Dr Debra Dank: Pymble’s Inaugural Research Fellow
The Pymble Institute is very proud to welcome Dr Debra Dank as the College’s inaugural Research Fellow. Debra is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman, with her homeland being the Barkly Tablelands in the Northern Territory. Debra now lives on Gubbi Gubbi land on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. She has spent her life dedicated to education and has worked in primary, secondary and tertiary classrooms, consultancy and leadership roles. Debra achieved her PhD from Deakin University in semiotics and narrative therapy. This is where she explored her interests in how narrative is practiced in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Australia.
From her PhD, Debra wrote her book, We Come With This Place, which was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2023. The book was also the winner of four categories in the NSW Premiers Literary Awards, winner of the Australian Literature Society Gold medal and shortlisted in three categories of the Queensland Literary Awards. The Stella Prize judges commented, ‘Dank treats Country with agency and power, and Country is what holds her stories in place. She complicates many of our assumptions as readers, including what to expect of memoir as a form and where to direct our attention’ (Stella Prize, 2023, https://stella.org.au/prize/2023-prize/we-come-with-this-place/)
We are honoured that Debra will spend a week with Pymble students and staff in late October, 2023, and will help establish a research project into the post-school pathways of the College’s First Nations graduates. She will also work with student researchers in History, Society and Culture, Aboriginal Studies and in the Sokratis Student Research program; and students and staff in the Pymble Ethics Committee. Debra’s advice will also guide English staff in the selection of texts by First Nations authors and she will be an honorary guest at both the Pymble staff book club and the Educational Journal Club where her academic and literary work will be discussed and explored.
Invitations to the Education Journal Club event are available here.