Towards a Footscray Curriculum

Karen Charman, Mary Dixon, Robyn Bellingham,
Mathew Thomas, Jayson Cooper

Public Pedagogies Institute, 2017

“The knowledge of a community often goes unrecognized.”

It is however constantly being created and employed by businesses, educational institutions, community organisations and also by each individual member of that same community. It is commonly understood that each community has specialized knowledge and when we need to access that knowledge we go to that community. However, there are few sites of official recording of knowledge – museums and historical societies do this with a particular focus. Our educational institutions do this through Curriculum Documents. These latter are organized in Australia by State and also by national organisations. Our schools and their locality are measured against these curricula. The results of which are then use to name and describe communities. We sought to find the knowledge that comes from the community. This document is a record of the knowledge that is circulating now in 2017 in Footscray, Victoria. We decided to use the term curriculum as ‘curriculum documents’, as used by educational institutions, reflect a full body of knowledge. The authors recognize that this is not complete – the task of accessing all the knowledge of every individual and every place in Footscray is larger than our capabilities. The authors also recognize that this current knowledge is in a constant state of creation and recreation- it is a moving dynamic part of Footscray and changes with every move in the area. This document does bring to the surface a vast array of specialized and expert knowledge that comes from Footscray. Its breadth and depth inspires the ongoing work of recording local knowledge.

The knowledge that has been recorded here was not found or observed by the writers. We used three distinct approaches to assembling ‘Towards a Footscray Curriculum’. Firstly, community organisations were approached to participate in interviews about the knowledge they recognize as important knowledge in Footscray. These interviews were extended to public walk-in interviews- located in public spaces such as the library. The second approach was through a public event – the Footscray Pop Up School. This was held in Maddern Square in 2016. Community groups and individuals shared their knowledge through both performance and exhibition and passersby were invited to share their knowledge in interviews. Finally, public documents from Footscray have been examined for the knowledge they represent.

The ‘Towards a Footscray Curriculum’ booklet contains a brief description of each area of knowledge illustrated by photographs from Footscray.

Towards a Footscray Curriculum will be of interest to those who wish to know Footscray and to local schools and community organisations.

This booklet was created by a team of educational researchers from the Public Pedagogies Institute.

–  from Towards a Footscray Curriculum

Interconnecting public, learning and research