Aboriginal Community Controlled Research

When:16 Apr 2019, 3pm - 4pm
Venue:CLB4, Central Lecture Block, UNSW Sydney
Who:Wendy Jopson and Professor Ilan Katz, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Wollemi Pine. Photo: C. Smyth

The National Health and Medical Research Council directs that ethical conduct of research upholds the rights and responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to be involved in all aspects of research undertaken in their communities and organisations. The NSW Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council Ethics Committee further extends ethical conduct in Aboriginal focused research to include the requirement that there is Aboriginal community control over all aspects of the proposed research including research design, ownership of data, data interpretation and publication of research findings.

This presentation will highlight and discuss what is meant by the term ‘Aboriginal community control’ of research, how human rights standards, such as the right to self-determination, are now key directives in the ethical principles and requirements in Aboriginal focused research. Aboriginal community control of research is a complex notion with multiple elements that are often local and contextualised. This presentation will discuss specific emergent elements that researchers need to be attentive to in research focusing on Aboriginal peoples, such as identification of who or what is ‘community’? What do we mean when we consult with ‘the Aboriginal community’? Who are we referring to? How is a collective representative consent obtained? Is participation in research the same as control? The presentation will draw from the recent experiences undertaking government commissioned research focusing on Aboriginal peoples in NSW and the realities of reconciling ethical conduct in Aboriginal research with commissioned research requirements.

Wendy Jopson was born in Redfern, Sydney, and is a proud descendant of Biripi and Yuin saltwater peoples of coastal NSW. Wendy has spent most of her life living, learning and working in Narooma (Brinja -Yuin) and holds Honours Degrees in Health Science from The University of Sydney majoring in Aboriginal Health and Aboriginal Community Development. Wendy has worked in the development of cultural programs for community health for over 30 years and her focus is Aboriginal Standpoint Methodology and Decolonising Discourse in Aboriginal research and program evaluation.

Ilan Katz joined the Social Policy Research Centre in January 2005. Prior to joining the SPRC he had several years of policy, practice and research experience in children and family services in the UK. He started his career as a social worker and manager, working in several local authorities and NGOs in London. He was head of Evaluation, Practice development and Research at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. After spending some time as a civil servant he returned to research to become Deputy Director of the Policy Research Bureau. His research interests include evaluation of complex interventions, parenting, child protection, youth justice, prevention and family support, children, families and communities, comparative child welfare systems, migration, race and ethnicity.