Remapping the Landscape of Resilience: Learning from an Arrernte Teacher’s Story

Al Strangeways, Lisa Papatraianou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Resilience is central to helping teachers address the challenges of their profession. Many accounts, however, are limited by their uniform conceptualisation of resilience, failing to fully consider the impacts of context and culture. This paper explores what resilience means in the specific context of one Aboriginal beginning teacher from the Arrernte language group of central Australia. Using arts-based and narrative methods, we listen to his story, and follow the pathways he has taken across a landscape of resilience. Reflecting on his narrative offers us a new way of understanding the complexity of resilience and its function as a process rather than a phenomenon. Further, this reflection challenges the normative value judgements that arise from conventional Western constructions of resilience. Following this teacher’s pathways helps us to re-map the landscape of resilience, so that the Western highways that comprise conceptions of resilience as individualistic, value-laden and absolute are recognised as part of a broader landscape of resilience, one that is ecological, transactional and relative to time and place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-31
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019

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