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Research seminar series

The Centre for Human Rights Education organises research seminars to allow for the dissemination and communication of our research and advocacy to the broader university and wider community. These one hour seminars will occur on a weekday afternoon at Curtin University. Seminars are coordinated by Centre Co-Directors Associate Professor Caroline Fleay and Dr Lisa Hartley with Gaylene Galardi.

Dr Kim Huynh

Seminar 2

25 May 2021 (Tuesday)

Amplifying Voices: Ways to interview and collaborate with folks on the margins

Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm

Venue: Building 211 Room 223 , Curtin University, Bentley

RSVP: Eventbrite


Dr Kim Huynh


In this presentation I consider how to bring together research, radio and storytelling methods to empower marginalised people, particularly forced migrants. Working for ABC Radio Canberra, I have produced interviews series with queer communities, carers and the people they care for, blokes and refugees. In particular, I produced a 15-part series with a Rohingya refugee who came to Australia as an unaccompanied youth. And for Refugee Week in 2020, I produced a series of interviews with my parents who escaped Vietnam in 1979. These series bring to light everyday stories that can invigorate both academic and public discourses. They foster empathy with the storytellers and more nuanced understandings of their marginalisation and agency. The series point to the possibility of using basic audiocraft and journalism skills to enhance the impact of scholarly research, especially in human rights and forced migration. In the presentation I cover the following questions.

  • Ethical: When is it safe, right and empowering for vulnerable folk to tell their stories?
  • Methodological: What tensions and opportunities are there in bringing together scholarly and journalistic endeavours?
  • Outreach: How can academics use radio and podcasting skills to widen their audience?
  • Technical: What sort of buttons should I press to add spark and wonder to my research?

About Kim Huynh

Kim Huynh has had a go at a few things. He teaches courses on refugee politics and political philosophy at the ANU. He’s written fiction (Vietnam as if…) and creative non-fiction (Where the Sea Takes Us). He’s researched the roles of children in global conflict and has published articles and essays for a range of news outlets. Kim ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 ACT Election ( and currently presents an ABC Radio Canberra program about culture and ideas called Sunday Brunch.

Marilyn Metta

Seminar 1

18 March 2021 (Thursday)

Unpacking Coercive Control: Seeing, Understanding and Acting

Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm

Venue: Bankwest Lecture Theatre, Building 200A.220, Curtin University, Bentley

RSVP: Eventbrite


Dr Marilyn Metta


Recently, the phrase coercive control has come into focus in the media and public forums but what does it actually mean? In this seminar, Dr Marilyn Metta will unpack what coercive control looks like in the contexts of intimate and familial relationships and workplaces.

Drawing from her current research project, Finding Metis: Women’s Stories of Resistance and Resilience through Intimate Abuse and Violence, she explores some of the lived experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) women who have experienced intimate abuse and coercive control as well as how they have resisted the coercive control and abuse.

In February this year, the NSW Government held a three-day inquiry into the proposed introduction of new coercive control legislation. Around the same time, Queensland Government announced plans to set up an independent taskforce to consult on potential coercive control legislation. Marilyn will unpack some of the current public conversations on coercive control and the calls to criminalise coercive control in Australia.

About Marilyn Metta

Marilyn is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology and is based at the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. Marilyn has published widely on intimate abuse and family violence and social justice. Marilyn has over 20 years’ experience working as a trauma counsellor with culturally diverse families and communities. Marilyn was the winner of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2011 Outstanding Qualitative Book Award for her book, Writing Against, Alongside and Beyond Memory: Lifewriting as Reflexive Poststructuralist Feminist Research Practice (2010). Her documentary film, How I Became A Refugee, has won several international film awards including the 2016 Award of Recognition at the Impact DOCS Award. She was the keynote speaker for the WA Museum’s campaign, 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women in 2018.

Marilyn is the CEO and Founder of The Metis Centre, a social justice organisation working to address gender inequality and violence against women and children. She is the Founder & Chairperson of Metamorphosis Inc, a not-for-profit charitable organisation working to provide access to education for refugee and stateless children and young people. She’s been awarded the 2021 Westpac Social Change Fellowship for her social impact initiative, Feeling Safe and Free.


Research Seminar Series 2019

Seminar 1

21 February 2019 (Thursday)

Farewell to freedom: and to the individual too

Time: 3 – 4pm

Venue: Education Boardroom, Level 3, Building 501, Curtin University, Bentley

RSVP: Eventbrite by 20 February 2019


Dr Riccardo Baldissone


There was a time before freedom, which first appeared in its Greek version eleutheria in the poems of Pindar, at the beginning of the fifth century BCE. Since then, a plurality of Greek, Latin, and then vernacular derived words not only populated Western texts, but variously shaped Western culture and politics. Nowadays, it seems impossible even to imagine a world after freedom, and after its (nominally) current bearer, the Western individual subject. Yet, one may suspect that such a double supposed impossibility makes us hostages of the neoliberal horizon, with its simplistic ideology of individual competition and its ferocious ethics of disregard for the others. What if each of us is trapped within an individual cage, and (individual) freedom is little more than the justification of this prison? The narration of the overlapping and interweaving stories of liberty, autonomy, and freedom over the last twenty-five centuries may help us to bid farewell to both freedom and the individual, in order to let another world grow: a world in which human dignity and respect are built on the careful participation in the life of each other.

About Riccardo Baldissone

Fellow at the University of Westminster, London. Riccardo has reconsidered human rights discourse within the modern theoretical framework: furthering his genealogical commitment, his research spans the Greek construction of the logic of identity, the evolution of the logic of analogy in Roman law, the medieval emergence of conceptual discourse, and the transformations of modern naturalism. Riccardo is currently working at a genealogy of the Western notions of freedom.

Among his recent publications: ‘Towards a Grammar of the Multiverse: A Genealogical Reconsideration of Humans and Places,’ in Diaspora, Law and Literature, Daniela Carpi and Klaus Stierstorfer eds. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016); ‘Mystical Bodies and Bodies of Law: On Juridical Theology and the (Re)Foundations of the West,’ in Fables of the Law, Daniela Carpi and Marett Leiboff eds. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016); ‘With Teeth and Nails: The Embodied Inservitude of Étienne de La Boétie,’ in Performing the Renaissance Body, Sidia Fiorato and John Drakakis eds. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016).

 Academia webpage:

Research Seminar Series 2018

Seminar 1

28 March 2018 (Wednesday)

Paying Attention is a Moral Act

Time: 3 – 4pm

Venue: CAS Boardroom, Building 211, Curtin University, Bentley

Event booking site: Eventbrite


Rosemary Sayer and Reneé Pettitt-Schipp


Accepting the Stella Prize in 2016, author Charlotte Wood stated that ‘paying attention is a moral act.’  Wood tells us that to write truthfully ‘is to honour the luck and intricate detail of being alive.’

In this presentation Rosemary Sayer and Renee Pettitt-Schipp will reflect on how the recording and sharing of personal stories is an act of attentiveness, as well as a deliberate disruption to the growing nationalism within the dominant Australian and global discourse.

Schaffer and Smith argue that ‘personal narratives expand audiences around the globe to be educated about human rights issues.’  Through the lens of their own creative non-fiction, Rosemary and Renee will explore the ‘luck and intricate detail of being alive’ in the stories of those who live on the margins.

They will discuss the underrepresented stories of refugees and asylum seekers in Western Australia and the contested nature of borders and its impact on refugees and asylum seekers – particularly those living on Christmas and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands used by the Australian Government for detention purposes.

About Rosemary Sayer

Rosemary Sayer is a creative non-fiction writer and former journalist currently undertaking a PhD in life writing and human rights at Curtin University.  She has written three non-fiction books and her most recent book ‘More to the story – conversations with refugees’ was published in 2015. Her research interests are life writing, refugees and the power of personal stories. Rosemary has lived and worked throughout Asia and Australia and has lectured and tutored in refugee rights at the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

About Reneé Pettitt-Schipp

Reneé Pettitt-Schipp is an award winning writer and educator who lived in the Indian Ocean Territories from 2011 until 2014. Renee’s work with asylum seekers in detention on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) islands,  inspired her first collection of poetry, ‘The Sky Runs Right Through Us’. This manuscript was shortlisted for the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize in 2015, and was released with UWA Publishing in February 2018. Reneé is currently writing a creative non-fiction thesis about her experiences in the Indian Ocean Territories as part of her doctoral studies at Curtin University.


Seminar 2

24 May 2018 (Thursday)

Current Challenges for Human Rights Education: The Chilean Case

Time: 12 – 1pm

Venue: Education Boardroom, Building 501, Curtin University, Bentley

Event booking site: Eventbrite


Enrique Azúa, head of education and public engagement at the National Institute for Human Rights in Chile.

About the speaker:

Born in Chile, Enrique Azúa completed a teaching degree in history and geography at the University of Santiago and postgraduate studies in education and public policy at the University of Chile, and is currently completing a Master degree in history and political science. After working as a public school teacher in Santiago during the 1980s and 1990s, Azúa was national consultant in human rights education at Chile’s Ministry of Education between 2004 and 2010, and since then he has been head of education and public engagement at Chile’s National Institute for Human Rights. Azúa has also been a member of several multidisciplinary research teams in the area of education in Chile and is sole author and co-author of numerous primary and secondary school text books on social science subjects, as well as co-author of academic articles on human rights.


Seminar 3

5 June 2018 (Tuesday)

The UN Global Compact for Refugees and Migrants: The Role of Science and Civil Society

Time: 3 – 4pm

Venue: Centre for Aboriginal Studies Boardroom, Building 211, Curtin University, Bentley

Event booking site: Eventbrite


Professor Ellen Percy Kraly, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography at Colgate University in New York and adjunct Professor in Humanities at Curtin University who is visiting the School of MCASI as a member of the ARC ‘Ancestor’s Words’ Project led by Professor Anna Haebich.

About the speaker:

Ellen Percy Kraly, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Geography. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Curtin University in recognition of her role in the return of a collection of Aboriginal children’s artwork to Western Australia.

Her current research program has three themes:(1) refugee policy and forced migration; (2) ethical and human rights dimensions of the use of archival and population data systems in policy and administration, with particular reference to Aboriginal affairs in Australia; and (3) population and community health issues in rural communities.

She served as co-editor of the book, The Demography of Refugees and Forced Migration (Springer 2018). She is currently participating in a project, funded by the Australian Research Council, to decolonise government records concerning Noongar people in Western Australia. She was editor-in-chief of the International Migration Review, a peer reviewed journal published by the Center for Migration Studies (New York), 2011-14. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Immigration Statistics and has prepared reports on topics including international migration data for the United Nations Statistical Commission, National Academy of Sciences, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration.

At Colgate University, she teaches courses in population geography, international migration and refugee studies, health geography, environmental studies, and research methods. She is an elected member of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, serving as chair beginning July 2017. Between 2006-2011 she served as director of Colgate’s Upstate Institute, an initiative of Colgate University to promote community based research and capacity building in the upstate region of New York. Within the upstate region of New York, she serves on the board of directors of several organizations including the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, Adirondack Research Consortium, and the Oneida Community Mansion House. She has also served on the board of the Community Foundation of Central New York. She serves as a strategic advisor to the Sustain for Life Foundation, international charity working to empower people to create sustainable livelihoods. In preparation for the United Nations General Assembly Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016 and the Global Compact on Migration and Refugees in 2018, she serves as a member of the Civil Society Committee as a representative of the demographic research community.


Seminar 4

20 June 2018 (Wednesday)

Authentic Youth Engagement: Supporting Youth Activism

Time: 3 – 4pm

Venue: Building 211, Room 226, Curtin University, Bentley

Event booking site: Eventbrite

Speaker: Professor Shirley Steinberg, Research Professor of Critical Youth Studies at the University of Calgary

About the Seminar:

How do we engage youth? What is our role in supporting and facilitating youth activism? An essential part of youth work is to redefine how our culture tends to read youth. Authentic engagement makes critical the ways in which we work with, and also stand aside at different times. This presentation is partially based on the work celebrated in “Activists Under 30: Global Youth, Social Justice, and Hood Work”. (2018). Steinberg, SR. Brill/Sense Publishers: Leiden, NL.

About the Speaker:

Shirley R. Steinberg is a Research Professor of Critical Youth Studies at the University of Calgary. She is the author and editor of many books in critical pedagogy and cultures, urban and youth culture, critical qualitative research, and cultural studies. Originally a social/improvisational theatre creator, she has facilitated happenings and flash mobs globally. A regular contributor to CBC Radio One, CTV, The Toronto Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and Canadian Press, she is an internationally known speaker and teacher. She is the organizer of International Institute of Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Leadership, and is committed to a global community of transformative educators and community workers engaged in radical love, social justice, and the situating of power within social and cultural contexts, specifically involving youth.

Shirley’s work focuses on the cultural/social/education development of youth, and critical community involvement. She is concerned with how society views young people, and her work creates an environment in which youth are viewed as positive democratic agents within society. As a Research Chair, she has established an international network of youth and community workers engaged in a critical pedagogical approach to activism and pedagogy. Her work is currently focused on issues of Islamophobia, Empowerment of Youth and Women, and Authentic Community Engagement.

Research Seminar Series 2017

Seminar 1: 4 May 2017

Examining ethical and epistemological issues in human rights-oriented collaborative and community-based research

Venue: Centre for Aboriginal Studies Boardroom (Building 211), Curtin University, Bentley

Speaker: Dr Lisa Hartley, Senior lecturer, Centre for Human Rights Education


A central mission of the Centre for Human Rights Education is to engage in community-based, human rights-oriented research. At the same time, critical analyses of these modes of research and the complex ethical questions they raise for community-university collaborations specifically and for social science and the humanities research more broadly, is essential. Drawing on case studies from research conducted with people seeking asylum and refugees, and community organisations seeking to bring about systematic change, and this presentation will reflect on the ethical and epistemological issues that arise when conducting community-based and collaborative research.

About Lisa Hartley

Lisa’s interdisciplinary teaching and research is focused on questions of human rights and social change and is driven by a desire to bridge the gap between theory and practice. As a research active and teaching academic, the integration of community engagement, teaching, and scholarly research is germane to Lisa’s academic life. Lisa’s research cuts across the fields of refugee and migrant studies, sociology, and community and social psychology. Her research interests include refugee resettlement issues; the rights of refugees and asylum seekers; and prejudice towards marginalised social groups and interventions to reduce prejudice. Lisa also has extensive community-based experience in casework and advocacy, particularly working with asylum seekers in immigration detention and refugees in the community.


Seminar 2: 13 July 2017

From ‘Boy Overboard’ (2002) to ‘The Bone Sparrow’ (2016): Refugee and Asylum Seeker Activism in Australian Fiction for Young People.

Venue: Room 214, Building 209, Curtin University, Bentley

Booking site


Dr Debra Dudek (CHRE visiting researcher), Senior Lecturer in the School of English Literatures, University of Wollongong, Australia, and Director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies


In Literary Activists: Writer-Intellectuals and Australian Public Life, Brigid Rooney notes, “Contemporary Australian writers have been blamed for shying away from political engagement, from the big national issues of the day,” but Australian authors who write for young people regularly represent such big national issues, including the government’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. In this paper, I examine some of the texts for young people that overtly respond to the Australian government’s actions against refugees and asylum seekers. I start with Morris Gleitman’s Boy Overboard, the first book to engage pointedly with this issue, and end with Zana Fraillon’s The Bone Sparrow, the most recent novel in this genre. I outline how these texts represent activism and/or advocate for behaving in ways that promote social justice for refugees and asylum seekers, and I suggest they invite a consideration of friendship as a model for justice.

About Debra Dudek

Dr Debra Dudek works at the University of Wollongong as a Senior Lecturer in English Literatures and as Director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies. She researches and teaches in the area of social justice and children’s literature and has published internationally on visual and verbal texts for young people in journals such as Papers, JeunesseChildren’s Literature in Education, ArielCanadian Review of Comparative Literature, and Overland and in books including Keywords for Children’s Literature (NYU Press, 2011) and Seriality and Young People’s Texts (Palgrave 2014). Her book The Beloved Does Not Bite: Moral Vampires and the Humans Who Love Them is forthcoming from Routledge in August 2017. Debra is a visiting researcher at the CHRE for the first half of 2017.


Seminar 3: 7 September 2017

‘Ancestors’ Words: Noongar writing in WA government archives (1860-1960)’

Venue: Boardroom, Level 1, Building 211 (Centre for Aboriginal Studies)

Booking site


Dr Elfie Shiosaki, Curtin Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich and Darryl Kickett.

Seminar summary

The archives in Western Australia contain hundreds of letters written by Noongar people between 1860 and 1960. Captured in the letters are many silenced stories of courage and activism. This research project will reunite letters with descendants of the letter writers. With these hidden stories restored to the families, the letters will come alive and once again be part of the Noongar living culture and history.

About the Speakers:

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich has a career combining university research, community engagement, visual arts and non-fiction writing. Her forthcoming publication is Dancing in Shadows: Histories of Nyungar Performance.

Dr Elfie Shiosaki is an Indigenous Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) at Curtin University.

Darryl Kickett a Nyungar man who enjoys the company of his loving family and enjoys important relationships with his mob across Nyungar country, and his many many friends. Winner of the 2013 National Naidoc Person of the Year Award. Worked over the years in management for land rights higher education and health. Currently returning old letters found in archives to the families in Curtin university’s Ancestors Words Letters research project. Is still active in healing work and promoting an Aboriginal Terms of Reference.