Rebuilding communities one book at a time
13 January 2020 at 8:26 am
Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt is the founder of Deadly Science, an organisation opening up the world of science and the natural world to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids across the country. He’s this week’s Changemaker.
A research assistant at the University of Sydney by day, Tutt’s career has always been guided by a passion for the natural world.
He knows that unless kids see people like them becoming scientists and doctors it won’t happen, and Deadly Science could be the key.
Launching Deadly Science 12 months ago, the organisation has delivered thousands of science books that promote both Indigenous knowledge and western science ideas to schools across the country in a bid to close the gap on Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids pursuing science-based careers.
The organisation also sends out telescopes and smart gardens to schools, and Tutt spends time mentoring students on career aims and goals online.
Recently named NSW Young Australian of the year, and one of the 2019 AMP Tomorrow Makers, Tutt is using his public profile to draw awareness to the bushfire relief effort, and to replenish the burned-down school libraries of Cobargo and Clifton Creek so no child has their education impacted by the fires.
In this week’s Changemaker, Tutt speaks about how he manages two jobs, why looking at the positives in tough times is important, and why he loves his job.
What inspired Deadly Science?
I’m an Indigenous man from Kamilaroi Country and I wanted to inspire Indigenous people to pursue science and follow their dreams.
You can’t be what you can’t see, and by allowing people to see their potential and giving people the resources to be able to believe in themselves has been a really amazing experience. Since starting the organisation, I’m seeing kids that normally wouldn’t have access to science books picking up books and smiling, which is really exciting.
What do you want to achieve through your organisation?
The main goal is to not have a Deadly Science because that will mean there isn’t a gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people. I want to create opportunities for Aboriginal kids to pursue science and to follow their dreams. I just want these kids to believe in themselves because they are all amazing.
You’ve been really involved in the bushfire relief, why was it important for you to contribute?
I was on holidays staying up at Birpai Land (Port Macquarie) and every time I turned on the TV I saw the devastation of the fires. With the profile I’ve gained from winning NSW Young Australian of the Year I realised I was in a position to really do something and create change.
It’s going to take a long time for these communities to rebuild and I don’t think it’s fair that any child misses out on reading and learning because of the fires, so I’m just trying to help out in a practical way that will benefit people in the long term.
How do you stay motivated with a tough time, such as the bushfire?
It’s really important to focus on the positives. There are a lot of negative things happening at the moment, but the beauty of something like this is that it really brings the community together and there are so many people willing to help and rebuild communities.
What would you say you love most about your job?
Seeing the impact on the communities that receive the books, and seeing kids with smiles on their faces is just amazing. Even with something like the bushfires, which are really horrible, people can see that we’ve donated 130 books to bushfire affected areas and hopefully that gives people a little bit of hope about rebuilding their communities. That’s the beauty of what we’re doing here and what I’m trying to do with Deadly Science, because giving people hope is everything.