2021 Judging Panel

We are excited to announce this years panel of judges and we thank them for their support and enthusiasm for the Schools Reconciliation Challenge.


Aunty Joanne Selfe works on the NSW Judicial Commission’s Ngara Yura program. The Ngara Yura program was developed in 1990’s as a response to the final recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that judicial officers should receive instruction and education on matters relating to Aboriginal customs, culture, traditions and society.

Aunty Joanne grew up with the stories of the night sky carried by her mother, Elders and Community Knowledge Holders. She also works with the Museum of Applied Art and Sciences on the development and delivery of the Australian Indigenous Astronomy program.
In her spare time, she continues to work with young people in her community sharing the very knowledge systems and skills, she learnt from her mother, Elders and community knowledge holders, she is also a master grass weaver, and cultural practitioner.

Lesley Woodhouse is a Darug woman from the Boorooberongal clan and  a digital knowledge keeper who is bringing Indigenous culture to the world. She is the founder and CEO of Wingaru Education, a specialist organisation developing and delivering education programs and resources to support schools, teachers and organisations. Lesley has a strong background in Aboriginal Affairs, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Research, and Adult Education.

Jane Watters is the Director, Galleries for the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and Director of the S.H. Ervin Gallery, Gadigal land (Sydney) a role that she has held since 2001. The S.H. Ervin Gallery is one of Sydney’s leading public art galleries operated by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and presents the work of Australian artists, past and present, in engaging exhibitions. She has curated many important exhibitions, managed major touring exhibitions, judged many art prizes and has contributed to committees in advisory roles. Her professional experience commenced following studies in visual arts, art administration and education, and working in the commercial gallery sector. Jane has served on the board of Regional & Public Galleries Association of NSW and is alumnus of the Museum Leadership Program. She is an advocate of contemporary, modern and historical Australian visual arts and cultural heritage, women artists and supports the Uluru Statement.

Annie Tennant originally trained as an architect and with a Masters of Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley, Annie’s primary expertise lies in the spaces between and affected by buildings in the areas of urban design, public space design, sustainability and public art. Annie has that developed and nurtured relationships and projects that celebrate Country. As such, she works with development teams, designers, architects, engineers, sustainability consultants and building owners to make their developments, both buildings and public spaces, more engaging, responsive, respectful and appropriate to our culture and our climate. Annie is currently the Director of Design Excellence and Place, Places NSW, Department of Planning, Industry & Environment.

Barb Dowse is an independent curator with over thirty years in art, working with institutional collections and developing and implementing exhibitions for corporates and commercial galleries. Barbara has a wealth of experience from various past roles with public collections including the Parliament House Art Collection and the National Gallery of Australia, and as an institutional curator, art consultant and valuer.


Nicole Smede is a multi-disciplinary artist of Worimi and European descent, living and creating on Wodi Wodi Country. Proud of her heritage, she works through language to reconnect to her ancestry and culture. Nicole’s voice has been heard globally on award-winning film scores, and her poetry can be found in Guwayu: for all times, Magabala Books (2020), What we Carry, Recent Work Press (2021) and 20x20x12 Sensing Place, Manta Publishing (2021).

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute at UTS.

Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015. Her latest poetry collection, Blakwork, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and won the QLA Judithe Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. She is the editor of the anthology Fire Front: First Nations poetry and power today.

Teachers Click Here

Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.