Imagining a new way forward: a reciprocal research partnership for Indigenous thriving

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Prof Janet Mooney
Prof Rhonda Craven

For far too long, research has focused on what Indigenous people lack or do wrong, yet there are plenty examples of Indigenous success that we can learn from. There has never been a coordinated effort to understand how or why some Indigenous children, youth and communities can thrive, let alone how we can learn from their successes and emulate them more widely. Our focus is on solutions, not problems; on Indigenous strengths, not deficit approaches; and on success, not failure.

We will present a reciprocal research partnership model for Indigenous thriving, utilising a research framework founded upon both positive psychology principles and holistic Indigenous Australian worldviews. The model prioritises the voices and agency of Indigenous people and proposes that research be conducted in partnership as opposed to research being imposed on Indigenous communities and it focuses on Indigenous Australian strengths as opposed to deficit approaches. We will then describe our strengths-based approach and how its utilisation of Indigenous research methodologies in combination with Western approaches can contribute to a new approach to translational research of salience to Indigenous Australians and how, if successful, this new approach may also find application in other Indigenous populations.