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This was an exam question. 

For weeks we discussed the ideas and ideals – the philosophies – of numerous people. And the possible links between them. And at the end all I wanted was to see students weave together three or four or even five of their favourites in a cool and meaningful way and make a statement from it.

It was a chance to chase first order intellectual expression – weave an intricate and personal tapestry – built on the ideas of others and therefore an example of referencing and respect – but also a work that brought something new to the table. 

The approach came from numerous places:

  • I first heard the phrase ‘intricate tapestry’ in an online panel discussion hosted by Griffith Review titled, ‘Hey Utopia’ 1 back in 2021 – but had been playing with the concept for a while.
  • In 2022 I stumbled across a set of kids-sized handprints with the Australian Aboriginal Flag finger-painted in the middle2 at my local beachside skatepark.
  • Around the same time I read in ‘Sand Talk’ 3 that Australian Aboriginal peoples often encode knowledge in their hands, “in every finger knuckle and crease” and that the “wisdom lies in the connections”.
  • In 2023 I undertook an Indigenous Champion Service Role and had also put up my hand to incorporate a First People’s Perspectives learning objective into specific courses.

The featured image is from a workshop. Prior to the exam. We quickly ran through every key player we had discussed and attempted to summarise their main ideas in one or two words. Everyone got a piece of string. And the chance to link / weave together five references and take a shot at what they may say with them.

I gave them the following example: Ruha Benjamin (refashioning) + Bayo Akomalafe (human centrality) + H. Gunaratana Mahathera (mindfulness) + Aldous Huxley (perception) + Padraig O’Tuama (courage). And with those five I wanted to say something about empathy (so = Empathy). This is what I said – in a piece I wrote for SoFi Zine back in 2020 titled, ‘Beyond People’. 

At the end of the workshop I proposed the idea that people are intricate tapestries too. And that in the context of my teaching approach I am the end result of every lecturer – or teacher of any form – who ever had any impact on me. I had been reading Bob Dylan’s autobiography titled, ‘Chronicles: Volume One’ 4 (Dad had given it to me). His writing is often rolling stream of consciousness style reflection. Do you know who Bob Dylan is?

  • Woody Guthrie + Ray + Dave Van Ronk + Red Grooms + Sun Pie + Robert Johnson + Pirate Jenny.


Griffith University | Course Review | 2023


  1. Hey Utopia | Danielle Celermajer + Amanda Tattersall + Jess Scully | 2021
  2. The Fatherland | jason harding | 2022
  3. Sand Talk | Tyson Yunkaporta | 2019
  4. Chronicles: Volume One | Bob Dylan | 2004


‘tapestry + handprint’

16:9 | Landscape

Griffith University | G27 1.12

17 | 04 | 2023