Postgrads bring experience to Arnhem Land guitar timber plan
UTS postgraduate project management students will help Indigenous communities in Arnhem Land to develop a business supplying specialist timbers for guitar making
UTS and the Jack Thompson Foundation have signed an agreement formalising the involvement of students, many with extensive industry experience, in developing a series of management plans for the project
A plan for Indigenous communities in Arnhem Land to develop a business supplying specialist timbers for guitar making will benefit from the expertise of postgraduate project management students under an agreement signed between the Jack Thompson Foundation (JTF) and the University of Technology, Sydney.
The Foundation and UTS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising the involvement of graduate certificate and masters students in developing a series of management plans for the project, launched in consultation with several remote Indigenous communities.
The plan stems from an approach to the JTF from a consortium of guitar manufacturers in the USA looking for new sustainable sources of hardwood.
Timber found in some areas of Arnhem Land has the potential to meet the global need for a replacement to ebony in the manufacturing of guitars.
According to the Foundation, “The guitar manufacturing and building industries offer viable revenue in return for access to an ethical and dependable supply of hardwood.
“Recompense for selective and sustainable timber, harvested in culturally appropriate ways, could finance the building of infrastructure and housing for communities across the whole of Arnhem Land.”
The JTF will facilitate training for the communities to both manage the timber extraction and their own building works.
Foundation founder and Australian cinema icon, Jack Thompson AM, said the project was an opportunity for remote communities to determine their own future and that was “an enormous breakthrough.”
“We want to equip communities with the understanding, education and skills to develop enterprises that are in harmony with the traditional way and allow them to walk forward with us into the future.
“For those involved in the process, we are not just there to teach, but to learn as well.”
Course Director, Postgraduate Project Management in the UTS School of the Built Environment, Chivonne Algeo, said the project will have the help of several cohorts of postgraduate project management students, many of them with extensive industry experience.
“They will assist JTF developing management plans covering project governance and infrastructure, training, building material processing and the building of community housing and commercial infrastructure,” she said.