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Inala Wangarra, an urban Indigenous community-controlled organisation, has hosted the biennial Rite of Passage program since 2009, first initiated by their Youth Committee as means of celebrating the transition of young people from adolescence to young adulthood. The program, open to 15–21 year old members of the Inala Indigenous community, is a sophisticated ritualisation of the location, presentation and celebration of its young people.
University of Queensland researchers in a unique partnership with Inala Wangarra will document, reflect on and analyse the processes leading up to and following on from the Rite of Passage ball in order to understand the impact of the ritualisation of coming of age on the participants.
The research aims are:
This participatory action research project will primarily use film to gather and record qualitative data from young men participating in the 2018 Rite of Passage program, their partners, families, and stakeholders. This research will draw upon the ‘most significant change’ technique to explore the significance of the program upon the lives of young men.
Expected outcomes of the research are:
Led by Indigenous chief investigators (Bond and Brady) this research will contribute to deepening and extending theoretical understandings around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander urban masculinities; provide insight into the phenomenology of cultural grounding; and inform approaches to social and emotional wellbeing that are not predicated on the bio-medical model. This research celebrates the value and legitimacy of young Indigenous men, and the efforts of an urban Indigenous community in maintaining community cultural ceremonies. Through this, the important work of modelling and explicitly teaching researchers, public servants and policy makers how to take a strengths-based approach to engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (including young men) will be achieved.
Dr Chelsea Bond
The University of Queensland
Expected March 2019