safe way. I am also seeking to pave the way for people to want to find not just my work but other people's work in a more embodied, sensorial way."
As with all her work, Gabrielle sees her impending thesis as an encounter rather than a meeting of reading and writing strategies.
"If I'm looking at authenticity within a space, I need to be authentic in terms of how I am engaging," she says.
"I'm not writing a map, but going underneath and inviting people to recognise my writing as form of Country. Anyone that engages with my work is actually moving within my anatomy, rather than skittling across surfaces."
THE FLOATING CORE
An intuitive and talented educator, Gabrielle often uses humour in the classroom.
"The fry pan across the head approach doesn't work. I used to do stand-up comedy, so I understand the power of humour as story, it can help students remember and engage."
Teaching into a language context course in 2013, Gabrielle was looking to reinforce to students the understanding that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language revitalisation and maintenance is community driven.
"I gathered a group of very strong cultural people together, including an Elder, professional staff and a couple of other academics," Gabrielle says.
"We talked about what cultural literacy was, and had these very rich and wonderful conversations about what it is to us to be Aboriginal, and we came up with this culturally informed tool."
Shaped by these discussions and the Wollotuka Cultural Standards Framework, CORE (Culturally Open Respectful Exchange) was born.
A floating conceptual tool, CORE forms the basis of a culturally informed toolkit in the making.
COMMUNITY IN THE CLASSROOM
Invoking the principles of CORE in one context, Gabrielle invited Elders and community members into the classroom to mark the students on their cultural literacy, creating a notable change in the student's motivations.
"Suddenly it moved from being an assessment worth a certain amount of marks, to a recognition of the importance of the community and the cultural gaze in the classroom," Gabrielle recalls.
"CORE is about collapsing boundaries and it relies on diversity – acknowledging all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as Knowledge Holders. There might be intersections in terms of histories and knowledges, but this framework does not homogenise."
Presenting the fruit of these discussions and resultant transformative effects in the classroom at several conferences, Gabrielle has often been asked to share just the cultural literacy tool. She is reluctant to do so.
"The cultural literacy tool is indivisible to the stories and processes that shaped it," she says.
"Because you have to understand that all of that story - my colleagues talking about it, the stories the students were telling in the classroom, the input from the community, that is all part of cultural literacy, not just the hardware or whatever you want to call it. It is holistic."
Upon completion of a fictocritical piece looking at the history of colonisation specific to the Blue Mountains in different vignettes, Gabrielle was asked to read the final movement.
"I found there was a lyricism to it and it lent itself to Spoken Word. Then as a result of that, I have become really interested in spoken word."
"It's a lyrical way of embodying life experience but I'm not a poet, I'm a terrible poet, so it's interesting," Gabrielle says, smiling.
Her interest in spoken word as a delivery method for stories has led her to seek a collaboration with the University of Newcastle School of Creative Arts.
Gabrielle believes the Wollotuka space, facilitates culturally informed performance and cultural practice in multiple forms.
"Wollotuka has a lot to contribute, from an Indigenous perspective and a very localised perspective, to ideas around cultural literacy and global citizenry."
Whether writing, performing, or teaching, the centering of Indigenous perspective, Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing, is pivotal to all of Gabrielle's work. She is also deeply interested in authenticity.
Consequently, Gabrielle's work explores the concepts of authenticity, identity, and selfhood.
It is clear that Gabrielle's own sense of self and sense of purpose is informed by her experience in the community.
"My experience in Aboriginal Community work really anchored me. Hearing Elders' stories, it echoes every day," she says.
Recounting the story of a community member who suffered particularly abhorrent treatment and long term trauma due to Assimilation policies in the last century, Gabrielle is at once making the hidden past visible, honouring the memory of the Community member and exposing her motivation.
"Her story is one little big story, in the words of Bachelard, 'a miniature immensity', I'll call it that. And that's what guides me everyday."
Gabrielle Lorraine Fletcher is a Gundungurra woman from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and is a descendent of The Gully People of Katoomba Falls. She has a background in Critical and Cultural Studies/Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing, and holds a Master of Social Science (Distinction) from the University of Newcastle and post-graduate qualifications from Curtin University of Technology, Perth.
She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. Her thesis considers bureaucratic theatres as fields of enactment, how the authentic Indigenous self is negotiated within them, and how these spaces may be inflected towards meaningful Indigenous place.
Gabrielle is employed as an Indigenous New Career Academic at The Wollotuka Institute. She has also taught at Macquarie University, the University of Western Sydney and Curtin University.
Prior to this, Gabrielle worked within Aboriginal Community organisations. This work has provided a significant grounding in Indigenous Knowledges, cultural engagement and lived experience that provides a deep and ongoing philosophical anchor for her teaching and research.
She has had her creative work published in Salt: International Journal of Poetry and Poetics and Cultural Studies Review.
Gabrielle would never claim to be anybody in particular. What she might suggest is that she is [some] body within context.Research Expertise
Gabrielle is currently co supervising one Honours student who is examining Aboriginal Women's narratives in the criminal justice system; and an MPhil Candidate whose research topic centres on Indigenous pedagogy. She is also completing her own Doctoral dissertation interrogating post-colonial theatres of redaction and Aboriginal self-hood, and continues to engage in other research projects on Indigenous pedagogy and cultural performance, including creative writing for publication.
Gabrielle has over eight years teaching experience within Indigenous higher education contexts, and has taught in a variety of programs across various coherencies.
Gabrielle has considerable experience in co-ordinating courses and units.
- Master of Social Science, University of Newcastle
- Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies, Curtin University of Technology
- Aboriginal Culture and Language
- Creative non-fiction/Ficto-criticism
- Critical/Creative Thinking
- Cultural Studies
- Education - Indigenous pedagogies
- Human Geography
- Identity and Self-hood
- Indigenous Pedagogies
- Indigenous Studies
- Spatial ethnography
- Aboriginal English, so described (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|130301||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education||20|
|200201||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies||70|
|190499||Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified||10|
|Year||Title / Rationale|
'Day of Provocation' - School of Humanities Graduate Conference
Organisation: Curtin University of Technology Description: (Conference - non-published)
|Year||Title / Rationale|
2014 Engagement Australia Conference - Engage and Innovate for Sustainability
Organisation: Engagement Australia
'On Collaboration, Anthropology Colloquim
Organisation: Macquarie University Description: With Dr. Jenifer Dieger and Dr. Gillian Cowlinshaw
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Journal article (3 outputs)
|2015||Fletcher GL, 'Self. Propagating | a strategy of encounter |', Cultural Studies Review, 21 220-231 (2015)|
|2009||Fletcher GL, 'jar', Philament, August, 2009 116-119 (2009)|
|2007||Fletcher GL, 'slight antrhopologies', Cultural Studies Review, 13 11-19 (2007)|
Conference (2 outputs)
Fletcher GL, 'Speaking from our CORE: Reviving Indigenous Community as Pedagogical Practice', Peer Reviewed Abstract, Wagga Wagga (2014) [E3]
Fletcher GL, 'The Floating CORE: Indigenous Community as Pedagogical Practice', Peer Reviewed Abstract, Wagga Wagga (2014) [E3]
Creative Work (2 outputs)
|2005||Fletcher GL, Messing with Jacob's Particulars, Australia, Oxford, England (2005)|
|2005||Fletcher GL, Culling the Episode, Australia, Oxford, England (2005)|
Ms Gabrielle Fletcher
Indigenous New Career Academic
The Wollotuka Institute
The Wollotuka Institute
Indigenous Cultural Studies
|Phone||02 4985 4567|
Callaghan, NSW 2308