Philosophy, art history, archaeology and iconography are just some of the subjects covered in The University of Notre Dame Australia’s new Cultural DeCoding program for gifted and talented Year 12 students.
The week-long program held in late January was based in the area of Humanities and was a collaborative effort led by Dr Annette Pedersen from John XXIII College and Notre Dame lecturer, Dr Angela McCarthy. It was promoted throughout Western Australian secondary schools and attracted some of WA’s brightest students.
Dr McCarthy says feedback from teachers and parents of gifted and talented students indicates that there are very few programs on offer for students who excel in humanities.
'This program is fully engaged in the humanities area and offers a thoroughly integrated experience in archaeology, iconography, philosophy, theology, personal history, legal history, library resources (ancient and very recent), art history and the combination of ideas from all of these areas,' explains Dr McCarthy.
Year 12 John XXIII College student, Daniel Hunt, said the course was the most intellectually stimulating that he had experienced so far.
'I was continually impressed with the passion Notre Dame lecturers had towards their subject and their care of us. My eyes have been completely opened to subjects that I hadn't even considered and to the incredible Notre Dame campus,' Mr Hunt said.
Priyam Khare, a Year 12 student from Willetton Senior High School, was also impressed by the course. 'Cultural DeCoding has been amongst the most different and interesting courses I have attended. The experience has not only exposed me to various perspectives, but also key constructs which dictate the modern, western society today,' said Ms Khare.
'From the doctrines of classical Greek to our current law and justice, each step has been a wonderful and intricate insight into our historical and modern lifestyle.'
DeCoding Icons was one of the more unique activities the students undertook as part of the course. Ms Khare said she felt that not coming from a Christian background further added to her experience.
'DeCoding Icons was amongst the most surprising and interesting parts of this course. To not only decode religious Christian icons through symbolism and technique, but then to relive the experience by painting our own icons was certainly very engaging,' she said.
'Overall, the Cultural DeCoding course has been a thoroughly distinct and intriguing experience. I would like to thank all the lecturers and speakers for giving us the time to get an insight to their work and profession.'
Parents joined their children for the Concluding Ceremony where the Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, presented each student with a certificate of participation.