9th November 2018

Resource – Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts

By DrMJLock

See https://www.cdu.edu.au/northern-institute/lcj for the latest issue (https://www.cdu.edu.au/…/9623_cdu_ni_learners_journal_numbe…) that contained the phrase ‘cultural safety’ in a paper about ‘Respectful and ethical research in central Australia and the south west’ (p. 32)

It was great to read a paper that is so different to the standard academic journals, as the authors say ‘The decision to write as a dialogue between three people may be seen as a little wam (strange) to some. We have chosen to do it in a conscious attempt to “unsettle” the convention of creating a “voice” that is singular, authoritative and self-assured (see Freire, 1986; Westoby & Dowling, 2013).’ (p. 33). It was also great to see the authors use a lot of different language terms in the written text ‘academic English, Noongar and Western Desert systems such as Pitjantjatjara’ (p. 33).

These two examples point to some issues within current Australian academic practice in writing about Australia’s First Peoples and Cultural Safety. First, the article is specific to First Nations written as Noongar and Pitjantjatjara – and not colonised using the terms ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘Indigenous’. To me, this specificity to First Nations is a decolonising way of writing. Second, they use Noongar and Pitjantjatjara language extensively and, to me, this grounds the cultural provenance of the article so that grandiose policy statements can’t be made like “to Aboriginal people …” As I see in so much research conducted with discrete First Nations peoples. Another example of decolonising writing.

I look forward to reading more articles from this resource!