Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance


’Nhe Waŋana’ ’Nhe Djämamirriyaŋa’

‘Speak it’ ‘You create it'

About the Conference

ATSIMA, together with  Yirrkala School NT, is pleased to announce the 4th ATSIMA Conference,
9th – 11th October 2023 in Yirrkala, North East Arnhem Land, NT. This will be the first national mathematics education conference held in a Yolŋu Community.

ATSIMA’s previous conferences established the need to have a Revolution in mathematics education to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners. The theme for ATSIMA 2023 ’Nhe Waŋana’ ’Nhe Djämamirriyana’ ‘Speak It’ ‘You Create It’ furthers the idea of a revolution in education. ’Nhe Waŋana’ – ‘Speak It’ refers to the importance of valuing all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in education. ’Nhe Djämamirriyaŋana’ – ‘You Create It’ is about understanding important concepts embedded in languages, their relationship to mathematics, and how we can create a future together.

The conference will be shaped by the philosophies that have underpinned the development of Garma Mathematics at Yirrkala Community School and, through this structure, exploration of what it means to understand mathematics from Yolŋu perspectives, including other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, and Western perspectives. From moving through these different cultural landscapes, we will build stronger connections and work together to reshape Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in mathematics.

ATSIMA conferences have delegates coming from a diverse range of  backgrounds. The conference is an open dialogue between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous delegates. ATSIMA is creating a community of people that are actively involved in the conference and working towards common goals. ATSIMA is continuing the Revolution.

Conference updates sent to delegates about the conference can be found here

Conference Date:

Monday 9th to Wednesday 11th October 2023


Yirrkala Community, North East Arnhem Land, NT


Standard Registration is now open!


Find the option that suits you best!

Registration and Fees

Standard Registration

Ends 2nd October

Standard Registration
Full Registration
Full Registration ATSIMA Member*
Student ATSIMA Member*

*ATSIMA’s current associate or ordinary members are eligible for a discount on their registration fee, this will be applied at checkout. Please contact Melinda Pearson at melindapearson@atsima.org for the member’s code if you are a current associate or ordinary member.

If you would like to join up as an ATSIMA member please go to https://atsima.com/membership/


If you cancel your registration prior to Friday 4 August 2023 you will receive a full refund.

If you cancel your registration prior to Friday 25 August 2023 you will receive a 50% refund of your registration fee.

If you cancel after Friday 25 August 2023 you will not receive a refund of your registration fee.

Full General

$ 949 Standard Price
  • Conference program
  • Attendance to all sessions
  • All catering breaks
  • Welcome reception
  • Conference dinner


$ 599 Standard Price
  • Conference program
  • Attendance to all sessions
  • All catering breaks
  • Welcome reception
  • Conference dinner

Keynote speakers

Di Siemon


Realising ‘best practice’ in (M/m)athematics education 

The M/m distinction was made by Bishop in 1991 to emphasise the cultured nature of mathematics. It was not made to privilege one mathematics over any other but to acknowledge that there are different ways of knowing and understanding the world. This raises the questions of what (M/m)athematics should be taught in what ways in particular educational settings. However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that where first language and cultural knowledge are valued and employed in the pursuit of Mathematics, Indigenous students are more likely to succeed. We also know that learning Mathematics is most effective where it builds sensibly on what is already known. This presentation will make a case for focussing on a small number of big ideas in Mathematics that are known to make a difference to all students learning of Mathematics. 


Dianne Siemon is an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education at RMIT University. Di has been a teacher, teacher educator and researcher for over 40 years and remains actively involved in the professional development of teachers of mathematics. Her primary interest is in the provision of evidenced-based formative assessment materials that can be used to identify and respond to where learners are in relation to the key ideas that make a difference so that all learners have the opportunity to participate and succeed in school mathematics.

Di has been associated with mathematics education in the Northern Territory for well over 20 years. First as a member of the Mathematics Teaching, Learning and Assessment Project (MaTLAP, 1993-1994) then as the researcher supporting the Sustaining Indigenous Students’ Achievement in Numeracy Project (SISAN, 2003-2004). From 2006 to 2009 Di was the Director of the Building Community Capital to Support Sustainable Numeracy Education in Remote Locations Linkage Project, which together with John Bradbury and the NT Department of Education and Training resulted in the Talking Namba resources. Di is passionately committed to the use of first language in the teaching and learning of mathematics in the early years. She has supervised two PhDs in this area and is currently supervising John Bradbury’s PhD on the use of first language and metaphor to support the teaching and learning of school mathematics.

Di has directed a number of other large-scale research projects including Reframing Mathematical Futures (2013-2018), Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years (2003-2006), Researching Numeracy Teaching Approaches in Primary Schools (2001-2003), and the Middle Years Numeracy Research (1999-2001). Di is a life member of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers and the Mathematical Association of Victoria.

Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA

Yiŋiya Mark Guyula is a senior leader of the Liya-Dhalinymirr clan and Djambarrpuyŋu Yolŋu people and has been the Independent Member for Mulka since 2016. The Mulka electorate covers most of the Yolŋu country of East Arnhem Land.

During his time in Parliament, Yiŋiya has challenged the Government to create inclusive laws and policies that bring acceptance, understanding and equality for Yolŋu knowledges, culture and authority. He has worked hard to consistently scrutinise Government on issues affecting remote communities and homeland towns, to bring better outcomes for housing, health, education and justice.

Yiŋiya trained in aircraft maintenance and engineering with MAF, and became the first Yolŋu pilot in 1983.

Yiŋiya is a highly skilled cross-cultural educator and community facilitator and has worked with many organisations including Charles Darwin University, Marthakal Homelands, NLC & NRCC.

Social Events

Food and Networking

Food and Networking will take place after the first day of the conference. It is a chance for delegates to catch-up with friends, meet new people, make connections and discuss the days sessions, with great company.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner offers delegates an excellent chance to enjoy delicious food in a relaxed setting while getting to know each other and making new connections outside the main conference environment.


It is no secret that Indigenous people are significantly under-represented, both professionally and academically, within mathematics across Australia.

Investing in this conference will upskill educators to make the necessary changes in schools to empower Indigenous students:

  • to pursue careers within mathematics
  • provide learners with skills required to attend university, and/or gain higher levels of employment
  • creating innovative partnership for Indigenous Students and Communities.

Partnering with the ATSIMA 2023 Conference provides opportunities to connect with inspirational educational thinkers, decision makers, and leading researchers across a range of sectors and disciplines in both government and industry.

See sponsorship packages in the prospective below for further details. 

BHP Foundation
Government of South Australia
Department of Education
University of Technology Sydney
Buki-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre
Australian Government National Indigenous Australians Agency



The theme for ATSIMA 2023 ’Nhe Waŋana’ ’Nhe Djämamirriyana’ ‘Speak It’ ‘You Create It’ furthers the idea of a revolution in education. ’Nhe Waŋana’ – ‘Speak It’ refers to the importance of valuing all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in education. ’Nhe Djämamirriyaŋana’ – ‘You Create It’ is about understanding important concepts embedded in languages, their relationship to mathematics, and how we can create a future together.

Program Overview

The structure of the conference will reflect the philosophies that underpin the Garma Mathematics, in particular the salt water, fresh water metaphor that describes the interaction of two knowledge systems. The fundamental understanding for this metaphor is respect and understanding of both knowledge systems, the ability to move between the two knowledge systems, and the ability to reflect on connections and differences without judgement.

The idea will be to take the delegates through this cultural journey to understand and respect Yolŋu Knowledge from across Australia in connection to mathematics. We need to ensure that delegates understand that Gurruṯu is a form of mathematics and Yolŋu philosophy is based in mathematics which is reflected in our languages (Day 1). We will then focus on non-Indigenous mathematicians and mathematics teachers showcasing best practice from a Western perspective (Day 2). Day 3 will involve speakers bringing these world views together in the mathematics classroom.

See Draft Conference Program (18/9/23) here

See Draft Concurrent Session Workshops Program (18/9/23) here


ATSIMA invites submissions from representatives from Community, Education and Business sectors. There are two main submission processes for the two types of presentations:

1. General presentations

2. Research presentations

All presentations are in 2 x 30-minute blocks. In the first block, each presenter will have 25 minutes to present their work with 5 minutes for questions from the audience. Each 60-minute block is followed by a 30-minute What are the messages? session. For this session, the presenter will be asked to leave the room while the audience reflects on the presentation and distils the main points. The outcome of the What are the messages? session will inform the conference findings, ways forward and the conference proceedings.

1. General presentations

General presentations can be given in any of the 3 main sectors: Community, Education or Business. The presentations can be narrative/story telling in nature, and where possible, have evidence that supports your story and what your view is on quality learning and teaching for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The general presentation category will also include the Teaching Practice Sessions where educators can demonstrate a particular pedagogy that has the potential to improve the educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. We encourage presenters to not only demonstrate pedagogy but also discuss the theory/idea that sits behind the lesson. Note that all levels of education are welcome to present innovative pedagogy.

For general presentations, the minimum expectation is an abstract (maximum 200 words) that summarises your presentation. An abstract template is provided below. We encourage presentations that specifically explore the range of issues around quality teaching and learning in mathematics education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners.

We encourage participants who are giving general presentations to write a conference paper on the presentation as per the conference paper template below. Conference papers written in this category will be included in our conference proceedings as a non-refereed conference paper and will be considered for inclusion in a special edition of a journal as a non-refereed paper.

2. Research presentations

Research presentations are aimed at researchers from universities and other research institutes. Research presenters will be expected to complete a conference paper by the deadline below and will undergo a double-blind refereeing process.

The maximum length of a research conference paper is 6 pages (including references) and needs to comply with the template below. All research conference papers will be included in our proceedings and, after the conference, authors will be approached to extend their paper for a special edition in a refereed journal.

Please lodge your abstract submission by COB Friday 4th August 2023.

Conference papers – submissions are welcome prior to the conference, papers will also be accepted after the conference up until 3 November 2023 . 

Please lodge your Abstract Submission by COB Friday 4th August 2023

  • Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 2 MB, Max. files: 1.
      Upload your abstract submission here, please use the template provided next to the form.
    • Drop files here or
      Max. file size: 2 MB, Max. files: 1.
        Upload your conference paper here (if applicable), please use template provided next to the form.
      • Drop files here or
        Max. file size: 2 MB, Max. files: 4.
          Upload a biography (up to 100 words) for each presenter here.
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          Accepted file types: jpg, png, pdf, Max. file size: 2 MB, Max. files: 4.
            Upload an image of each presenter here.

          Maps and Directions


          * Please note that the airlines' bookings are to Gove not Nhulunbuy.

          Accommodation and Transport

          All accommodation in Nhulunbuy has been blocked booked by ATSIMA.

          Once registration is completed and paid, you will receive an email confirmation confirming accommodation and bus collection points and any other information you may require.

          Please note: Limited accommodation is available, your request for one hotel/room may not be available and accommodation would then be allocated to another suitable hotel/room. These hotels are close in location and both will have daily collection/drop-off points on the bus service route.

          Gove Peninsula Hotel – 

          Queen Room – This room has 1 x queen bed and 1 x single bed, rooms only cater for 2 x adults or 2 x adults and 1 child – Price $220 per night

          Walkabout Hotel – 
          12 Westal Street, Nhulunbuy NT 0880

          Queen Lodge – This room has 1 x queen bed – Price $300 per night
          Twin Lodge – This room has 2 beds, 1 x single and 1 x double – Price $330 per night
          Contractor Room – This room has 1 x queen bed. The bathroom facilities are shared – Price $200 per night

          Gove Taxi Service – 131 008

          Are available for pre-bookings for transfers to and from the Gove Airport to accommodation. Taxi’s will meet flights into Gove.

          Previous Conferences

          ATSIMA Conference 2018

          The theme for ATSIMA Conference 2018 was ‘Starting the Revolution’.

          The ATSIMA Conference in 2016 identified the urgent need to develop an Indigenous mathematics curriculum as a step towards supporting Indigenous students’ identity in the teaching and learning of mathematics. This call recognised that education and the curriculum is culturally laden, and that it explicitly and implicitly teaches the values and norms of the Western culture.

          The 2018 ATSIMA Conference facilitated this discussion bringing together Indigenous people to discuss Indigenous knowledges and connections with mathematics. The conference delegates worked through ideas for the development of an Indigenous mathematics curriculum.   

          Please see an outline of the emerging themes that will form a basis for a Indigenous Curriculum/Pedagogy.

          ATSIMA Conference 2016

          The main focus for ATSIMA 2016 was Quality Learning and Teaching in mathematics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners: one of the main outcomes from ATSIMA 2014 conference. The by-line Value us Value our education Value our future encapsulates the core principles behind quality learning and teaching. At the heart of these principles is the notion of meaningful relationships.

          ATSIMA is committed to facilitate the development of relationships between Community, Education and Business sectors. As highlighted in ATSIMA 2014, we need to move beyond the pipeline mentality of separate sectors waiting for the next cohort to a new paradigm of meaningful relationships between all sectors: an ecosystem of relationships. ATSIMA 2016 explored what quality teaching and learning means under this new paradigm.


          Conference themes

          The conference had three main parts with each part being themed by Value us, Value our education and Value our future.  

          Value us privileged the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia especially the Dharawal and Yuin peoples of the Illawarra and South East Coast: the land the conference was held on. We heard about education from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective and their relationship with the education system.

          Value our education we had two types of presentations: 1) a showcase of practices and 2) research presentations. The showcase of practice was specifically geared towards teachers demonstrating pedagogy in mathematics that had a significant impact on learning outcomes in mathematics. The research presentations focussed on the research projects and major projects that aim to improve educational outcomes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners in mathematics. 

          Value our future: For this part of the conference, we encouraged business to present on their employment programs and how they are connecting with Communities and the education sector to create employment pathways. We encouraged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities to present their vision for the future and explored how this fits with current employment pathways and education. 

          ATSIMA Conference 2014

          The inaugural ATSIMA Conference 2014 Creating Connections and Growing Understanding was held from 10-11 November at the Lakes Resort, West Lakes in Adelaide. The Conference included a showcase of classroom practice; forums for discussions about teaching and learning, initiatives and projects that are making a difference; a national agenda for change and for research; keynote addresses from leaders in maths education for Indigenous learners and from Indigenous employment.

          The conference was built on the success of the AAMT Special Interest Conference Numeracy, mathematics and Indigenous learners held in late 2012. The conference included over 100 representatives from school and higher education, communities, and business and industry.

          Keynote 1: Growing an Indigenous professional workforce: the national agenda for change presentation by Professor Ian Anderson

          Keynote 2: Why Blackfellas should read Plato presentation by Prof. Mark Rose

          Read more about the conference

          Download conference summary and report (2 MB)

          2013 AAMT Blueprint: the beginnings of ATSIMA

          As a result of the 2012 conference, a blueprint outlining a ‘call for change’ was generated and a series of symposiums was held around the country.

          Participants overwhelmingly knew that something far more strategic needed to be done to improve the mathematics learning outcomes of Indigenous students.

          At several of these symposiums were representatives from business and industry who also strongly supported the establishment of an alliance that would allow them to connect with educators.

          The Blueprint’s recommendations included:

          Conference 2012

          In October 2012, the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Inc held the national Special Interest Conference Numeracy, mathematics and Indigenous learners that showcased outstanding educators.

          Make it count

          The Make it count: Numeracy, mathematics and Indigenous learners project was managed by ATSIMA member Caty Morris through the AAMT 2009 – 2013. It brought together eight clusters of schools across Australia to improve mathematics teaching and learning with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. ATSIMA chairperson, Prof. Chris Matthews, was Project Patron and Critical Friend to a number of clusters.

          The Make It Count website is for educators working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners in mathematics education. It is a teaching and learning resource, and a professional learning tool.