Daniel Wilfred, Wägilak ceremonial leader and artist with the Australian Art Orchestra.

Conversations about classical Yolŋu and Warlpiri epistemologies

By Samuel Curkpatrick and Sarah Bacaller

The University of Divinity research project, Openings for collaborative theology through classical Yolŋu and Warlpiri epistemologies, has generated a range of productive outcomes. Beyond academic outputs like journal articles, we have produced a collection of around twenty short video clips available on the UD YouTube channel and ICTV (Indigenous Community TV). These represent conversations that have unfolded through our work and have been selected for theological thinkers in particular, who are curious about the intersection between Indigenous Australian epistemologies and their own theological explorations. Many of these conversations have been with our co-investigators Daniel Wilfred, a Wägilak ceremonial leader and artist with the Australian Art Orchestra, and Warlpiri elder and educator, Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu. We hope these clips will also be of value for theological students and teachers wanting to grow in their understanding of Australian Indigenous thought and performance, and in their approach to theology within the variegated contexts of contemporary Australian life.

Through our research, we have explored theology as a collaborative activity that shapes community and our understanding of what it means to live among others. In Australia, this requires nuanced understanding and engagement with ways of knowing and relating found in Indigenous law, ceremonial practices and stories. Collaborating with Indigenous thinkers and leaders means more than incorporating cultural perspectives and metaphors into an established curriculum or performing analogical translation from one culture to another: we have learnt that good collaborative work is an opening on something new, even as we come to a deeper appreciation of our own traditions and sense of autonomy in the process.

A more detailed overview of the research project and outputs can be found here: Community Research Report.

Media items include:


















Full recordings of our two symposia, ‘Wantarritarri, the Gift Road’ and ‘Cooking the Kangaroo’ are also available on the University of Divinity YouTube Channel.  






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