Blog Post Ten. Consolidating the research process.

The class exercises in mapping and brainstorming have been incredibly helpful in developing the draft of my design proposal. Feedback from both peers and my tutor allowed me to consolidate  the aims of the design and refine its execution. This has seen my final proposition move from a service design into a data visualisation which presents an achievable goal instead of a hypothetical one which was unrealistic.

Initially, I wanted to create a piece of service design which would allow a live feed of CCTV footage from inside the prison cells of incarcerated Aboriginal Australian’s to be released onto a public platform. This would create transparency and accountability within the Australian law enforcement and remove the sense of isolation and fear from those inside the prison cells.

Through feedback, I came to realise that the proposal sill needed to be achievable and realistic despite only being a proposition.  Knowing that there would never be any chance of the Australian Government giving approval to the freedom of this footage, I came to realise that I would need to throw this idea away and go down another of the paths explored within blog post eight.

Moving on from this idea, but still wanting to challenge the treatment of Aboriginal people in custody, pushed me to move my design into the emergent practice of data visualisation. In designing for this sector, I came up with the following design proposal.


Undecided at current date.


Data visualisation


The unethical aboriginal incarceration including deaths in custody.


The design would aim to instigate a change towards the perceptions of Aboriginal Australians. Subsequently encouraging viewers to put pressure on the government for better care and treatment as well as a fairer justice system to replace the existing one.


The design would be an emotive and powerful representation of Aboriginal people’s stories of unfair incarceration. Highlighting, in particular, the length of time a person was detained, the reason for this detainment, the age of the detainee and the end result of the situation. Whether this was death, mistreatment, or neglect at the hands of the Australian law or failure on behalf of the justice system in handling the case.


It would be my hope that the design would evoke emotion within viewers and  challenge their perceptions surrounding the treatment of Indigenous Australians within our justice system. It would also aim to tell people’s stories simply, making  them more than just a number on a page. Ultimately, the emotions and realisations brought forward by my work would enable people to put pressure on the government for policies to be changed and the law enforcement to be held accountable and become transparent, allowing aboriginal people to feel safe in their own communities and putting a stop to Aboriginal deaths in custody.


Blog Post Nine. Visualising the process.


The brainstorming map above shows a large range of ideas which address the issue of Aboriginal deaths, mistreatment and neglect under the supervision of Australian Law Enforcement. The results varied across the three emergent practices of data visualisation, generative design and service design and included many ideas ranging from fit-bit systems which monitored heart rates and health to social media campaigns and live video feeds of CCTV footage from within the prisons walls.

As I was the only person from my issue group to attend this class, I was placed into another issue group to complete this particular brainstorming task. This produced unique strengths and weaknesses to the group environment. As the rest of my group were somewhat unfamiliar with my issue, they were able to produce unexpected and fresh ideas as well as bringing a motivated approach to the task. The weakness of this group dynamic was that some of the members didn’t have a deep knowledge and understanding of my issue meaning that I had to use some of our time explaining my own research which took away from the natural flow of the exercise.

Blog Post Eight. Developing data into design.

 The last of the brainstorming sessions seemed as though it was going to be the least productive for me due to being the only one in the group looking at the issue of Aboriginal Rights. I brainstormed my problem statement with 3 other students who were looking at the issue of Data Surveillance and asked for their ideas and opinions surrounding my issue. The ability to present my issue to a group of people who were fresh to the concepts allowed a variety of engaging and unique ideas to be formed. Collaborating with students who hadn’t been absorbed in the topic for weeks made the activity more engaging and allowed us to break beyond ideas which had been over-used and exhausted. The brainstorming session resulted in an abundance of ideas circulating around the issue of Aboriginal deaths and torture in custody and began to look at how design could be used to address this issue. Five ideas which I have pulled out from this session are as follows;

1- A generative design system which stands as a simple website visualising a heartbeat and how this pulse would change in relation to reports of and Aboriginal person being arrested. The system would aim to visualise the fear and unknown of being picked up by law enforcement and the lack of safety in this space.

2 – A data visualisation which aims to present the ridiculous and absurd stories which are the basis for a significant proportion Aboriginal arrests. The design would aim to show how different the treatment is in comparison to non-aboriginal people and highlight the ridiculousness of these arrests.

3 – A service design which aims to give accountability to law enforcement. This would allow Aboriginal people to tag themselves or someone they know at the point of being arrested, and give them the ability to get in contact with lawyers and the public when they feel unsafe or mistreated.

4 – A data visualisation highlighting the difference between aboriginal and non-aboriginal arrests and how many of these result in torture, mistreatment & death in comparison to the reasons for arrest. It would aim to simply show the large difference between the two people groups and allow users to call for change to this.

5 – A generative design system which aims to remove the red tape and closed door aspect of the issue. The system would allow Aboriginal people to release a live video and audio feed to a public platform when they feel threatened and unsafe. The feed would alert lawyers and social workers outside of the law enforcement arena to be able to intervene and address the issue themselves.


My current proposal has been developed from the 2nd idea explained above.The design would be a data visualisation which would explore the length of time that an Aboriginal person was arrested for in relation to the reason for their arrest. Depending on the results of data found, this would hopefully include ages and outcomes of the arrest aiming to also highlight the young children as well as the deaths in custody aspects which highly contribute to this issue. The data visualisation will intend to be an emotive and powerful representation of people’s stories simplified into an easy to navigate and understand design with a purpose to evoke change and accountability within the justice system. To achieve this, a large collection of data will need to be collected which would have to include the crime for which an Aboriginal person was arrested, the length of time for which they were held and the result which came from the arrest (whether this be death, mistreatment, neglect or a lack of justice when it comes to those responsible for these human rights violations). If this information were able to be sourced, I feel that I would be enabled to create a strong data visualisation design which could challenge viewers to reconsider the treatment of Aboriginal people in within our government’s law enforcement system.

Blog Post Seven. Connecting issues, ideas and stakeholders.

Initially, it seemed as though brainstorming with only two people in regards to such a big issue would result in a limited amount of content and ideas. Despite this setback, my partner and I managed to break through many barriers to create a wide-reaching web across multiple actors, issues, emotions and ideas. As we sprawled illegible writing across a sheet of butcher’s paper, we been to make links, connections and boundaries across all these ideas and create groups which shared similar ideas and values. Diving so deeply into this process allowed us to push past mental boundaries and generate a large bank of ideas which could later translate into more creative and unique projects.

As I was more interested in the social and political sides of our issue, my partner was more focused on the cultural and the artistic aspects, which allowed me to learn and further develop my ideas into these categories. I learned more about cosmology and the Dreamtime as well as widening my bank of well-known & out-spoken Indigenous Australians. Without the brainstorming workshop, I wouldn’t have thought to access and explore these ideas which contribute so largely to the issue of Aboriginal Rights within current day Australians. 





Series of images used to document the issue mapping exercise.

Another aspect to this brainstorming session which was quite unique to us was the ability to join with another group who weren’t involved in our issue. While everyone else was paired with people within their own issues, we were able to branch out beyond this and speak to people who were less involved and who could give us a fresh outlook on our ideas and issues. Also receiving feedback from the whole class group on which of our main stakeholders stood out most was another really useful piece of feedback. This information allowed us to explore which ideas and names were familiar & unfamiliar to uninvolved participants which led to a better understanding of our audiences and what kinds of language and ideas we could draw upon in future to either better educate or build upon knowledge when designing project concepts and ideas.

After partaking in this issue mapping exercise and later reading through ‘Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe’ I was able to further realise the importance of thoroughly mapping out thoughts and ideas and how greatly this can positively impact the work process and the final outcome. Taking ideas from Bruno Latour, Ulrich Beck and Jeremy Crampton and re-affirming the notion that ‘that neither the theory, nor the method, nor the tool alone or two in tandem comprise good mapping practice.’ (1)


Rogers, R, Sánchez-Querubín, N & Kil, A. 2015,‘Issue Mapping for an Aging Europe.’ Amsterdam University Press, pp.14

Blog Post Six. Analysing Aboriginal solidarity online.

The issue of police brutality against the First Nations people in this country is an issue which is so often ignored and justice for the victims is rarely served. After reading an article earlier in the week through New Matilda ( entitled “White Man’s Manslaughter. Black Man’s Murder. White Man’s Riot. Black Man’s Uprising.” I was strongly moved and decided to use this as my main issue to research further into this week.

As a result of my personal values and interests, I am aware of the online community that exists for Aboriginal Rights and activism. Thanks to this I was able to pull out some important words and phrases which would enable a better analysis of this online discussion. This knowledge of groups like the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance as well as movements like ‘BLM Australia’ and hashtags like #blackdeathsincustody were great foundations in searching through twitter to analyse the types of voices that contribute to these movements.

I decided to base my online research through twitter as it enabled me to search specifically through all different people groups and analyse what’s being said using these very specific terms. It was easy for me to cull unrelated posts as well as dive into the groups of people who join together around these ideas through the use of such definitive terms. Users can interact with one another through the use of these terms and through the communal following of activist pages and discussions. Following the links between pages, users, tags and shares allowed me to gain a better understanding of how Aboriginal people and activists join together and comfort one another in their struggles against police brutality and aboriginal deaths in custody.

The following flow chart shows the process I went through when looking at these community groups and the way they interact with one another.

flow chart webscrape.jpg

After analysing this specific community, it was clear to me through their tone of voice and character that they are a strong, brave and supportive. The group rallies together against stereotyping, racism and speaks out against mistreatment of their own people.

As a way to further research this group, I tailored the twitter advanced search tool to include a variety of terms related to the issue and combine them to look at the types of people and groups who were using this kind of language. Included below are some of these combinations

The following are screen captures of some of the results I came across through the use of the advanced search tool.

Once I started this form of social media analysis, it was easy to come up with new search terms by looking at similar phrases that were used by participates of the discussion which allowed me to get new tweets which added to my collection of data. This, in turn allowed me to reimagine the system I was using and change it to generate more interesting results.

Looking forward, It can be seen how this collection of data could be used to generate a politically and socially motivated infographic to highlight the amount of Aboriginal people who were killed in custody or at the hand of our police force and how often this goes ignored by the government with justice never being served.

Blog Post Five. Undertaking Ethnography.

As an ethnographic research task I conducted a simple interview and designed a probe for another student to interact with. The interview asked a series of fairly simple questions which are outlined below.

  • What were you taught in school about the history of white Australia?
  • What are some words that come to mind when thinking about Aboriginal Australians?
  • What are some things we could do to change how Indigenous people are viewed in our country?
  • Do you feel Aboriginal people are given a fair representation in the media?
  • Do you feel we have done enough to fix the problems we caused when we invaded 200 yrs ago?
  • What’s your opinion of Australia Day?
  • Did you see the recent 4 corners episode on Don Dale? if so what was your response?
  • Do you feel there is anything Aboriginal people should do to change the way they are treated?
  • Have you heard much about the Black Deaths in Custody movement in Australia?
  • What relevance do you think the Black Lives Matter movement has in Australia ?
  • Are there some Aboriginal people you look up to or see as a heroic figure?
  • How do you think we could better facilitate a relationship between new migrants and the First Nations people?
  • Do you think many new migrants are knowledgeable about how Australia was colonised?
  • Do you think refugees and asylum seekers feel welcomed when they migrate to Australia?

I aimed to keep the questions fairly straight forward so that I could get honest answers which would lead to a better understanding of people’s thought processes regrading Aboriginal rights as opposed to intimidating them with loaded questions or complicated terms.  I feel that as a result of this, combined with an attempt to make the ‘interview’ as relaxed and conversational as possible gave me the most honest and natural answers. I didn’t want the person I was interviewing to feel intimidated by the difference in knowledge or experience between us and felt that I was fairly successful in achieving this.

As a follow on from this interview, I asked my interviewee to interact with a probe. Again this was to get a natural response using a more unconventional technique as opposed to a structured and intimidating form of research.

For my probe I asked this student to imagine that we lived in a society where Aboriginal Australians controlled the immigration sector of the government and were able to deal with the issue of Asylum Seekers. I was very pleased with the amount of effort that I received as a reply. The student replied as follows;

“Realistically, the Australian Government suffices the agenda of a higher authority that remains ambiguous to civilisation. In essence, Ministers of a Government are basically a manifestation for “their” public relations and with that being said, the policies of Immigration cannot be completely overruled if Aboriginal Australians were to congregate the department. I believe politics is a total delusion and we are in a matrix whereby our basic needs and rights are overlooked, but instead being capitalised on.
Immigration to Australia is defined to be limited and complex due to “population control” yet encouraged to improve “globalisation”. Thus, the perspective of immigration is more subjected to the needs of Western capitalisation other than the keepsake of these refugees. However, I feel that the department would have more empathy and protection towards asylum seekers, as both have and are still being marginalised. Though with the current regime being fuelled off xenophobia and fear (which reflects upon Anglo-Celtic supremacy), it is important the Department promote positive connotations for a holistic acceptance. Potentially, if the arduous process of refugee status validation were to be abolished, it opens the opportunities for immediate national relations and eradicates the violation of human rights following the government’s detention solution. It allows the incapacitated to live with capacity and purpose, and grow unanimously as light beings.”

The answer gave me great insight into how this scenario might actually play out and was quite different to how I would have imagined it myself. 

Most of the insights I received from this task can described in the 5 main descriptions below.

ONE – We’re never taught.

One of the biggest things I came to realise when interviewing was that we just aren’t properly educated on the history or cultural significance of the First Nations people to our country. For most, it’s barely mentioned at school, and if it is it’s often sugar-coated to keep to curriculum. The stories taught often glorify european ‘discovers’ and never mention the resistance or struggle of Aboriginal Australians.

TWO – Finding truthful resources is hard.

Secondly I came to find that many people our age haven’t got easy access to proper historical facts when it comes to our history. Many find it hard to find things they can trust due to controversy and twisted truths from our own government.

THREE – We have to investigate ourselves.

My third insight is really a product of the two mentioned above. If we want to know what happened 200 years ago, we have to be motivated enough to research it ourselves. Considering the lack of time and interest that I can only assume so many people my own age have it’s hard to imagine how many people would actively go out and do this as opposed to take on popular opinion as it is presented to them of their news feeds as the truth. When taking this realisation from people my own age with similar educational background and comparing it to people groups like new migrants or lower socio-economic groups, the results become a bit more frightening.

FOUR – If you’re not in the circle, you don’t see it.

Due to my own friendship circles, interests and research methods I realise that I might be a bit more aware of ideas and movements within the Aboriginal Rights issue. But when I move outside of this ‘bubble’ it becomes quite obvious that while this is quite easily accessible to me, it most definitely isn’t to others on the outside. Movements like Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance are groups which I ignorantly thought were becoming more and more popular, yet after my ethnographic research I’ve come to realise that this simply isn’t the case.

FIVE – People want to see it fixed, they just don’t know how to do it.

My final realisation is that people my own age with a similar educational level want to help. They don’t want to see the injustices and atrocities which are occurring to the First Nations people under our own government. But they just have no idea what to do to help, they don’t want to tired on toes or offend people, or be the subject of ridicule and abuse themselves so they just steer clear. It really made me realise that people need clear directions about whats appropriate, what’s inappropriate, and what simple things they can do to help and become more aware of what’s being done to aboriginal people, on behalf of non-aboriginal people.

Blog Post Three: B. Emotionally charged images.

Use caution viewing these images, as it may contain images or voices of dead persons.


Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Image One.

The first image was taken at the creation of the aboriginal tent embassy in 1972. It signifies defiance and self-determination towards the government which had failed them countlessly before this. As police attempted to destroy it, it only grew stronger and caused public outrage. The protest gained attention nationally as it told the story of a forgotten and neglected people. They suggested through the embassy that they were being treated as foreigners and felt a sense of alienation in their own land.  They had been removed from their own land and been left with poverty and a sense impermanence.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Wikicommons

Image Two.

This second image shows the tent embassy as it still stands today, despite much controversy and demand for it’s removal, even being fire bombed on occasion. It is a safe, community-focused area which still holds a permanent residence. On the 26th of January each year, the community opens up and welcomes anyone to join in grieving, remembrance, solidarity and protest over the invasion and occupation of their land. It remains to be seen as a strong symbol of the determination of the First Nations people, visually represented by the word ‘sovereignty’ being written in large letters on the land.

Wave Hill station handover. ABC

Image Three.

Going back in time again we look at the famous image of Gough Whitlam passing a handful of rich red earth to Vincent Lingiari. A huge step forward for Aboriginal rights in 1975. The image depicts the moment where Aboriginal People in the Daguragu country were given their land back. Following this moment Vincent spoke to his own people in his own language and ended by saying to Whitlam “We are all right now. We all friendly. We are mates.”

TJ Hickey. AltMedia.

Image Four.

Moving forward almost 30 years, one would be forgiven for thinking that things would have greatly improved since the policy changes for Aboriginal rights. But the death of Tj Hickey suggests that we may have only gone backwards in our attempt to reconcile our wrong-doings 200 years ago. Shown above is the face of a 17 yr old boy who was impaled on a 2.5m fence in Waterloo and died among friends and family shortly after. The family strongly dispute the claims that police officers had nothing to do with Tj’s death, citing witnesses who say the police car clipped the child bike. The attempts to re-open the case have been refused and protests over the child’s death have caused riots across Redfern.

Dylan Voller. Australia’s Shame. Four Corners

Image Five.

The emotions and feelings towards Hickey’s death 12 years ago seem to come rushing back once hearing about the severe injustice uncovered by Four Corners in their recent episode titled ‘Australia’s Shame’. Again we see extreme abuse of young indigenous children at the hand of the Australian Government covered up by red tape and bureaucracy. Again we are left wondering if we as non-indigenous Australians are left to be accountable for any of our actions. We are left wondering how long this has been going on for behind closed doors and blind eyes. The image above is a shot taken from CCTV footage obtained by the Four Corners producers. It is truly horrific and confronting to watch, yet it’s a call for direct action and immediate change.

Wiradjuri woman Rebecca Maher, 36. The Guardian.

Image Six.

It took years of hard and extremely dedicated work for the Four Corners team to collate the evidence shown in their ‘Australia’s Shame’ episode. It makes you think about how many situations could be happening behind the guard of the Australian Police Force and Government. The times where there is no CCTV, or when there’s no way for what’s being recorded on that to be released or accessed by journalists or members of the public. An example that comes to mind is the recent death of Indigenous woman, Rebecca Maher. She was not notified to the Custody Notification Service. The organisation states that if they had been notified, “there may have been a different outcome”. The story is similar to many others including the death of Maureen Mandijarra, who laid “unmoving in a police cell for at least six hours before police realised she was dead.”

Bill Leeks Cartoon, The Australian

Image Seven.

Following the uncovering of the atrocities at the Don Dale Detention Centre, something truly astonishing was published by The Australian. A cartoon drawn by Bill Leeks was released and controversy followed. The newspaper stood by the cartoon as other media outlets, such as The Guardian spoke against it. There isn’t much to say about this image other than to look on it in dis-belief, especially in light of the discoveries made only a few days earlier.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.09.40 am
#indigenousdads. ABC

Image Eight.

Thankfully, some good came from the cartoon mentioned above. It sparked a huge movement categorised by the hashtag #indigenousdads. This was a truly incredible reply to the ignorant and misleading image that The Australian decided they would portray Aboriginal fathers to be. Countless Indigenous fathers posted photos with themselves and their children across social media in an attempt to break the ridiculous stereotype that they neglect their children. The movement received much attention and was reported on by the ABC, SBS, SMH and more. The image shown here is just one of many which came together to speak for themselves and the way they raise their families.

#handsoffaboriginalkids protest, The Age

Image Nine.

Another good thing to come out of the Don Dale findings was the community-based solidarity through protests across the nation. The image above shows a group of women joining together to lock themselves in a cage to create direct action in a protest against the mistreatment of Aboriginal children in detention centres. As members of the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, they took a stand against this extreme injustice. One woman who chained herself by the neck for 8 hrs before being interviewed (and much more after) stated that she wanted people to know what it was like for the children who were being held in the centres. She stated that she and the others would remain there until their demands were met.

Jenny Munro Mural. Corner of Harbour and Goulburn Street, Sydney.

Image Ten.

To leave this post on a much happier note is an image of an incredible Aboriginal activist and elder, Jenny Munro. Having the pleasure of meeting her myself I can honestly say that the recent mural of her on the corner of Harbour and Goulburn street is a truly wonderful and joyful sight. Her passion, determination and reflection were all perfectly captured in the mural painted by Adnate who stated “We had to choose someone who was quite significant and people who have made a big difference to Sydney. I was just blown away by all the incredible achievements she’s done.”

Image References:

Image One – State Library of New South Wales, 1972, Australia Day: Michael Anderson, Billie Craigie, Bert Williams and Tony Coorey, Indigenous Rights, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Two – Wikicommons, 2015, Sovereignty sign at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra, Australia,  Wikipedia, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Three – AGNSW, 1975, Wave Hill station handover,  ABC, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Four – Unknown, N.d, Tj Hickey, AltMedia, viewed 22nd August 2016, <×312.jpg>.

Image Five – Australia’s Shame 2016, Documentary, Four Corners.

Image Six – Aboriginal Legal Service of NSW, N.d, Wiradjuri woman Rebecca Maher, 36, The Guardian, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Seven – Leek, B. 2016, The crucial role of fathers, ABC, viewed 22nd August 2016, <‘racist’-cartoon-in-the-australian/7692234>.

Image Eight – Bond, C. 2016, Her dad makes her feel awesome, ABC, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Nine – ‘Ratbabbo’. 2016, #handsoffaboriginalkids, The Age, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Image Ten – Hoh, A. 2016, A portrait of Jenny Munro, founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Redfern, ABC, viewed 22nd August 2016, <>.

Blog Post Three: A. Mapping Stakeholders.

stakeholder map.jpg

The map shown above explores the relationships between a wide variety of stakeholders within the Aboriginal rights issue. All stakeholders are broken into three separate groups, aboriginal, non-aboriginal and non-human. Although placed in these segregated groups, there are many links across and differences between them. The map aims to visualise these relationships and show how various stakeholders could affect one another, as well as the central issues that they all play a part in.

Blog Post Four. Onformative balances the digital and the analogue with their generative design.

“Guided by an emotional approach, we constantly search for new forms of creative expression. Through an experimental practice we create meaningful works to challenge the boundaries between art, design and technology.”

Julia Laub and Cedric Kiefer founded ‘Onformative’ in 2010 and have created a team who collaboratively bounce off of observations in their surroundings and aim to dive into the possibilities which lie between analog and digital fields. The diverse team is connected through a fascination with the creative process as well as the unknown possibilities of new design. They are located in Friedrichshain, Berlin and view this as a reflection of the flexible nature of their work and an accessibility to facilitating new projects and developing new concepts. The studio is divided into two main sections, the first being the in-house workshop which enables quick prototypes to be created as well as creating an encouraging, collaborative workspace for the team and the second being a rooftop terrace with city views which is often used as a meeting place for friends and collaborators.

They have created a multitude of self-initiated and collaborative works including interactive media installations, generative design, dynamic visuals and data-driven narratives. One of their more spectacular works entitled looks at complex generative design and was created in 2014. Entitled ‘Pathfinder’, “the project is a generative approach for the conceptual choreographic research of body movements. Through a process of guidance, the work becomes a medium of communication and explores the boundaries between inspiration and improvisation.” (Onformative 2014)

Above: Promotional video for Pathfinder.

The design was created to encourage dancers to explore physical language and create various expressions and configurations and acts as a tool which creates visual inspirations for the conceptual study of movement. The geometric shape drawing encourages the participant to move in unconventional ways and in turn create new perspectives and ideas. 
“Many performers imagine lines, patterns or abstract processes in order to improvise physical interpretations. »Pathfinder« is intended to be a part of this process, by continuously generating geometries. With a progressively transforming visual language, it allows the dancer to generate limitless embodiments.” (Onformative 2014)

The project works by breaking down tracked movements into a polygon and then calculates the most logical series of movements to transform one shape into the next, including moving between line and plane.


Above: User interacts with Pathfinder.


Onformative 2014, Pathfinder, Berlin, viewed 22 August 2016, <>. (Quotes)

Onformative. 2014, Pathfinder, Onformative, viewed 22 August 2016,<;. (Images)

Pathfinder, promotional video, Onformative, Vimeo, Berlin. (Video)

Blog Post Two. Scholarly Sources.

Being Black in Australia: A Case Study of Intergroup Relations

Colic-Peisker, V. & Tilbury, F. ‘Being Black in Australia: A Case Study of Intergroup Relations’,  Race & Class, vol.49, pp 38-56

‘Being Black in Australia’  is a case study of intergroup relationships by Val Colic-Peisker and Farida Tilbury for the 49th volume of Race & Class. They speak in an informative and professional tone throughout their article and have a motivation to see better relationships form between aboriginal and refugee groups through a thorough analysis into past interactions and suggestions of how to better approach them in future.

Peskier is a senior research fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and has taught sociology, anthropology and history at both Murdoch & Monash University. Tilbury is a senior lecturer in sociology and community development at Murdoch University and has published in the areas of migration, settlement, research methodology, discourse analysis, racism and anti-racism. These achievements suggest that both authors are quite capable for discussing this topic and have an extensive background in research and writing on similar ideas.

The Willingness of a society to act on behalf of Indigenous Australians and refugees: the role of contact, intergroup anxiety, prejudice, and support for legislative change.

Turoy-Smith, K. & Kane, R. & Perdersen, A. ‘The Willingness of a society to act on behalf of Indigenous Australians and refugees: the role of contact, intergroup anxiety, prejudice, and support for legislative change.’,  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol.43, pp E179-E195

The Journal of Applied Social Psychology published this article in their 2013 issue, written by Katrine Turoy-Smith, Robert Kane and Anne Pedersen. Both Turoy-Smith and Pedersen were educated through the school of Psychology and Exercise Science at Murdoch University, whilst Kane studied at Curtin University.

The article explores the relationships between contact and prejudice against indigenous Australians and refugees. It explores multiple theories and academic ideas and applies these to the intergroup relationships. The article is well supported by a multitude of references. Any statement made regarding the well-being and mistreatment toward both groups is well backed by various research and statistics. The authors suggest that the contact hypothesis is one of the most widely researched methods in reducing prejudice. They define the contact hypothesis is the proposal that ‘having contact with a member of another out-group will decrease prejudice toward that group as a whole and will assist in positive intergroup interactions, as long as some key conditions are met.’ 

Blog Post One. The Privilege of a Voice.


Choahan, N. 2016 ‘Protest against abuse of children in detention shuts down Melbourne intersection’, The Age, 31 July, viewed 28th July 2016, <>.

The article entitled ‘Protest against abuse of children in detention shuts down Melbourne intersection’ was written by Neelima Choahan for The Age on the 31st of July this year. The article is written in a professional manner and has unbiased facts presented throughout. The article was motivated by protests held in Melbourne following the 4 corners episode on the Don Dale Detention Centre. Choahan regularly writes for both The Age and Koori Mail covering Indigenous affairs in Melbourne and Victoria. This would indicate that Choahan is quite experienced in writing for this subject but may not necessarily be an expert.

The article is fairly factual and doesn’t present too much of an opinion to the audience but instead gives a voice to some of the protestors who were in attendance.  For example, she quotes Meriki Onus, an organiser of the rally, as saying “Putting traumatised kids in traumatised environments creates more trauma. It almost ensues a lifetime of prison for these children.” and mentions a father who stated that he was horrified to see children treated in this manner. By giving these people a platform to speak on the issue, she has enabled a slight bias to the article, while also injecting emotion and human response between the facts that she reported herself.


Meldrum-Hanna, C. & Worthington. E, 2016 ‘Evidence of ‘torture’ of children held in Don Dale detention centre uncovered by Four Corners’, ABC, 26 July, viewed 28th July 2016, <>.

The ABC, often described as a ‘left-leaning’ media platform, released an article in the wake of the 4 Corners episode entitled ‘Australia’s Shame’. Both the article, as well as the programme itself, challenged many Australian’s to consider and reflect upon the chilling evidence of child torture under the supervision of our justice system. This piece was a collaboration of writing by Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Elise Worthington. Meldrum-Hanna is an investigative reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners program and Worthington is a journalist at the ABC. Both has received many awards for their work and dedication to the field and they often collaborate to write articles published by the ABC together, 6 of these being in regards to the evidence  of neglect in the Northern Territory detention centres.

The article has quite an emotional title and tone, labelling the findings as ‘evidence of child torture’ and ‘one of the darkest incidents in the history of juvenile justice in Australia.’ They proceed to challenge and rebuke previous reports that were made at the time of the so-called ‘riot’ where it was suggested that children had escaped their cells and threatened staff with weapons, something that is so clearly proven to be false in light of this leaked evidence. The article shows the severe necessity of having total transparency in how these centres are run under our government and name as a country. It also shows us that we may need to accept the media and government’s ‘truths’ with a little more interrogation in the future, instead of believing and siding with their powerful voices until someone manages to get hold of damning evidence which points to something otherwise.


Geary, B. 2016, ‘Thought Pauline was a bit over the top? Meet the Aboriginal student leading the protests against her – who blames the ‘white Australian populace’ for electing her and says change will only follow when the ‘genocidal government’ is dissolved’, The Daily Mail, 20 July, viewed 20th July 2016, <>.

Looking now to a more ‘conservative’ or ‘right-wing’ media outlet, an article recently released by The Daily Mail with the title; ‘Thought Pauline was a bit over the top? Meet the Aboriginal student leading the protests against her – who blames the ‘white Australian populace’ for electing her and says change will only follow when the ‘genocidal government’ is dissolved.’ Before even breaking down the contents of this writing, it is an obvious turn from the ones analysed previously and can immediately be considered as more of an opinion piece or ‘click-bait’ than true fact.

The article was composed by Belinda Geary, a recent graduate of Journalism from UTS. She has previous experience as an intern for Nova as well as personal freelance work which could suggest that she has no prior experience in writing for Aboriginal issues, let alone social politics.  Looking into some of her other work entitled “Thug kicks and spray paints a woman as she lay unconscious on a street – and records the horrifying attack on his mobile” and “Chef bludgeoned to death so badly with a hammer ‘parts of his skull shattered into fragments and his brain tissue was torn” could further suggest that there could be strong encouragement from The Daily Mail to produce radical and outrageous articles which will ultimately result in high foot traffic for the website.


Clarke, A. 2016 ‘People Are Angry After A Website Called An Aboriginal Pauline Hanson Protestor “Extreme”’, Buzzfeed, 21 July, viewed 21st July 2016, <>.

The previous article by The Daily Mail received some backlash from the man who was supposedly interviewed (Birrugan Dunn-Velasco) and those with him at the time. It was suggested through Facebook posts and public comments that what Dunn-Velasco was severely taken out of context and misrepresented in The Daily Mails writing.  Looking past these public comments and into a piece of writing which addressed the issue, is Buzzfeed. They followed The Daily Mails article with one titled ‘People Are Angry After A Website Called An Aboriginal Pauline Hanson Protestor “Extreme”’. It was written by a Buzzfeed journalist, Allan Clarke, who is a Sydney based Indigenous Affairs Reporter for BuzzFeed News. This alone would suggest that Clarke has a much higher qualification to report on Indigenous issues than Geary beforehand.

In the article, he states that many were slamming The Daily Mails article for being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unethical’ and suggested that it’s opinion may ‘incite racial hatred toward the young man’.He goes straight to the original source and shows that Dunn-Velasco stated it was ‘all lies’ and that he was never even contacted by Geary for an interview, let alone being asked for an interview. This would further suggest that The Daily Mail had no interest in getting the correct and true story out to the public, but instead saw the video and decided to tear it apart and re-piece it together so that it would seem to promote a very different message. Clarke doesn’t really allow his own opinion to come through in his article. Instead, he includes screen grabs of many comments made by people at the protest. These included “The Daily Mail slams a Proud First Nations activist…Yet they fail to see the T-shirt of the pro-Hanson supporter with the slogan “Rape Refugees” blazoned across his chest… If this is journalism, we as a society are in serious trouble.” and “Clearly The Daily Mails couldn’t report what was actually said without being worried it might convince some people to oppose Pauline Hanson. So they straight up lied and claimed he condemned factory workers when he said fighting Hanson needs to start with changing their hearts and minds.


Hills, B. 2016 ‘Paying with her life: Justice for Julieka Dhu’, NITV, 10 June, viewed 22nd July 2016, <>.

NITV are currently showcasing a feature article titled ‘Paying with her life: Justice for Julieka Dhu’. The article is highly emotive and confronting, shown by the headline text saying “A young Aboriginal woman lies dying in agony on the floor of a police lock-up while officers laugh, mock her as a ‘junkie’ and accuse her of ‘faking’ her fatal illness. How can this still be happening in Australia, 25 years after the report of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody was supposed to put an end to it?” Following this is 3,500 powerful and heart-wrenching words written by Ben Hills, which have been shortlisted for this year’s Kennedy Award. He speaks about the mistreatment and neglect that Ms. Dhu received under the supervision of the police force and investigates the numbers of incarceration and deaths of Aboriginal people in Australian prisons. He reflects on witness statements from the police inquest, as well as speaking to family and close friends to source a multitude of opinions and facts which enable him to produce an incredible piece of writing. Later in the article he looks at the Australian Bureau of Statistics to highlight the huge difference between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous rates of incarceration as well as how many Indigenous deaths have occurred in prison and police custody since the Royal Commission. Further on he includes dates and ages of Indigenous arrests which include, but certainly aren’t limited to: “2006, Kalgoorlie – An 18-year-old Aboriginal man living in a remote community with a history of mental illness and self-harm. He throws himself in the path of a moving car, cracking the windscreen. Charged with causing criminal damage.” and “2009, Northam – A 12-year-old boy charged with receiving a stolen chocolate Freddo Frog. Mother mixes up the date for his court appearance and the boy is locked up for failing to appear.” While the writing is incredibly difficult to get through purely due to it’s emotive weight, it’s a truly amazing piece and shows how great journalism can be when it’s done correctly.

Further Investigations

Following the analysis of the 5 articles above, there are a few aspects of Aboriginal Rights that would be beneficial to explore further. Firstly, it would be great to give power and a strong voice to the First Nations people. It’s their struggle, their empowerment and ultimately, it’s their country in which they reserve the right to have the biggest voice, as opposed to one of the most marginalised. Secondly, it would be beneficial to explore how the First Nations can welcome newcomers to their land so that migrants may understand our rich history and culture. It could also work well the other way, in that Aboriginal Australians could give the welcome that they should have been able to give to us 200 years ago. Finally, the severe injustice that the First Nations are so constantly struggling with, needs to be quickly addressed and dramatically changed. This issue simply can’t continue to be ignored, something needs to happen so that Aboriginal People are no longer dying at the hand of Post-Colonialism.