Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Deirdre Tedmanson

Main Campus

Applications Close
31 Jul 2022

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$35,000 p.a. available to domestic applicants only

About this project

This PhD project entitled: Sites of shame, colonial violence: towards healing? will use a critical theory/ decolonial framing of the violence and trauma perpetrated by the colonial project: and consider how and what might constitute ‘sites of healing’ – by, where and for whom? Qualitative participatory action research methodologies are preferred along with storytelling/storying narratives incorporating art/arts, history, law based participatory research processes including visual, oral, or other narrative methods. Aims are:

  • to work collaboratively with Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal stakeholders to explore sites of shame and trauma and which approaches open possibilities for healing
  • to facilitate a participatory, action research and/or art- based approaches as part of a collective journey, if supported by stakeholders to do so
  • to document insights into processes of engagement and consultation that enable communities to collaboratively embark on commemoration projects, if and how they may choose to do so
  • to provide a critical decolonial reflection on the processes involved in, and the impact of, approaches which seek to ‘rearrange the furniture of the heart’
  • to produce new understandings of the role of commemoration in the politics of place and the creation of new opportunities for dialogue
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars have studied sites of shame and violence such as site of Myall Massacre in NSW; Waterloo Bay massacre in SA and many others for their role in inter-generational trauma. The ‘Weeping Mother and Child’ memorial at site of former Colebrook home is part of a story of positive healing journey. However, theres been no healing in relation to the Kumarangk / Hindmarsh Island case.  Using a decolonial framing and privileging Aboriginal knowledges and experience, this project will explore the role of commemoration and site-making in creating contexts for more healing outcomes.

This project will sit alongside another project focused on Blackbirding' in Australia as part of a collaboration between UniSA Justice & Society and UniSA Creative. Since its inception, UniSA has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to Aboriginal engagement through its founding act and through initiatives such as the Aboriginal Taskforce, Australia’s first Aboriginal Tertiary Program, and Aboriginal Studies programs. UniSA was the first university in South Australia to have a Reconciliation Action (RAP), a guiding document to advance reconciliation across the organisation. This project contributes to UniSA’s commitment to Aboriginal engagement and will further its Stretch RAP commitment to working with Aboriginal people as documented in the recently released Yurirka: Proppa Engagement with Aboriginal Peoples to improve engagement with First Nations, and to redress past injustices; to decolonise. The research environment will provide the opportunity for the two projects and their supervisors and PhD candidates to work together closely with strong oversight and support through the office of Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy in a unique Aboriginal-centred collaboration.

Pursuant to Section 56 part 2 of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (as amended) (SA) applications are invited from Australian Aboriginal peoples only.

What you’ll do

The applicant will generate new research and participatory collaborations with Aboriginal communities and organisations in the site/s they focus on. The project will build on community engagement and this participatory collaboration will be critical to its formation, production, and dissemination. Focusing on Aboriginal knowledges, histories and experience the project will generate options for commemoration and storytelling.  The applicant will formulate the outputs which may be written or oral or art/arts based in nature, along with a critical analysis of approaches to sites of shame as potential sites for healing. Some travel may be required depending on the location of site/sites and Aboriginal groups the applicant engages with.

Upon completion of the project, the applicant will have generated a work of publishable standard or equivalent art/arts-based artifact of importance to the site and Aboriginal stakeholders involved.  The applicant will have the capacity to undertake independent research, to engage with qualitative, participatory and/or art/arts based/narrative methodologies, and to build a track record of critical or creative publications. They will also have an understanding of decolonial theory, Australian place-based politics or history and the ability to work with Aboriginal and other stakeholders in a collaborative manner.

The candidate will be supported by a supervisory team that has expertise in decolonial theory, First Nations research, qualitative and participatory research methodologies as well as creative forms of storytelling. The principal supervisor contact is the Dean of Programs for UniSA Justice & Society which spans research and programs in law, Aboriginal studies, social work, social science and psychology, and arts, who is an experienced PhD supervisor with many years of experience in participatory research with Aboriginal communities, and experience and knowledge of decolonial policy and practice important to the project. The Co-supervisors bring a combination of extensive experience and knowledge in Aboriginal policy and engagement, participatory research methodologies, decolonial theory, with award-winning backgrounds in First Nations storytelling and creative writing methodologies. Additional Aboriginal scholars are soon to join the supervisor panel which will be consistently Aboriginal led and informed. Each of the supervisors have connections to industry.

The candidate will have the opportunity to travel and to engage with communities relevant to their research. They will be part of a cohort of Aboriginal researchers involved in community engaged work and will have opportunities to collaborate with their peers via workshops and co-authorship of papers.

Supervisory Team
Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $35,000 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information.

Eligibility and Selection

Applications will only be considered from Australian Aboriginal Peoples for this position, under special measures pursuant to Section 56 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act 1984. You will be required to provide evidence of your Aboriginal heritage in your application.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

  • Identify as an Australian Aboriginal person and possess a demonstrated understanding of the issues impacting on the provision of services to, and workforce considerations for, Aboriginal communities.
  • Applicants should submit a full research proposal (approximately 2,500 words) that has been developed in consultation with the proposed lead supervisor. A template to guide this application is available here.
Applicants should provide a sample of their critical writing, and where appropriate also their creative writing (approximately 500 words).

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

While a full-time candidate is ideally sought, part-time candidature is also possible. Where feasible, the candidate is expected to be based in Adelaide, South Australia.

Essential Dates

For all projects: Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available.  Applications close on Sunday 5 June 2022.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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