This event has ended. View the official site or create your own event → Check it out
This event has ended. Create your own
Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
Watch this space for information updates. 

DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



View analytic
Wednesday, November 30 • 10:00am - 11:00am
Oral Histories, Indigenous Stories, and Ways of Knowing :: 2B11

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule and see who's attending!

Ariella Van Luyn: Artful life stories: authorised theft and oral histories

‘Maris Dissents’ is a fictive short story based on an oral history interview: a form of authorised theft. The story demonstrates the way imagination can intersect with historical evidence to explore emotional and narrative constructions of the past. While, the oral history is given with permission, the interviewee’s name is changed in the story to demonstrate the fictional quality of the work and to protect their anonymity. This story is part of my on-going creative practice investigating the ways creative writers can imaginatively engage with historical sources to represent the past, and the relationship between historical fiction, historical evidence, and representations of the past. In-keeping with creative practice-led research methodology, I engaged deeply with the scholarship around oral history and historical fiction to produce the creative work.

Oral histories can be rich sources of personal, affective knowledge about the past, and demonstrate the ways history ‘lives on in the present’ (Grele 2006, p.59). Similarly, historical fiction is a form that is a product of the present imaginatively representing the past. This quality of historical fiction can draw attention to the nature of historical knowledge (Pinto 2010). Thus, historical fiction informed by oral histories has the capacity to explore the personal impact of historical events, and in doing so, draw attention to the narrative construction of the past. This short story demonstrates the way fiction can be a means of drawing attention to the day-to-day lives of people in the past, often lost to historians, and their means of sense-making, which is often an on-going process. In this way, the story demonstrates how historical fiction, though fictional techniques, allows an occupation of a character’s subjectivity, and in doing so, demonstrates the personal significance of past events.


Pip Newling: ‘Teaching writing, teaching whiteness with Fiona Nicoll and Kim Scott’ 

This paper retells the semester-long experiment I ran teaching a subject titled ‘Writing across borders’ at the University of Wollongong in 2016. Using Kim Scott’s novel That Deadman Dance as the spine of the course, students addressed the literary techniques of cross-cultural writing, magical realism, metafiction, creative nonfiction and cross-platform writing. With the focus on Scott’s novel came the focus on race and on Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships in Australia and the stories told of these relationships. I employed Fiona Nicoll’s approach to race discussions in the classroom by utilising her concept of critical whiteness theory and the significance of Indigenous sovereignty to discussions of this ilk. I also used her 2004 essay ‘Are you calling me a racist?’ (Nicoll, 2004) as a guide and companion across the course. Was it a success? Depending on the measure – student engagement, experimenting with the course ideas in their work, richness of the classroom discussions – the outcomes were a mixed bag. But was it fruitful, challenging and rewarding? Yes. Would I do it again? Of course. 

Penelope Jones: Memorials and Remembering: Ways of including Indigenous Pasts and People

Australia is a post-colonial society, with the trauma and cruelty of the colonisation process still affecting both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies, and it asks we, as writers, to consider ethical questions and the creative writing practice of how to honour Indigenous pasts and re-present Indigenous people and issues. To be able to address current issues, I argue that we need to continue to acknowledge and understand the past, accept historical consequence and the legacy given to us by our past generations, to sustain a dialogue of empowerment and positive change in Australian fiction writing for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. 

Jen Crawford & Paul Collis: Five Groundings for Indigenous Story in the Australian Creative Writing Classroom

“All Australian children deserve to know the country that they share through the stories that Aboriginal people can tell them,” write Gladys Idjirrimoonra Milroy and Jill Milroy. If country and story, place and voice are intertwined, it is vital that we make space in Australian creative writing classrooms for the reading and writing of indigenous story. What principles and questions can allow us to begin?
     We propose five groundings for this work:

1  There is no such thing as indigenous story, and yet it can be performed and known.  

2  Indigenous story is literary history, literary history is creative power.

3  We do culture together: culture becomes in collaboration, conscious or unconscious.

4  Country speaks, to our conceptions of voice and point of view.

5  Story transmits narrative responsibility.  Narrative responsibility requires ‘fierce listening’. 


Natalie Kon-Yu

Victoria University
Natalie Kon-yu is a writer, academic and a commissioning editor of both Just between Us: Australian Writers Tell the Truth about Female Friendship (2013) and Mothers and Others: Why not all Women are Mothers and not all Mothers are the Same (2015). She is a lecturer at Victoria University where she is currently researching gender bias in the literary prize culture, and her critical and creative work has been published nationally and... Read More →


Paul Collis

University of Canberra
Dr Paul Collis is a Barkindji man from Bourke, on the Darling River in north-west New South Wales. He is a fiction writer and poet who draws upon both Aboriginal and Western narrative traditions in his work,  and is the 2016 winner of the David Unaipon Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of Canberra, where he earned a PhD in Communications and was the winner of the Herbert Burton Medal, its most prestigious... Read More →

Jen Crawford

University of Canberra
Dr Jen Crawford is an Assistant Professor of Writing within the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. She has also taught in New Zealand and Singapore. Her most recent collections of poetry are Lichen Loves Stone (Tinfish Press, 2015), Koel (Cordite Books, 2016) and 5,6,7,8, co-authored with Owen Bullock, Monica Carroll and Shane Strange (Recent Work Press, 2016). 
avatar for Penelope Jones

Penelope Jones

HDR Student, Deakin University
I have completed a double degree in Creative/Professional Writing and Literary studies at Deakin University, graduating with honours. I'm currently a PhD Candidate, at Deakin University.

Ariella Van Luyn

James Cook University
Ariella Van Luyn works as a lecturer in writing at James Cook University, Townsville. Her research interests are historical fiction, oral history, community storytelling and practice-led research. Her manuscript was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards 2012. She is the author of a novel, Treading Air.

Pip Newling

Honorary Postdoctoral Associate, University of Wollongong
Dr Pip Newling is a Honorary Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Wollongong where she received her Doctor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) in 2015. She has taught into the creative writing and professional writing programs at RMIT Melbourne, University of Wollongong and Open Universities Australia. She is a published author, her publications include a memoir Knockabout Girl (HCA 2007), and creative nonfiction essays in... Read More →

Wednesday November 30, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
2B11 Building 2

Attendees (13)