Cultural Security and Social Justice

The final core theme of Nulungu is ‘Cultural Security and Social Justice’. This theme embodies the spirit of applying The Nulungu Way to our research process and ensuring that a culturally-secure framework is employed in all areas within which research is undertaken; whilst simultaneously addressing the deficit discourse that often impacts the involvement of Aboriginal people across research disciplines and within the political sphere.

If we consider first ‘Cultural Security’, this speaks to the obligations of those working with Aboriginal people and communities to ensure that there are policies and practices in place so that all interactions adequately meet cultural needs. This equates to a culturally safe and secure environment -  one where Aboriginal people feel safe and draw strength in their identity, culture and community. Cultural safety is incorporated within this and encapsulates the relationships that we need to foster in our communities, as well as the need for Aboriginal cultural renewal and revitalization. The concept of cultural safety is drawn from the work of Maori nurses in New Zealand and can be defined as:

[A]n environment that is safe for people: where there is no assault,  challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is  about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of  learning, living and working together with dignity and truly  listening.[1]

In terms of social justice, this is an extremely important theme within which Nulungu has delivered applied research outputs and outcomes through numerous avenues. Nulungu as an institute is committed to research that encourages restoration of social justice to Aboriginal people, particularly of the Kimberley region. Social Justice is an outcome of both equality and the recognition of Aboriginal diversity and difference. At present, Aboriginal people of the Kimberley suffer from a lack of equality with non-Indigenous residents in terms of health status and life-expectancy, employment and education opportunities, and disproportionate engagement with the criminal justice and child custody systems. Aboriginal people further suffer from struggling to have their unique cultural and linguistic circumstances recognised, and belated and inadequate legal recognition of their deep historical and cultural attachment to their lands held under Native Title. Nulungu researchers are committed to working in partnership with the Aboriginal people of the Kimberley, and under their overall direction following cultural protocols, to produce research that provides social justice outcomes over this range of identifiable research needs.

Examples of Education and Learning research:

  • Judiciary conference
    Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC)
  • ARC-funded Reciprocal Accountability and Public Value in Aboriginal Organisations (2016-2021)
  • Aboriginal organisations throughout Australia are the main sites for representation of Aboriginal identity and for the delivery of vital services that all Australians agree Aboriginal people have a right to receive. But how much should Aboriginal identity and values affect the way that services are delivered and the kind of services delivered? Will this affect the quality of services? What are the best ways of assessing whether identity and values are being preserved and whether service is of high quality?

    More information

Post Graduate and Doctoral Researchers Working in the Broad Education and Learning Space:

  • to be confirmed

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