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Humanities building (209:214FF), Bentley Campus, Curtin University

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As AAPI’s contribution to Curtin University's Research and Innovation Week, a range of our members address the question ‘What does it mean to engage well?’ from the perspective of their own research practice:

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1) No one size fits all’: Community engagement research with Nyungar people

Speakers: John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Anna Haebich, MCCA; Dr Elfie Shiosaki, ECR Fellow, Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE), Curtin University, and Project Community Engagement Officer, Noongar elder Darryl Kickett.

Abstract: ​We will briefly discuss approaches to community engagement in our ARC project ‘Ancestors Words: Nyungar Letter Writing in the Archive’, starting from the two quotes below:

  • Indigenous peoples have deployed many strategies…not just through violence and direct engagement with state politics…but also with the remarkably generous and insistent gifts of cultural life. …These acts of generosity have been both attempts to educate and civilize the dominating cultures into a proper ethics of living on country as well as a direct political assertion of various forms of existence and sovereignty... (Peter Phipps, 2010).

  • Every specific negotiation must be treated as a unique expression of the factors and individuals and their histories, which make up the lived experience of culture in each specific milieu. This is an ethics of listening to the past, the present and future – an ethics of paying attention (Rachel Swaine, 2014).

2) Decolonisation and Aboriginal-wedjela engagement in a university

Speakers: Dr Tod Jones, Discipline Lead – Geography, School of Built Environment (SOBE), Curtin University with Carol Dowling, Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS), Curtin University.

Abstract: ​This presentation reflects on the ethics of organising action to address fundamental urban categories and concepts that are the foundational structure of settler-colonial societies. It seeks to address the different ways universities, as places of cohabitation and diversity, encourage and hinder processes of innovation and change (also called co-becoming) through a reflection on his involvement in organising a conference on decolonising the urban environment that involved community and academic input. Tod will present his reflections as a wedjela (white) male academic who, through the generosity of his Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal co-organisers, has begun to be confronted with the limitations of the white privilege granted to him and others, which also limits what he/we are able to think and do. Carol Dowling will present on Yarning Circles—a key activity in Decolonising Settler Cities. Together they explore the conditions under which a fuller and more ethical co-becoming could be possible.

3) Healing Centres Stolen Generation Survivors’ Project

Speakers: Professor Reena Tiwari and Adjunct Professor John Stephens, School of Built Environment (SOBE).

Abstract: A fluid process, adaptive in nature, and one that makes community the decision maker, becomes essential for a successful engagement. This presentation will discuss the engagement approach utilized for conducting the first phase of the Healing Centres Stolen Generation Survivors Project. Instead of coming into the project as ‘others’ with ‘expert knowledge’, the core team’s outlook was that of facilitators and team members who wanted to co-learn, co-plan and co-create.

Seminar Respondents: Jim Morrison, Executive Director, Bringing Them Home, WA; Humanities Dean Professor Tim Dolin and DVC (R) Professor Chris Moran.

Image: Community members and students from The School of Built Environment (SOBE), the Wandering Mission Site contributing to the Stolen Generations Survivors’ project led by Reena Tiwari, John Stephens, and Jane Mathews at Curtin University together with the Southern Aboriginal Corporation and the Bringing Them Home Committee, WA.

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Humanities building (209:214FF), Bentley Campus, Curtin University

Australia

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