The Progress in Poetry

Rob Waters

Higher Degree Research

After four years working at UNE, Rob Waters has decided to join personal and professional experience with research, recently accepting an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD scholarship in the School of Arts.

Rob has written and told stories since his childhood. He recalls memories of sitting on parents’ laps around his grandma’s dining table. So much meaning was invested in that table. The familiarity of sharing stories and passing on life lessons were essential to him and his siblings in their upbringing.

Pearl, Rob’s grandma, is in every sense the matriarch of the family. She is animated in her digest of family history, politics and society’s biggest issues. At her house, dinnertime narratives flew around the table in a fast and lively manner.

We grew inside their stories. They were told in such a way that we lived our Nan and Pop’s lives.”

Rob himself has always liked telling stories via written or spoken formats, the power of which he is now setting out to research.

“Since publishing my first lot of poetry at 15, I have been increasingly interested in the command of storytelling, most of all for its potential to connect people, progress society, and share knowledge.”

Pile of old booksOver the next few years Rob, an Aboriginal man from the Gomeroi people of North West NSW, will be gauging the potential of storytelling and poetry to transmit culture, values and knowledge through oral stories.

“By looking at our traditional knowledge system, and underlying methodology and pedagogy informing its transmission, I hope to explore its validity and place within academia”.

“The things we learned at grandmother’s dinner table were conducted I believe from the same knowledge framework that Aboriginal peoples use the world over, and I want to explore this more.”

Rob has recently inherited grandma’s table, still loaded with meaning and history of his childhood, and now serving as daily inspiration to his PhD goals.

Rob spoke about his research topic as part of the Arts in the Pub series in September 2015. A video of Rob’s full talk is available on YouTube, courtesy of Beyond Empathy.


Contact Rob Waters, PhD Candidate

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