Women of Colour in academia: Theorising in the flesh towards decolonial feminist futures
Lutfiye Ali, Victoria University, Kelly Ka-Lai Chan, RMIT University, Torika Bolatagici, Deakin University, Sara Cheikh Husain, Deakin University, Kashifa Aslam, RMIT University
For many ‘women of colour’ (WoC) scholars research is not just an academic endeavour but also a creative and political project that is lived through experience and a critical part of our personal and collective history. This form of embodied research/creativity, challenging Eurocentric epistemological assumptions of ‘disembodied knowledge’, is based on third world feminist theories which recognise that knowledges are informed by social locations and material, discursive, and political conditions. As WoC, this way of thinking about identity and knowledge inspires us to ‘theorise from the flesh’ about our experiences of being WoC in the academy. Our narratives reveal how heteropatriarchy and racism is re-produced and enacted and the ways our labour and knowledge are tokenised, appropriated, co-opted and silenced in academia. Our stories show how we engage in transformative resistance in and through our research and ways we navigate academia by fostering solidarities of resistance, belonging and social change.
Co-creating setting for anti-racist praxis
This seminar will share research and praxis that seeks to address matters of racialisation and racism and white supremacy in community, organisational and everyday settings. Rooted in the values of justice and diversity and aspirations of liberation and critical community research and practice, the research shows that it is vital to expand our ecology of knowledge and praxis through the creation of settings and narratives from the margins in order achieve epistemic inclusion and racial justice. The papers in the session offer examples of community engaged research that seek to promote racial justice and communality. The projects highlight the importance of relational ethics in research and practice, the role of critical witnessing in praxis, and the central function of critical dialogue. The papers will include:
“We’re creating a sense of home”: Alternative settings as enactments of self-determination and racial justice – Rama Agung-Igusti, PhD candidate, Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Liberating methods: Mobilising community radio for community place and narrative making - Roshani Jayawardana, PhD candidate, Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Awakening to Injustice: Documenting Reflexive Anti-Racism Journeys in Post-Colonising Australia – Dr Amy Quayle, PhD, Victoria University, Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Art for Social Change (ASC) is a community-based creative practice associated with social justice and the empowerment of communities. Inspired by thinkers from the Global South, these emancipatory practices have become broadly accepted, seen as contributing to community participation, and as a way of engaging with minoritised communities. This paper focuses on the processes of ASC in the context of a colonial settler society and women of colour. From a feminist perspective from the Global South and using case studies across different geographies that centre of women of colour, this paper examines how ASC unfolds at the intersection of complex racial relations, where art making and story-telling shape unique possibilities for personal and community connection.
Change Makers is a collaborative program led by Victoria University’s Sport and Social Change Living Lab in partnership with community organisations and local government. The program aims to drive systemic change toward transformative social inclusion of migrants and refugees in sport and physical activity in Melbourne’s West. The project creates a community of practice of 60 Change Makers from a range of sports and community groups who are trained, mentored and supported to design and implement innovative projects that address structural and cultural barriers to participation. Beyond participation, Change Makers seeks to enhance the representation of migrants and refugees in positions of leadership in local sports clubs. In this seminar, we explain the rationale for the program, the theory of change that underpins it, and the community engagement and co-creation mechanisms adopted in the program.
In 2019 and 2020 a research team at Victoria University examined, in partnership with several local councils, far-right dynamics in three local municipalities across Victoria. A particular focus of the study was to examined local factors that may make some people more or less vulnerable to far-right mobilisation. How did far-right groups use local concerns and grievances for their own radical agenda and how did local stakeholders, in particular community and civil society groups and local government respond? Based on extensive empirical fieldwork, the study explored, among others, how structural factors, such as urban planning and segregation, interact with identity-related issues, such as local pride and belonging, and in doing so either fuelling social division and polarisation or advancing a progressive agenda of inclusion and social justice.
Watch the recording of Mario’s presentation below