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Curtin Commons

Bold. Original. Curated for our community.

A series of thought-provoking articles full of insight and inspiration on the issues most important to you, featuring some of Curtin University’s brightest minds, leaders and creatives.

Image: This month’s Creative Spotlight features Curtin graduate Erin Coates’ (BA Arts Hons, 2002) ‘Never the Same River Twice’ displaying at the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, is made from over 10,000 oyster shells and is inspired by the changing ecology of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) and the impact of colonisation on this waterway.

“Welcome to Curtin Commons, an online storytelling space for Curtin alumni, staff, students and friends. Featuring a series of thought-provoking articles intended to inspire and enlighten, Commons celebrates the many amazing contributions of our Curtin community and how they are striving to create a brighter future for us all.”

– Carmelle Wilkinson, Editor-in-Chief



Curtin research to develop evidence-based strategies for expanding access to youth mental health care in WA

Curtin research to develop evidence-based strategies for expanding access to youth mental health care in WA

5 April. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

Help While Our Children Wait, is an evidence-based intervention project led by Curtin Professor Bronwyn Myers, which provides vital mental health support for young people falling into a growing gap – where their problems are too severe for early interventions but not severe enough for specialist services.

Is the end of the pandemic in sight?

Is the end of the pandemic in sight?

8 April. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe claiming more than six million lives to date, by comparison WA has managed to weather the pandemic storm – due to our health team’s precautionary and highly effective measures and WA’s enviable geographical location. WA’s Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson shares his thoughts on whether the end is in sight.

Pang dishes up second cookbook,  and new recipes with a bang

Pang dishes up second cookbook, and new recipes with a bang

30 March. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

With a second cookbook in the work and more pop-up cooking classes on the way, Curtin graduate and Masterchef Australia fan favourite Brendan Pang reflects on his journey from social worker in the State’s north to dumpling extraordinaire.

Donald Main

Pilot study provides glimmer of hope to those with Parkinson’s

22 March. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

Imagine not wanting to leave your home because you can’t stop drooling? Donald Main is one 74% of people living with Parkinson’s who experience this common and vexing symptom. A recent pilot study led by Dr Naomi Cocks explored the benefits of muscle strength training to help stop the embarrassing side effects of drooling.

Former Curtin student and Australian Olympian Peter Bol smiling

Un-BOL-ievable both on and off the track

22 March. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

Australian Olympian and former Curtin student Peter Bol is a homegrown success story both on and off the track. The Sudanese middle-distance runner from Perth is an inspiring young man who taking fame in his stride and motivating others to believe in their worth and natural talent.

Indigenous mining

Indigenous voices key to the future of mining in WA

4 March. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 15 min read

New heritage laws passed in WA last year aim to protect and preserve the culture of the oldest known civilisations in the world – but has enough been done to include Indigenous voices in the decision-making process?

Curtin Commons explores the future of mining in Australia from an Indigenous perspective, with a focus on culture, law and environmental knowledge.

Horse racing enthusiast on track to remove disability barriers and prove one size doesn’t fit all

Horse racing enthusiast on track to remove disability barriers and prove one size doesn’t fit all

22 Feburary. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 15 min read.

Commerce graduate and disabled blogger Amy Evans is shattering misconceptions about life with a disability one frock at a time. Following her win at last year’s WA Fashions on the Field in York, the entrepreneur and founder of Little Black Dress Digital is using her growing social media presence to breakdown the stigma of those with a disability.

Pharmacist Rebecca Chan

Pharmacist provides beacon of hope to health care workers navigating Covid-19

8 February. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 10 min read.

Working on the frontline can often be an unforgiving and challenging role as Pharmacist Rebecca Chan (Pharmacy graduate, 2013) knows all too well. Increased levels of fear and anxiety and growing abuse from customers during the Covid-19 pandemic led Rebecca to launch MindWise Education. The online counselling courses are helping health care workers and students combat fear and thrive professionally and personally.

Curtin Community Pantry students

Community pantry and Dinner Twist serve up food supplies to students facing financial difficulty

15 February. By Carmelle Wilkinson. 5 min read.

Curtin Community Pantry has helped hundreds of students since its start-up in 2020.

Launched in response to the impact of Covid-19, the initiative is aimed at supporting students experiencing financial stress, by providing low barrier access to basic food supplies and other essential items. Now in its second year, the initiative continues to dish up great services for students in need.

Creative spotlight

Albany-raised artist Erin Coates (BA Arts Hons, 2002) stunning ceiling-to-floor waterfall installation ‘Never the Same River Twice’ is inspired by her free-diving in the Swan River, and the impact of colonisation on the river, known as Derbarl Yerrigan in Whadjuk Noongar language. The work is now on display as part of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney. Photo credit: Joshua Morris Photography, Erin Coates.

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… and find out what your community cares about

Valerie Ah Chee

Valerie Ah Chee (BSci Midwifery, 2011) cares about fostering a sense of belonging for Aboriginal women

“My biggest inspiration and role model is my mum, Dr Rosemary van den Berg, who was the first Nyungar woman to graduate with a PhD from Curtin. I worked on a painting to represent that intergenerational support, and hopefully empower other Aboriginal women to thrive at Curtin through their Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program.”

David Gribble

David Gribble (BApp Sci 2001, MBA 2006) cares about delivering impactful community safety programs for families in WA

“I have felt empowered to create change as part of some wonderful organisations that benefit many inspiring people – currently this is for the Constable Care Foundation in my role as CEO. Ethical decision-making, integrity and creating change for the better are my guiding personal values.”

Molly Ryan

Molly Ryan (BA Fashion, 2020) cares about creating sustainable fashion

“The mindless consumption of apparel is a major contributor to the fashion industry’s shameful environmental impacts. I want to promote responsible consumption of fashion products through education, awareness and innovation. We have the power to catalyse change by consuming less.”

Letter to the Editor from Ken Gibbons (BApp Sci Biology, 1977)

“I read with interest the latest issue of Curtin Commons and especially the history of Grok and Curtin FM. I was the Student Guild President from 1977-1979 in a rather turbulent period in the Guild’s history. Grok played an instrumental role in the survival of Curtin FM and also in the WA School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie; the University Administration was going to defund CurtinFM (formerly known as 6NR) and close the station. There were also recommendations that WASM should be closed and the courses transferred to the Bentley campus in Perth. Grok was involved in sharing the strong opinions of students who were against these proposals and was a vanguard for social issues on campus. I hope that the rich history of Grok has been preserved, as it is perhaps the best record and testament of the living history of students, their Guild and their stories of the past half century.”

Dikshita Awotarowa (BCom Banking and Finance, 2020) cares about inspiring women to see themselves in finance

“I founded the Women in Finance and Investment Network to address the underrepresentation of women in these fields and evolve the public’s perception of what a female expert in finance looks like. Hopefully by increasing our visibility, we can motivate the next generation of young girls to study finance.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.