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Associate Professor Nina Burridge


Dr Nina Burridge is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has been involved in tertiary education since 1991 in Education faculties at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney.  She joined UTS as a full time academic in 2005. Her main research interests and publications centre on Indigenous education; education for human rights and cultural diversity. She was the founding director of the Institute of Aboriginal Studies and Research at Macquarie University from 1997 – 1999. She Co-Director of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at UTS. She sees herself as an academic whose involvement in community organizations and social action groups informs her professional work in Education. Nina has held a number of community based positions including chairperson of the Don Chipp Foundation, board member of the Burdekin Association – a non-profit organisation working with homeless youth and she is involved with a number of local community groups dealing with social, political and cultural issues.


Nina is a member of a number of professional associations including the Australian College of Education and the Australian Association for Research in Education and hold various community based positions including Chairperson of the Don Chipp Foundation, Board member of the Burdekin Association, a member of the Community Advisory Committee Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and the Sanctuary Foundation at North Head.

Her work in the community and in politics has been recognized with several citations including an UTS Human Rights award for  "Sustained commitment to improving education and human rights for women in Australia and internationally'.

In 2007 she received the Edmund Rice Centre Human Rights Award for outstanding service in campaigning for human rights for 'Indigenous, Refugees and Asylum Seekers.'

As a sculptor she was also the  2010 Winner  of the Figurative prize for the Australian Sculptors Society

Image of Nina Burridge
Associate Professor, Teacher Education Program
Director, CCS - Cosmopolitan Civil Societies
Core Member, CCS - Cosmopolitan Civil Societies
Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy
+61 2 9514 3908
+61 2 9514 3939

Research Interests

Indigenous education including reconciliation studies; Human rights education; multiculturalism and cultural diversity in schools  and the development of professional learning communities; Current research projects include projects the mapping of human rights education within the school curriculum in Australian schools; women and human rights issues - including a small project on women's education in Afghanistan. She is also working on social impact strategies with the NGO sector.

Can supervise: Yes

Sociological and philosophical aspects of education, professional practice in secondary schools, human rights education, Indigenous education and Secondary history education.


Burridge, N., Whalan, F. & Vaughan, K. 2012, Indigenous Education. A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, 1st, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.
Burridge, N. 2009, Unfinished Business. Teaching for Reconciliation in Australian Schools, 1st, Lambert Academic Publishing,, Saarbrucken, Germany.
Book based on PhD thesis research on the policy of Reconciliation and education


Chodkiewicz, A.K. & Burridge, N. 2013, 'Addressing Diversity in Schools: Policies, Programs and Local Realities' in Jakubowicz, A. & Ho, C. (eds), 'For those who've come across the seas': Australian multicultural theory, policy and practice, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, pp. 210-222.
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Burridge, N. 2013, 'Promoting Cultural Diversity and Human Rights Education in Australian Schools:intersecting Pathways to Socially Just Communties.' in Hashemi, K. & Briskman, L. (eds), The NAM Yearbook of HUman Rights adn Cultural Diversity, NAM Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, Tehran, pp. 27-56.
Compilation of articles on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2012, 'An Historical Overview Of Aboriginal Education Policies in The Australian Context' in Burridge, N., Whalen, F. & Vaughan, K. (eds), Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 11-22.
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The history of the education of Aboriginal children in NSW since 1788 and in other states of Australia, covers periods of major policy shifts that until the late 1960s saw Aboriginal children suffer under a system of discrimination that variously separated, segregated, excluded, 'protected' or removed them from their families. It is important to revisit this history by highlighting aspects of these policy shifts as they provide the context for a deeper understanding of current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education programs and policies that seek to enable Indigenous children and young people to gain access to educational opportunities offered to all students.
Burridge, N. & Evans, C. 2012, 'Carmine School' in Burridge, N., Whalen, F. & Vaughan, K. (eds), Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 77-86.
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Carmine School is a Kindergarten- Year 12 school that caters for students with special medical needs from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is situated in Sydney's norther region. In a typical year up to 2,000 student study at the school. Students, mostly from regional and remote areas of New South Wales, attend the school for short periods of time, sometimes as short as three to four days. Students may return at intervals during the year depending on their special needs. Commonly a significant proportion of students are of Aboriginal descent. Classes were generally small and grouped into Stages (rather than years) as defined by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training.
Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A.K. & Whalan, F. 2012, 'A Study of Action Learning And Aboriginal Cultural Education' in Burridge, N., Whalen, F. & Vaughan, K. (eds), Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 33-46.
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A team of education researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia was commissioned to carry out a study of the Quality Teaching Indiginous Project. The schools' action learning projects aimed at providing teachers with professional learning about Aboriginal cultural knowledge and its application for culturally appropriate pedagogical practices in the classroom. The ultimate objective of the prroject was improvement in student engagement and learning with an emphasis on (English) literacy and numeracy.
Burridge, N. & Evans, C. 2012, 'Magenta Secondary School' in Burridge, N., Whalen, F. & Vaughan, K. (eds), Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 63-76.
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Magenta Secondary School is located on the northern shore of Sydney with predominantly Anglo-European neighbourhoods in comparison to other Sydney regions. A small, but significant number of Aborigional students are enrolled at the school. Some students are drawn from the local area with others coming from rural and regional New South Wales. Aborigional students attend the school for various periods of time, ranging from less than a term to several years.
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2012, 'The Journey Continues' in Burridge, N., Whalen, F. & Vaughan, K. (eds), Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 139-154.
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The Quality Teaching Indigenous Project school studies described in the previous chapters focused on improving teacher quality in the development and delivery of innovative curriculum strategies for teaching Aboriginal histories and cultures in Australian schools. This federally funded initiative, administered by the state education department impacted on many students (Aboriginal and non Aboriginal) and teachers in twenty schools as they engaged in a journey of learning about, and improving their understanding of, Aboriginal histories and culture.
Burridge, N. 2011, 'Reconciliation Matters' in Craven, R. (ed), Teaching Aboriginal Studies, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, Sydney, pp. 153-171.
A book based on a ARC funded project on Teaching the Teachers about Aboriginal History and Culture
Burridge, N. & Walker, R.A. 2010, 'Teaching within diversity' in Cantwell, R. & Scevak, J. (eds), An Academic Life: A Handbook for New Academics, ACER Press, Camberwell, Victoria, pp. 97-107.
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An Academic Life assists in the process of orienting new academics to the nature of academic life, particularly greater accountability in all aspects of academic life, growth in the numbers of academic staff, and increasing demands and expectations from the growing student population. This title addresses the key areas of academic work: teaching and learning; research, research training and publication; administration and community service; and the social and cultural aspects of academic life.
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2010, 'Action Against Racism and Discrimination: Progressing Human Rights in the Global Context' in Kirchschlager, P.G. & Kirchschlager, T. (eds), Menschenrechte und Digitalisierung des Alltags. 7. Internationales Menschenrechtsforum, Stampfli Verlag, Bern, pp. 361-370.
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Chapter deals with human rights education in the curriculum in Australia and the place of HR education in the global context.
Burridge, N. 2009, 'Education, Racism and Human Rights in a Globalised World - Perspectives from Australia. Printed in P. G. Kirchschleger/T. Kirchschleger (Hrsg.), Menschenrechte und Religionen. Internationales Menschenrechtsforum Luzern (IHRF)' in NA (ed), Menschenrechte und Religionen, Stampfli Verlag, Bern, pp. 413-419.
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Represents the discourse on human rights, discrimination and education in Australia


Burridge, N. 2011, 'Education for a Socially Just Society', the International conference on Democratic Citizenship and Human rights, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2011, 'Education for Human Development : A Human Rights Education Perspectives', International Education Research Conference, Conference Design Pty Ltd, Hobart, Tasmania.
Yerbury, H. & Burridge, N. 2010, 'Questions of Identity and Action among social entrepreneurs', Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Conference, Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Conference, Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Review, University of Technology, Sydney.
Paper outlines research conducted with social entrepreneurs documenting their motivations, how they see themselves and how they implement their ideas,visions.
Onyx, J., Burridge, N. & Baker, E. 2009, 'Different types of community networks', Australian Social Policy Conference, Australian Social Policy Conference, Social Policy Research Centre, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-10.
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Networks appear to be the basic ingredient of all community action. But what kind of networks, how formalized, for what purpose, and what specific impact are questions about which there is little understanding in either theory or practice. This paper explores three civil-society networks in Australia, which differ in structure, decision-making, and sharing. The research involved interviews of key informants in several organisations from each network. The first is a network with a ½head office½. After establishment of ½Job Network½, employment-service contracts were awarded to external agencies, and these agencies organised themselves into networks to jointly bid for contracts. These networks with formal structures proved difficult to manage. The second network is the Aged Care Alliance, which operates in a traditional civilsociety manner, with community organisations collaborating to mount a particular campaign, usually under the aegis of a peak body. This network has mounted several very successful campaigns. The third case describes a loose network, comprising a number of small, activist organisations operated mainly on-line and by young people. This type of network, although essential for the survival of these organisations, has no formalized structure. The three networks are treated as ideal types and are theorized, using complexity theory.
Burridge, N. 2007, '2007 Unfinished Business : Re-igniting the discussion on the role of education in the reconciliation process.', Australian Association for Research in Education 2007 Conference Papers, Australian Association for Research in Education, AARE, Fremantle, Australia, pp. 1-28.
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This paper discusses the role of education in building cross-cultural understandings between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities as part of Australias reconciliation process during the life of the Council for Aboriginal reconciliation and the subsequent downgrading of Indigenous issues from the national political and educational agenda after 2000.
Burridge, N. 2007, 'A Fair Go For All : Facing The Challenges of Ethno-Cultural Diversity in Australian Schools', Conference proceedings Living Together Education and Interultural dialogue, XIII World Congress of Comparative Education Societies, Organising Committee of World Congress of Comparative Education Societies and University of Sarjevo, Sarajevo.
Burridge, N. 2007, 'A Fair Go For All : Facing The Challenges of Ethno-Cultural Diversity in Australian Schools', Living Together Education and Intercultural Dialogue, XIII World Congress of Comparative Education Societies, Sarajevo,.
Paper on how schools and their related communities are facing the challenges on cultural diversity
Burridge, N. 2006, 'Meanings and Perspectives of Reconciliation in the Australian Socio-political Context', The Sixth International Conference on Diversity InOrganisations Communities and Nations, New Orleans.
Burridge, N. 2006, 'Dealing with Difference: Representations of Cultural Diversity in School-Community Settings', AARE The Aust Assoc for Educational Research, Adelaide Australia.
Burridge, N. 2003, 'Reconciliation movement in Australia', UNDAC Forum International Peace and Reconciliation, Leura NSW.

Journal articles

Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A. 2017, 'Educating teachers about human rights: building a rights based culture in Australian schools', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.
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A well-educated active citizenry is the primary aim of our education systems. An essential component of a well-educated citizenry in a civil society is its understanding of the value of human rights and what it means to live with dignity in a community, where rights and freedoms are protected. This paper uses evidence from international and national reports and programmes to argue that HRE should be an essential component of the curriculum in Australian schools. It draws on data from the first national cross-sectoral Australian study investigating the place of HRE in the school curriculum. There is a need for both pre-service and in-service teachers to have focused professional training, in order to better engage students to be critically aware of the importance of developing a human rights culture within a school; also, to adopt a transformative 'whole school approach linked to local, national, and global communities.
Burridge, N., Payne, A. & Rahmani, N. 2016, '"Education is as important for me a water is to sustaining life": perspectives in the higher education of women in Afghanistan.', Gender and Education, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 128-147.
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Progress in education in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban has been described as 'fragile, limited in reach, depth and uncertainty of sustainability' [UNICEF. 2013. Basic Education and Gender Equality: Afghanistan. United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. http://www.unicef.org/ afghanistan/education_2206.htm]. This is particularly true for Afghan women participating in higher education, within a culture that remains resistant to women's education. This article documents the views and attitudes of Afghan women who have sought to gain a higher education, within a context where only 5% of the Afghan population attends university, and less than 20% of university students are female [The World Bank. 2013. World Development Indicators: Poverty Headcount Ratio at National Poverty Lines. The World Bank Group. http://data.worldbank.org/country/afghanistan]. It is an attempt to listen to the voices of Afghan women to ascertain what they see as the best ways to improve their educational outcomes. Findings illustrate that while progress has been made in enabling a small percentage of women to pursue higher education, there are still significant and enduring obstacles for Afghan women seeking such a path.
Burridge, N. & Buchanan, J. 2016, 'Education for human rights: Opportunities and challenges arising from Australian Curriculum reform', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 41-51.
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Oguro, S.G. & Burridge, N. 2016, 'The Contribution of Non-government Organisations to Human Rights Education in Australian Schools', Third Sector Review, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 3-24.
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Non-government organisations (NGOs) can play an important role in educating about and advocating for human rights. This paper reports on findings from an investigation of the opportunities for teaching and learning about human rights in the Australian school curriculum, and in particular the opportunities for learning about human rights in schools through the work of Australian-based non-government and not-for-profit organisations. The research points to the value of strengthening partnerships between NGOs which specialise in the defence of human rights and school systems in order to broaden students' opportunities to learn about human rights. This paper argues for the recognition of the current work of NGOs in education systems in Australia, and for an extension of programs and project work around key human rights issues with young people and teachers.
Burridge, N., Buchanan, J.D. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2015, 'Human Rights and History Education: An Australian Study', The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 17-36.
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An Analysis of the coverage and teaching of human rights issues in the History curriculum in Australian schools. Includes a focus on the new Australian curriculum
Burridge, N. & Ozdowski, S. 2015, 'Developments in Human Rights Education in Australia', Human Rights Education in the Asia Pacific, vol. 5, pp. 147-166.
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Burridge, N., Chodkiewcz, A., Payne, A.M., Oguro, S., Varnham, S. & Buchanan, J. 2015, 'Human Rights Education in the Australian School Curriculum', Human Rights Education in Asia-Pacific, vol. 5, pp. 167-202.
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Australian education systems, at state and federal levels, have been undergoing major reforms to their governance structures and to the nature of their curriculum. At the same time over the last decade there has been a national conversation about our knowledge and understanding of human rights (NHRCC 2009). In this context, it is an opportune time to review the place of education for and about human rights within the school curriculum. The study reported on in this paper outlines and examines the findings of a nationwide investigation into the capacity of each state and territory school education system and their individual curricula to provide opportunities to educate and motivate school students about human rights. It also engages in a discussion of the curriculum reforms being introduced as a result of the national Australian curriculum framework and the extent to which it caters for human rights perspectives. Our data derive from four main sources: a review of the literature; input from roundtable discussions with participants involved in the advocacy for and the delivery of, human rights education in schools; analysis of curriculum and policy documents at the state, territory and national levels; and resources and technologies being used in the teaching of human rights in schools.
Oguro, S.G., Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A., Varnham, S., Payne, A.M. & Buchanan, J. 2014, 'Human Rights Education in the Australian School Curriculum', vol. 5, pp. 167-202.
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II n Australia a number of initiatives - the National Consultation on Human Rights (nhrccc, 2009) and the Australian Human Rights Framework (2010) - have acknowledged the importance of supporting education about human rights in schools. The Framework: encompasses a comprehensive suite of education initiatives to ensure all Australians are able to access information on human rights. This includes the development of human rights education programs for primary and secondary schools, the community and for the Commonwealth public sector (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010: 7). In an address to New South Wales (nsw) teachers in 2009, prominent human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson argued strongly for the importance of human rights education: …. they [human rights] serve to show that privilege is an anachronism, that dogma is destructive, that freedom is a birthright and discrimination is a wrong that should never be suffered (Robertson, 2009)
Edwards, M., Burridge, N. & Yerbury, H. 2013, 'Translating Public Policy: Enhancing the Applicability of Social Impact Techniques for Grassroots Community Groups', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 29-44.
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This paper reports on an exploratory action research study designed to understand how grassroots community organisations engage in the measurement and reporting of social impact and how they demonstrate their social impact to local government funders. Our findings suggest that the relationships between small non-profit organisations, the communities they serve or represent and their funders are increasingly driven from the top down formalised practices. Volunteer-run grassroots organisations can be marginalized in this process. Members may lack awareness of funders strategic approaches or the formalized auditing and control requirements of funders mean grassroots organisations lose capacity to define their programs and projects. We conclude that, to help counter this trend, tools and techniques which open up possibilities for dialogue between those holding power and those seeking support are essential
Yerbury, H. & Burridge, N. 2013, 'The Activist Professional: Advocacy and scholarship', Third Sector Review, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 119-134.
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This paper examines the activities and motivations of activist academics who choose to engage in teaching and research programs that are community-based and that, at their core, seek to contribute to the public good by building cohesive and vibrant civic societies. We discuss several cases studies that highlight the motivations of activist academics, exploring key questions of their life politics and their relationships with the academy. We consider how the work of activist academics may be at odds with the expectations of the academy, and consider the implications of this for an approach to higher education that aims to create decent world citizens
Onyx, J., Ho, C., Edwards, M., Burridge, N. & Yerbury, H. 2011, 'Scaling Up Connections: Everyday Cosmopolitanism, Complexity Theory & Social Capital', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 47-67.
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One of the key questions of contemporary society is how to foster and develop social interactions which will lead to a strong and inclusive society, one which accounts for the diversity inherent in local communities, whether that diversity be based on differences in interest or diversity in language and culture. The purpose of this paper is to examine three concepts which are used in the exploration of social interactions to suggest ways in which the interplay of these concepts might provide a richer understanding of social interactions. The three concepts are everyday cosmopolitanism, complexity theory and social capital. Each provides a partial approach to explanations of social interactions. Through focussing on social networking as a significant example of social interactions, we will demonstrate how the concepts can be linked and this linking brings potential for a clearer understanding of the processes through which this inclusive society may develop.
Yerbury, H. & Burridge, N. 2011, 'Questions of Identity and Action among Social Entrepreneurs', Third Sector Review, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 69-86.
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One of the key questions of social entrepreneurship is how one would recognise a social entrepreneur. This paper reports on a small-scale study conducted in Sydney, Australia, which aimed to determine whether the sociological perspective is an effective approach to understanding the identity of social entrepreneurs, and whether - as a result of using this perspective - new questions for research might emerge. Participants included a combination of young and more established social entrepreneurs and two staff members from organizations which seek to develop the skills of social entrepreneurship. The study is significant because it is one of the few empirical studies which focuses on social entrepreneurs from a sociological perspective, noting their views on identity and motivations. The findings suggest the importance of mentors, the merits of the planned activity and the support of networks. New research questions emerged on the importance of social resources in social entrepreneurial activities and on the paradoxical relationship between the perceptions of being ordinary and being extraordinary.
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2010, 'Challenges in addressing cultural diversity: Approaches in Sydney schools', International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 281-294.
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An essential challenge for school educators continues to be how to better represent and negotiate the complexities of classrooms and school communities that are increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse. Schools approach cultural diversity in various ways. Drawing on a qualitative study in a number of government schools, we report on three different approaches engaged by schools in three culturally diverse areas of Sydney. These approaches are often shaped by socio-cultural factors such as the nature of the school and its related community, the commitment of teachers, particularly the executive leadership and the localised issues that may impact on school and community programs. Findings suggest that it is time for school educators to renew their efforts - in a more strategic and focused way - to provide an integrated, resources rich, whole school approach to educating for cultural and linguistic diversity that builds relationships between our diverse communities and empowers all students to succeed at scho
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2010, 'Approaches to Human Rights Education: A Study of School Education', Learning and Teaching, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 21-37.
Article based on research on how schools are approaching Human Rights Education
Burridge, N. 2009, 'Perspectives on Reconciliation & Indigenous Rights', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Jo..., vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 111-128.
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This paper provides an overview of discourses of the movement for national reconciliation prevailing within the Australian socio-political context since the inception of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991, to the national apology delivered by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 13th February 2008. It provides an framework for the various discourses of reconciliation, by exploring and analysing the accrued meanings to such terms such as `genuine, substantive or `true reconciliation; the Howards Governments `practical reconciliation and the Rudd governments great attempt at `symbolic reconciliation in the national apology to Indigenous Australians. In the changing political context in Australia today this paper revisits the debates on reconciliation, and endeavours to locate the movement solidly within a human rights framework that includes first nation rights. This requires an examination of the roots of the reconciliation movement including community attitudes to reconciliation and the nature of the peoples movement as well as the differing perspectives of policy makers, politicians and of course, Indigenous peoples. It asks crucial questions about the progress of reconciliation and the type of reconciliation mainstream Australians will accept. In truth therefore, was the `National Apology a grand symbolic gesture by mainstream Australia to maintain the status quo and divert our eyes from the more searching questions of the `unfinished business of `substantive reconciliation which encompasses first nations rights for Indigenous peoples.
Burridge, N., Buchanan, J.D. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2009, 'Dealing with Difference: Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Jo..., vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 68-83.
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Australia continues to develop as a multicultural society with levels of immigration increasing significantly in recent years. The current financial turmoil, continuing threats from terrorism and environmental concerns, have all intensified the challenges of dealing with difference in our society. In response, schools continue to face the challenges of the impact of a range of different cultures, languages and religions among their student and school communities. How effectively schools deal with difference and how well they are supported in their endeavours to build culturally responsive classrooms is a perennial issue for policy makers, teachers and teacher educators. A major challenge for teachers in particular, is to at a minimum, understand cultural differences as they manifest in their particular school settings. Also to draw on approaches that support student learning in culturally appropriate ways so to assist them to better realise their full potential. In this paper we will consider cultural diversity in the context of current school policies, and highlight a number of frameworks for addressing cultural diversity in the classroom. We draw on the findings from a recent qualitative study of representations of cultural diversity in a number of Sydney schools to discuss the need for greater resource and policy support for progressive and innovative teaching approaches that will support the development of inclusive communities.
Burridge, N. 2007, 'Meanings and Perspectives of Reconciliation in the Australian Socio-political Context', The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 69-78.
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The policy of national reconciliation between Indigenous and non Indigenous peoples has been on the social and political agenda for decades, yet progress on this issue of Australians unfinished business, seems to have stalled in the last few years. This paper seeks to map the various interpretations and meanings of reconciliation in the Australian sociopolitical context, from the creation of the Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991, to the controversies emerging from the cultural wars history debates of the last few years. It provides an framework for the various discourses of Reconciliation, by exploring and analysing the accrued meanings to such terms such as genuine or true reconciliation symbolic reconciliation and practical Reconciliation a term used extensively under the Prime Ministership of John Howard. In the current political context in Australia is reconciliation no more than a normative discourse a symbolic gesture by mainstream Australia to maintain the status quo and divert our eyes from the more searching questions of the unfinished business of substantive reconciliation such as the issue of a treaty and just compensations for past injustices for Aboriginal people. This paper suggests that the journey towards reconciliation between black and white Australians is convoluted and complex. It is mired with political and social agendas which are inextricably linked with the national consciousness, with Australias sense of self, the various views and interpretations of its history, and its multiple national identities. In reality, given the lack of national will to address the substantive issues of reconciliation, the journey still has many a path to tread.
Burridge, N. 2006, 'Meanings of Reconciliation in the School Context', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 68-77.
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This paper draws on findings from a major research project conducted between 1998 and 2000 on meanings of reconciliation in the school education sector. Using data collected from surveys and drawing from the community context in which schools exist, it explores and analyses meanings of reconciliation within school communities when the discourse of what constitutes reconciliation was at its peak. Survey responses were used to map the level of support for reconciliation and to identify what barriers existed to the teaching of reconciliation in schools. Responses were categorised into various themes which defined the type of meaning respondents had accrued to reconciliation. The overwhelming impression from this research is that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people aspire to a level of harmonious co-existence; what is less clear is the direction on how this can be achieved. There is a great level of support for reconciliation within the education community with almost no responses being overtly negative. Many of the comments can be seen as reflecting soft reconciliation perspectives. A prevailing theme of this research is that the harder issues of reconciliation are being ignored in favour of symbolic representations. What perhaps best distinguished the survey comments from the responses from the general community was the greater desire amongst the education sector for equity-based solutions and the need to redress past injustices through social justice action. There was a greater understanding of the link between past dispossession and current disadvantage and this required action through specific programmes, and education was seen as a major part of this. Given the current sociopolitical context, anecdotal indications suggest that reconciliation may reflect wider community attitudes and may be off the agenda in schools, except within the narrow parameters of Department of Education requirements for activities or celebrations during NAIDOC or Reconciliation weeks.

Non traditional outputs

Burridge, N., 'contemplation', Sculptors Society Exhibition Darling Harbour 2nd August ot 4th Sept 2010, Sculptors Society, Darling Harbour, Sydney 2nd August ot 4th Sept 2010.
Bronze figurative sculpture
Burridge, N., 'Skin: Touching the Void', Darling Park Exhibition, The Sculptors Society, Darling Park Building.
Research Background and Field It is well known that all of us have identity markers in defining 'self' and how that 'self' relates to the context in which we exist. However there can be events in one's life where these markers are challenged. Where your portrayal of self in a particular mode is questioned and you have re-shape that identity and come to terms with that re-shaping emotionally. This work is a depiction of a journey of healing - through which the self, although damaged by events has to re-emerge and become resilient. Research contribution and Innovation Skin is a mix media piece which combines the sculptor's skills of working with limestone with a realistic portrayal of body shapes through life sculpture. The Piece is representative of how through art one can turn a negative experience into a positive one, celebrating and enhancing the positive in life's experiences. The implanting of the hands in a womb like structure suggest in the first instance a cocooning of the experience while at the same time the placement of the hands suggest a re-emergence from the depths. The Piece tells a story of survival and resilience. It is art as therapy a theme that should be explored further in research. Innovation lies in the juxtaposition of a life sculptural form ie the hands within a the carved limestone in a realistic and almost functional way. The piece was selected to be shown at the Sculptors Society Exhibition in Darling Park, Sydney August 2012


Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A.K., Payne, A., Oguro, S.G., Varnham, S. & Buchanan, J.D. UTS: CCS 2013, Human rights education in the school curriculum, pp. 3-75, Australia.
Study funded by Australian Attorney-General's Department through the Human Rights Education Framework Grants Program
Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A.K., Payne, A., Oguro, S.G., Varnham, S. & buchanan, J. UTS Publishing Service 2013, Human Rights Education in the School Curriculum, pp. 1-75, Broadway, Sydney.
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Human Rights Education centres; Professional Teachers Associations; Australian Human Rights Commission
Edwards, M., Burridge, N. & Yerbury, H. 2012, What you do Matters: Demostrate your Community Impact, pp. 1-30.
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A 'tool kit' for small grass roots organisations seeking to report their social impact to their funding organisations
Burridge, N., Riordan, G.P., Aubusson, P.J., Evans, C., Vaughan, K., Chodkiewicz, A.K. & Kenney, S.M. University of Technology, Sydney 2009, Evaluation Study of professional learning on teacher awareness of Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and its impact on Teaching, pp. 1-109, Sydney, Australia.
Evaluation of quality teaching Indigenous programs in selected schools
Burridge, N. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. UTS Printing Services 2008, Representations of cultural diversity in school and community settings., pp. 1-55, Sydney.
This research project uses a qualitative case study approach to investigate how a small group of schools and their related communities are addressing cultural diversity issues within the current context of major community debates about national identity, immigration and ethnicity. The schools are situated in different geographic areas of Sydney and have different cultural compositions. Two are culturally diverse while two are situated in culturally homogenous communities. The project examines what models of practice these schools are implementing in their school programs and policies in addressing issues of cultural diversity and community cohesion and place them within the various discourses on multiculturalism. Investigations centre on the connection between schools and their local communities in exercising leadership to achieve a socially cohesive educational environment for students and to how best extend this in the local community. It analyses student and teacher understandings of cultural diversity issues and their manifestations in the classroom as well as community attitudes to the cultural diversification of their neighbourhoods.