Emergent reflections

A space where I can digest some thinking through the writing process - liminal, emergent and reflective.

Conference notes: Opening plenary panel

Margaret.OCONNELL's picture

Day 1 plenary panel discussion: What does action learning/action research mean in different contexts? Sharing perspectives...

Joan Gibbs and Uncle George talked first and Uncle said along the lines of 'if you talk too much (or too loud) you frighten things away (he was referring to taking young kids out into the bush to learn and that you can't talk because you frighten away the animals, etc that you're there to see.

Great metaphor (and reality) for our research - stop talking and start listening! When you do you can touch things, eat things, look at and interact with things; it's a two-way (are multi-way) process. This 'listening' point carried on through the conference proper too.

Ernie and Ricky also picked this up with Ernie's point that you just keep yarnin and you listen to the people.

Mick added his cooperative research viewpoint where

  • the research is what people want (a focus point)
  • that it transfers into practice (accountability)
  • is about capacity development (it's about US)

When we talk about things like the 'bottom line' for govt depts and business, etc, we need to also be talking about investing in commitment, where return on investment plus time amounts to the outcomes of that investment.

Aunty Coral next talked about the work she and other grannies are doing in a Grannie's Group, which is a volunteer group of women who look out for their children and their grandchildren and great grandchildren, to teach kids to steer away from drugs and alcohol. The grannies are facilitators and are investing in their future by looking after their kids. Inspirational!

I think it was Uncle George who said that we also need to acknowledge the intellectual property rights of Aboriginal peoples. To state their place and their voice in literature, reports, news, discussions, forums, conferences and other avenues where an Indigenous knowing is professed in some way.

One point I liked from Ernie was that we are research facilitators and while as academics we may have all this information in our heads, we need to do what Denzin and others call 'bracketing' where we contain our theoretical views and let others speak on their own terms. And, as Mick said, we need to get the big things down to eyeball chunks, otherwise the issues seem too big to deal with.

I've only captured some things and only the things I heard (from my place in the world) from the panel members; but it gave me a sense of the themes and talking points leading into the concurrent sessions that followed. A 'narrative arc' had been set, more than disparate conversations loosley joined (as I expect the experience of walking straight into concurrent sessions might be). I was left with a space to think, or, as another participant said, a breathing space...

...so I'll leave this here to give you some space to breath some life into these thoughts from your context and perspective...