Torres links culture, education and science

For Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 18 graduate Torres Webb, bridging divides is his life’s work, acting as a conduit linking culture, education, and science. 

With a mantra to focus on ‘what’s strong rather  than what’s wrong’, Far North Queenslander  and Torres Strait man Torres Webb is a Cultural  Capability Advisor with the CSIRO’s Office of  Indigenous Engagement. 

“It’s a role that affords me the opportunity to  work with scientists to support Indigenous led approaches that strengthens and shares  knowledge around land and sea management,”  Torres said. 

“Importantly it also makes it possible for true  understanding and knowledge exchange to  take place to support cultural best practice by  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.” 

It’s been a natural role for Torres to step in to, after  years leading the way in improving outcomes for  young people as a science educator, also with the CSIRO. 

“I studied environmental science management at university and am now responsible for helping  educators incorporate Indigenous science in the classroom,” Torres said. 

“As a kid who was told graduating high school let alone university wouldn’t be likely, it’s a pretty  great thing to be helping teachers teach better these days,” Torres said with a smile. 

Early in his career he saw an ad for the Australian  Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) in his local paper,  The Torres Strait News, and decided to apply.  

“That was nearly 10 years ago now and hindsight is a wonderful thing – I signed up thinking the time  was right because I felt like a leader, but I was in my twenties, a baby!” Torres laughed. 

“However, that’s the exact reason it couldn’t have  come up at a better time, because it grounded me  and put me in my place. 

“I accepted I was someone growing in to a  leadership role, and this opportunity gave me  the platform to connect to new mentors and  strengthen my network with people who had the  same vision as me to improve the livelihoods of  Indigenous Australians and start making inroads  on finding the positives and the things worth  celebrating,” he said. 

“It gave me a really clear direction around the  type of leader I needed to be – not wanted to be –  and also gave me the spark to grow into that role  and be able to support others too, especially the  younger generation.” 

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