As a young girl Gabrielle Quakawoot remembers drawing circles in the sand with her grandmother, little did she know how valuable those patterns would be to rediscovering her culture and unlocking ancient knowledge.
Gabrielle is a local Indigenous woman who has founded The Art of String Theory which brings aboriginal dreaming and mathematics together through the ancient art of drawing string figures.
Art of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) follows Gabrielle to a remote indigenous community in north east Arnhem land to share her string theory at the ASTIMA (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Math Alliance) 2020 conference alongside experts in Indigenous STEM education.
Gabrielle intends to collect this ancient and Australian Indigenous knowledge and continue helping others rediscover their culture by creating an indigenous STEM symposium in collaboration with the University of Sunshine Coast, planned for late 2021.
BEHIND THE SCENES
BEHIND THE SCENES
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
As the oldest known civilisation on the planet, Indigenous Australians have a wealth of knowledge enriched by their history and culture. Young Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people face a constant tug of war between the modern world and their heritage. Art of STEM intends to bridge this gap and bring connection and knowledge where there was once disparity.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
To create a TV half hour documentary which showcases the ancient art of string theory and creates a bridge between this ancient knowledge and both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Gabrielle is an incredible storyteller and contains a wealth of knowledge that needs to be recorded. The missing link is a beautiful, engaging piece of media that can carry Gabrielle’s knowledge to the far reaches of the country. We wish to utilise a modern way of imparting the knowledge of Indigneous ancestors on younger generations.
We want young people to know about the wealth of knowledge held by Indegenous elders, and to use this documentary to pass on some of this knowledge. More generally we want the public to recognise non-western ideas of STEM and to realise that there are ancient roots to what we perceive as modern ideas.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
By creating a vessel for Indigenous youth to learn the ancient art of string theory, this documentary will give them the tools to reach out and get involved in Indigenous STEM education.
By convincing non-Indigenous youth of the presence of diverse voices in STEM education and research, we can begin to broaden their ideas of the scientific landscape.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Our subject, Gabrielle, has been invited to speak at the ASTIMA 2021 Conference, who have given their support of this documentary. We also have support from the University of the Sunshine Coast, who are working with Gabrielle to create a STEM symposium in 2021. These partnerships are allowing us to better communicate with wider audiences and allowing Gabrielle to reach a larger cross-section of the Indigenous community.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
1. Indigenous youth to reconnect with their culture and to seek out teachers of this ancient knowledge
2. Non-Indigenous people to start discussions with their peers about non-western ideas about and approaches to STEM. We hope that they can spread a more inclusive ideology around where our scientific knowledge comes from and how it is impacted by cultural and geographical factors.
3. All viewers to show their support for Indigenous STEM education through donating to organisations which provide this education to the community.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
We will see a shift in the public attitude towards STEM education and an understanding of the Indigenous roots of string theory.
We will see high attendance at Gabrielle's symposium later this year, and following that, more Indigenous youth engaging with their traditional education. We will also see an increase in funding for Indigenous STEM programs and research from government sources, donations and NGO's.