Artist, mentor and cultural advocate, Narelle Urquhart is the daughter of legendary Indigenous activist Iris Clayton, the mother of four children (including two Bond graduates), grandmother of one and ‘Aunty’ to every Indigenous student who has passed through the doors of Bond University’s Nyombil Centre since it opened in 2012.
As Bond’s first Indigenous Cultural Support Officer, Narelle has been instrumental in guiding our Indigenous students through their university studies, from their first visit to campus to well beyond their graduation.
Working with students from all over Australia, her mentoring encompasses academic, professional and cultural support, including the establishment of familial partnerships between our students and Bond’s local Indigenous communities. Guided by her strong belief that education is the key to unlocking poverty and releasing dreams for her people, Narelle’s daily interactions with students at the Nyombil Centre have resulted in a retention rate for Bond’s Indigenous students that far exceeds the national average.
Now as the University’s Indigenous Engagement Advisor, Narelle’s role extends to providing cultural learning and direction across the Bond campus, engaging with Faculties, academic staff and the University Executive as an advocate for Indigenous students and to ensure that our curricula is informed by an understanding of and appreciation for Australia’s Indigenous heritage.
A Wiradjuri woman from central southern NSW, Narelle is also an established artist whose work has been featured in children’s books, a short film for ABC Open and with illustrations launched in Parliament House Canberra. Whether they are focussed on traditional stories, modern day justice or her love of the Gospel, her artworks reflect the wisdom and knowledge Narelle has gained as a highly respected member of the Indigenous community.