Schools Reconciliation Challenge

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is an annual writing and art program for young people across NSW and the ACT.


The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is one way for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia and contribute positively to Australian society, while meeting the objectives of the K-6 and 7-10 syllabus.

Every year, we ask students to create artworks and stories inspired by a theme, and to reflect on what reconciliation means to them.

Past Themes and Catalogues

2009-10 Reconciliation, the Road Ahead
2011 You Me Us
2012 Our Place
2013 Say Something!
2014 Our Journey
2015 Homegrown Heroes
2016 Always Was, Always Will Be

2017 Where’s Your Country?

2018 Our Voices, Our Future!

2019 Speaking and Listening from the Heart

2020 Caring for Country
2021 Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

Visit the Schools Reconciliation Website

 

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge Regional Tour


Each year, supported by National Trust NSW, the winning entries are assembled into an exhibition and tour NSW.
See the tour dates for the 2022 Regional Tour  of the 2021 Schools Reconciliation Challenge, Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever and the 2020 Caring for Country Finalists. These  artworks will be exhibited online via Questacon and on the lobby walls of International Towers at Barangaroo during National Reconciliation Week.

The 2021 Schools Reconciliation Challenge

Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

For more than 60,000 years First Nations People have looked up at the sky, to understand the world around them. Using their observations of the stars, planets, Moon, Sun and the atmosphere to predict weather changes & tides, to navigate on land & water and to plan food gathering, hunting, trading, ceremony as well as pass down stories through the generations.

In 2021, we celebrate the knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their relationships with the sky.

This year we invited schools to learn, share and participate!
By exploring the theme Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever students had the opportunity to:

  1. Learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships with the sky.
  2. Learn about the diversity of expert First Nations knowledge, ways to observe the sky, understanding the importance to culture and how this knowledge aids survival.
  3. Be inspired to look up and pass on knowledge in their communities.
  4. Participate in learning activities that explore seasonal calendars and foods, navigation, stories of the sky, ancient science, constellations, and ancient observations in art recorded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for thousands of years.
Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever Exhibition Launch

Over 15000 students participated in this year’s challenge, the biggest ever, however due to COVID-19, many schools could not finalise their entries. 475 students did complete the challenge and we thank them for their time and dedication.

The final selection includes 43 Artworks and written entries representing 28 schools and 157 students, living and learning on 16 Aboriginal Countries.

Schools ranged from Wonnarua Country, Wiljikali and Yuin Country and many on the lands of the Darug.

“Looking up and reading the skies was, and still is, an important way to understand, interact with and develop connection to Country and know our place in the universe. Understanding the story of Dinawan and the changing shape of the stars and the milky way tells us all about the life cycle of the emu, and therefore seasons for harvest and hunting, which as a farmer is as important now as it was thousands of years ago.”

“These stories, art and writing by 157 school students from 28 schools and 16 Aboriginal Countries show the depth of engagement that young people bring to reconciliation and desire to understand Australia’s true history” Joshua Gilbert (Worimi) Co-Chair Reconciliation NSW said.

“All Australian children deserve to know the stories of this Country. You can begin to learn about some of those stories by listening to young people who have learned from Elders and educators and are embracing this knowledge as part of their Australian identity.”

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