Research Seminar: Kate Harriden and Jessica Weir

What does it mean to be an academic on unceded Indigenous lands?

This seminar is styled after the ABC "You Can't Ask That" TV series, and we say 'Yes you can'. Drawing on our distinct and shared experiences as academics and previous/current doctoral students, we seek to ask the hard questions and give direct answers. Whilst posed as informal, we will be referencing work we have done separately, together, and what we are prioritising now and why. The seminar draws on kate’s experiences with Indigenous leadership in the academy, and Jess’ experiences with (so slowly) understanding allyship and being a collaborator and co-conspirator. Some questions might be – why should decolonisation matter to my academic practice? What if I make a mistake? What if I don't do anything? What if I disagree? You can also submit your own questions beforehand or bring them along to ask afterwards. 

kate is a yinaa wiradyuri/wiradyuri woman who has yet to live on wiradyuri country.  Having played the violin from during her primary and secondary education, when coming to tertiary studies as a mature age student, kate was horrified to realize that music and art were considered the bottom of some weird academic hierarchy.  Subsequently well trained in both the social and physical sciences of the academy, her academic work has always sought to combine them despite the animosity between them.  Her wiradyuri training however underlies her conviction that all aspects of ‘the academy’, regardless its contrived and arbitrary hierarchies, are inseparable, strengthening her drive to decolonize.

Jess is a white non-Indigenous scholar who has been mentored by Indigenous colleagues and leaders for decades. With social justice motivations but interested in environmental issues, she found no satisfying remedy in her social and physical science under- and post-graduate studies. Taught by Aboriginal leaders, and with assistance from the humanities, in her doctorate Jess learnt to re-thread her knowledge inheritance about nature and culture as both/and instead of either/or. She has no musical talents, but collaborates with artists as part of decolonizing the academy. Jessica is an Associate Professor with the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and she a Visiting Fellow with the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.


For those outside Canberra

Zoom Link:

Passcode: 545388

Updated:  25 September 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications