Our stories, our way: cultural identities and health and wellbeing of Indigenous young people in diverse school settings

The aim of this project is to explore the views, experiences and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in relation to their cultural identities and implications to health and wellbeing. Underpinned by Indigenous Standpoint Theory, this study will draw upon a participatory action approach to encourage young people to participate as co-researchers with the researchers and support staff. This methodology will be utilised to build the capacity of participants and position researchers to decisively engage with young people in order to foreground experiences as young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The project is led by a team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early and mid career researchers. Two senior researchers (one Indigenous, one non-Indigenous) will provide mentoring and capacity building to the research team. The research design encourages Indigenous leadership and involvement through all phases including:

  • appointment of an Indigenous Senior Research Assistant
  • appointment of an Indigenous PhD Scholar to work alongside the research team
  • appointment of Indigenous Local Research Assistants (community based)
  • incorporating leadership opportunities for Indigenous young people through the research design.

The expected outcomes will generate new knowledge that includes a framework to be used as a tool for developing programs that support the development of resilience and strong cultural identity within the school and community setting. The outcomes will provide important insights for the health and education fields to inform policy and practice in relation to the best interests Indigenous young people, as articulated by Indigenous young people.

The study aims to consider what benefits result from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their communities when they identify and design programs to support and strengthen their cultural identity. Drawing upon a participatory action approach the study will encourage young people to participate as co-researchers with the researchers and support staff. This methodology will be utilised to build the capacity of participants and position researchers to decisively engage with young people in order to foreground their cultural knowledges and live experiences.

This project expects to generate knowledge where there is a significant gap. The expected outcomes are significant because:

  • the project recognises and celebrates and the strengths and vitality of Indigenous peoples, cultures and community today
  • includes employment of Indigenous research assistants foregrounding Indigenous research capacity and knowledges in local community settings
  • the project will work in partnerships with schools and communities to support culturally safe spaces for young people to explore cultural identities and well being
  • the project includes the production of a series of culturally affirming creative projects by Indigenous young people across diverse communities.

The project will provide an Indigenous framework for health and education practitioners underpinned by culturally safe principles in their work with Indigenous young people.

Created: 29 July 2016 - Updated: 19 April 2017