Photos by James Henry Photography
On 30 and 31 March 2017, the Lowitja Institute convened a workshop and research meeting to share knowledge on the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men and the role they play—and aspire to play—in their relationships, families and communities. Also, to support the agency of young men to grow into adulthood and take their place.
The objective of the workshop and research meeting was to bring people together to increase understanding of what enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men to be the best they can be. The knowledge and experiences shared at the meetings provided the framework for the design of research questions, and guided further steps for an innovative and collaborative research process.
The majority of participants were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, with all participants contributing community, research, service delivery and/or policy experience in the area of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander men’s health and wellbeing.
Participants shared their experiences of what led them to work in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s health and wellbeing. Positive and negative experiences were spoken of as being part of a learning journey, from which you learn from mistakes and aspire to make change.
Participants saw the role of research as something that could add value and be a vehicle for change, if carried out in appropriate ways – led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and driven by community concerns and agendas.
In sharing their journeys and knowledge, participants underlined that research and activities about young men must be informed and guided by young men. As a starting point, however, participants put forward that enabling young men requires a focus on the following themes:
- Talking with and listening to young men
- Strong identities
- Connection to culture
- Roles and place of young men
- Strong families and communities
- Self-determining lives of agency
- Role modelling a good life
- Creating a safe space.
An Advisory Group was established at the workshop to support further development of research questions and activities.
Applications for funding for the collaborative research grants closed on 8 October 2017.
Thank you to the Koorie Heritage Trust for hosting the workshop on the 30th!
For more information please contact Dr Shayne Bellingham Shayne.Bellingham@lowitja.org.au.