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Event_

Stories and Racism in Australia: What if you're not white?

Thursday 22 November, 6-8pm
Venue: The Old Rum Store, Chippendale

When accurately and compassionately told, stories have the potential to create relations of empathy between dissimilar cultures and people. 

Yet this potential, argues Indigenous author Mykaela Saunders, is dependent on an audience’s willingness to listen and its capacity for change when the story ends. It also depends on who’s telling the story. 

The uncomfortable reality is that the stories given precedence in mainstream Australia are often tied to foundational narratives that rely on false beliefs and dangerous myths to maintain the privilege of whiteness. 

This session will make us rethink what counts as a good story. Working from the periphery, it will value the perspectives of those often diminished by mainstream cultures, acknowledging and celebrating the hidden stories that might yet challenge assumptions and stereotypes perpetuated in our classrooms, workplaces and media. 

Join the discussion as our speakers dismantle the harmful narratives that purport to represent Indigenous and refugee communities in Australia, offering in their place powerfully transformational stories from non-white storytellers. 

Prices:

  • Students/Staff — $15  
  • Alumni — $20 
  • Friends — $25 

*ticket prices include drinks and catering

Meet our experts


Professor Sujatha Fernandes

Professor Sujatha Fernandes, 
Political Economy and Sociology

@SujathaTF

I love stories. I am obsessed with reading stories, writing stories, and studying stories. In my latest book, I am suspicious of how our society has become saturated with curated stories as easily digestible soundbites that promise to solve society’s problems. 

Sometimes storytelling can do more harm than good. How can we tell different kinds of stories that allow us to express the complexity of lived experience in search of deeper social change?

Sujatha is a graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1996; BA 1998).


Murray Kamara, Community Advocate

Murray Kamara, Community Advocate

I was born in a country with lots of human rights violations, corruption and abuses of power. The traumatic experience of living during a civil war has invigorated my passion for human rights and social justice.

I arrived in Australia as a refugee and have been working with people in the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community, most of whom are also from refugee backgrounds. From listening to the stories of these unique human beings who have travelled from all over the world with their different experiences, I have gained insights into the realities of structural discrimination and the barriers faced by minority groups.

My experience as a Community Advocate has encouraged me to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges these groups face; whether it be injustices within our society or day-to-day basic necessities required to feel part of the community.

Murray is a graduate of the University of Sydney (BSW 2015). He is currently enrolled in a Juris Doctor, also at the University of Sydney.


Kaiya Aboagye, Outside the Square speaker

Kaiya Aboagye,
PhD Student

@KaiyaAboagye

I am a research student with the University of Sydney and a research fellow at the Sydney Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

My study will unpack some of the substantial and significant connections between Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and African Diasporic peoples in Australia and throughout the Pacific.

I was drawn to research for its transformative potential to build stories and create spaces for new narratives to be uncovered. For the majority of my adult life I have often thought about, been perplexed by and reflected upon the intersections, interconnections and the meaningfully juxtaposed realities of both the communities of which I am from, the West African and the Indigenous.

Our connections emerge through the institutions of slavery, genocide and terrorism – but how else do we relate to each other outside of these colonial and genocidal narratives? – When white settlement is removed as being the central historical moment of the continent what is the nature of our connectedness beyond this narrative?

I am interested in how Afro-Oceanic narratives are (re)conceptualising the long histories of relationships between ‘people of colour’ (PoC), black oceanic and First Nations people in Australia in ways that have not occurred before. How are Indigenous-to-Indigenous frameworks being intellectualised as a contribution to the important work of collective healing.

I want my research to disrupt common assumptions about the “Black experience” in Australia and decolonize the ways we have come to teach, learn and understand African histories within Australia or likewise Indigenous Australian histories within broader global diaspora studies. 

Kaiya is a graduate of the University of Sydney (B.S.L.S. 2012). She is currently undertaking her PhD, also at the University of Sydney, which you can read about here.

 


Prof. Juanita Sherwood, Outside the Square speaker

Professor Juanita Sherwood,
Associate Dean,
Indigenous Strategy and Services

@Juan1taSherwood

I am an Aboriginal woman from the Wiradjuri nation. I am a registered nurse, teacher, lecturer, researcher and just most recently an Associate Dean Indigenous Strategies and Services Faculty of Medicine and Health.

My career has encompassed the health and education government and non-government sector, as well as the Academy. I have a depth of working experiences of some thirty years in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, education and social justice.

Having had the opportunity to work and live in urban, rural and remote communities I’ve been provided a hands-on appreciation of the diversity of environmental, political and service delivery issues that implode upon our communities. These learning opportunities have ensured that I can confidently work well with many different groups who often hold divergent priorities.

Venue

The Old Rum Store