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Past events


17 February 2017

Seeking Refuge in Australia: Contested Policies and Community Responses – Seeking Refuge WA Launch

On the 17th of February 2017, The Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) hosted an event at Curtin University titled ‘Seeking Refuge in Australia: Contested Policies and Community Responses’. The public event, attended by more than 450 people, included a lecture given by The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG and the launch of the Seeking Refuge WA crowdfunding campaign.

For more information please go to:


10 December 2016

Human Rights Day event 2016

For Human Rights Day 2016, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, Mary Ann Kenny, Baden Offord, John Ryan and Yasue Arimitsu will be sharing the stories and books that have influenced and impacted upon their enduring human rights work. Join us for an afternoon of celebrating courage in adversity, tolerance and understanding, and above all else—our common humanity.

For more information please go to:

15 September 2016

Seminar with Josh Pallas

Josh’s presentation outlined the Australian legal system’s approach to determining LGBTIQ asylum applications from a recent historical perspective, and details a number of cases that demonstrate the prevailing discriminatory attitudes of the Australian Courts. He provided an analysis of the treatment of LGBTIQ Asylum Seekers under Australian law through a queer theoretical lens, and concluded that the current approach is unacceptable.

For more information please go to:

9 September 2016

Research Seminar with Associate Professor Nina Burridge

Associate Professor Burridge’s presentation focused on how as academics, in their own distinct subjects, courses and faculties, encompass the mission of producing active global citizens for the common good.

For more information please go to:

26 August 2016

Public lecture and Curtin LGBTIQ Collaborative Research Network launch with the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG visited Curtin University in August 2016 to deliver a public lecture on confronting homophobia in his new role as Patron of the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE). During his visit, Mr Kirby also launched the new Curtin LGBTIQ Collaborative Research Network.

A panel of researchers presented their research, including Associate Professor Sam Winter via video, followed by Dr Deborah Hunn, Dr Christopher Fisher, Professor Baden Offord, and early career researchers including Misty Farquhar, Joni Lariat, and Matt Roberts.

For more information please go to:

6 August 2016

CHRE Annual Postgraduate Colloquium, Curtin University

The Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) ran the annual postgraduate colloquium for all CHRE postgraduate students who were encouraged to present a 10 minute presentation. Presentations focused on elements of their PhD research. There were 6 student presenters plus a presentation by CHRE researchers on “Reflections on Research.”

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17 June 2016

Public Talk, Zunar Australian Tour – Perth, Curtin University

This event was co-hosted by the the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts and the Centre for Human Rights Education.

For more information:

12 May 2016

Inaugural Annual Curtin University Human Rights Lecture, Curtin University

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs presented the Inaugural Annual Curtin University Human Rights Lecture to over 360 people in the Elizabeth Jolley Lecture Theatre at Curtin University.

The Inaugural Annual Curtin University Human Rights Lecture is an important new initiative of the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) and it was excellent to have Professor Triggs as the first speaker for this annual lecture.

For more information please go to:

5 May 2016

Our Stories – Our Way: Indigenous Oral History Symposium, State Library of Western Australia

A collaborative symposium that was a coming together of community members and researchers to explore new methodologies for recording Indigenous oral histories. These methodologies recognise Indigenous ways of knowing and empower Indigenous people to record their own stories, in their own way.

Session 1: Oral history symposium with Dr Nepia Mahuika, University of Waikato, Dr Lorina Barker, University of New England, Brenda Gifford, National Film and Sound Archive, Dr Michelle Johnston, Curtin University, Damien Webb, Storylines, and Michelle White, Community Arts Network (CAN).

Session 2: Oral history workshop with Dr Nepia Mahuika and Dr Sue Anderson, University of South Australia.

For more information: Download the flyer [PDF 771 kB].

29 February 2016

Critical Disability Studies Research Network Launch

The Curtin Critical Disability Studies Research Network was officially launched in February 2016 with a keynote presentation on Re-imagining Australia by Graeme Innes AM, LLB, FAICD, Chair of the Attitude Foundation and former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Graeme gave an inspiring talk about the changes in the lives of people with disabilities over the past ten years and his vision for the future.

For more information please go to:


19 October 2015

Public lecture with Emeritus Professor Magnus Haavelsrud

In celebration of Nonviolence Month 2015, the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) hosted a public lecture with Emeritus Professor Magnus Haavelsrud from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology titled, ‘Practicing nonviolence in education’. The event was supported by the Faculty of Humanities and was attended by just over 40 people at Curtin University, including the President of the International Centre of Non-Violence (ICON) Australia, Mr Gambhir Watts OAM, who through ICON introduced Nonviolence Month in 2014.

For more information please go to:

Research seminar with Dr Rob Garbutt

At a well attended event on 8 October 2015, Dr Rob Garbutt demonstrated how colonial-Aboriginal reconciliation was supported by public engagement in an Aboriginal heritage signage project at the Lismore Showground in rural New South Wales.

Rob, a teaching-research scholar at Southern Cross University, demonstrated how the Lismore Show Aboriginal Committee’s Aboriginal Heritage Signage Project, disturbed a ‘settled space’ of contemporary Australia. Settled regions, in the southeast and southwest of the nation are contrasted with unsettled spaces – wilderness, desert and, sometimes, Aboriginal lands. These representations provide a spatial context for embodied senses of self and belonging that pattern the everyday politics. Rob’s paper examined how an embodied, practice-led research methodology could represent settled Australia as spaces of multiplicity, where stories layer landscape in ways that insert a stutter into dominant narratives of place. That is, through the signage project, the landscape was retold as layered, as a place of multiplicities, of multicultural encounters.

In Lismore, rural NSW, western industrial agriculture dominates a hinterland that appears cleared of Aboriginal presence. A rural Australian subjectivity has installed itself and made itself at home. Nowhere was this exemplified more than at the Lismore Showground where the Agricultural and Industrial Society holds its annual three-day exhibition or “Show”. However, through the reflexive, practice-led methodology that developed during the project participants experienced an embodied cultural encounter in the landscape. This encounter between local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team members produced interpretive signs that use direct language to transform a settled gathering place into a place of ongoing multiplicity and encounter over millennia to the present. By avoiding reductive representations, the signs produce their own encounter with people and stories in a decolonising landscape.

Held at Curtin University’s Bentley campus on Noongar country, Rob’s presentation was organised by The Centre for Human Rights Education and the Department of Communication and Cultural Studies. Dr Garbutt’s research interests include cultural studies pedagogy, research methods and projects that work at the intersections of place, identity and belonging. Garbutt, a bricoleur in the academy, has published in a range of journals and edited books. His authored books include The Locals (2011) andInside Australian Culture (co-authored in 2015).

(Written by Dr Thor Kerr)

If you would like to listen to Rob’s presentation online, please click here. The presentation is best heard with earphones.

CHRE Mini Symposium

On 7 October 2015, the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) hosted a public mini symposium titled, ‘Social Change and Activism’. The event was attended by 30 people at Curtin University.

After an introduction to the day by Dr Caroline Fleay, Senior Lecturer at the CHRE, Dr Sonia Tascon from the University of the Sunshine Coast presented ‘The Power of Images: Thinking Through Films for Activism‘. Sonia’s presentation was based on one of the most often used reasons for using films in the realm of activism, being that they are powerful. For the activist, concerned mainly with the content of the film, this means that films produce an emotional effect that lingers beyond the film, and may engender action for social change in their audiences. For those concerned with film and filmmaking, this power has aesthetic, ethical and political dimensions, and films’ interrogation needs to occur not only for their narrative dimensions but also the style in which the message is produced. This has ethical and political implications, they would say, particularly to do with representation. In here talk, Sonia engaged with this tension as two different sets of demands are made of films for activism, and considered how we can navigate them productively, particularly the murky terrain of representation.

Dr Marilyn Metta from the Department of Social Sciences and International Studies at Curtin University followed with her presentation ‘What does social activism in young people look like? Engaging young people in social change through participatory social research and activism.’ In her presentation, she shared some stories about a new social activism project, Understanding through participation: Fostering cross-cultural understandings in schools. The aim of the project is to investigate the current attitudes and perceptions towards asylum seekers and refugees amongst students, and how to engage young people in crafting creative responses to the issues facing asylum seekers and refugees in Australia and globally. You can find out more about the project here:

There was a short break for morning tea. Dr Lisa Hartley, Senior Lecturer at the CHRE, then introduced the third speaker, Greg Watson. Greg’s presentation was titled ‘“This is really something I can do”: Learning about social change and activism in local communities.‘ Greg discussed his research and work with Human Libraries that provides spaces in which people, who may otherwise never speak to each other, engage in face-to-face dialogue about difference, prejudice and stereotypes.

Dr Rob Garbutt who joined us from Southern Cross University followed, with his presentation ‘Human rights and modes of existence‘. The presentation was designed as an exploration for opening a discussion on the topic, that is, of how Latour’s (2013, 488-9) “modes of existence” might engage with human rights.

The floor was opened for questions from the audience after each presentation. You can listen to the presentations from Dr Sonia Tascon and Dr Marilyn Metta here, and from Greg Watson and Dr Rob Garbutt here. Due to technical faults on the day, the presentations on screen were not recorded. Please close the viewing box with the green screen and enlarge the screen with the video for optimal viewing.

Thank you to all presenters for their time in sharing their research at the symposium.