Oral History NSW
Giving Voice to the Past
Giving Voice to the Past

Indigenous Oral Histories Seminar

Saturday 29 July, 2017
11am-12.45pm (morning tea will be provided from 10:30am)
History House, 133 Macquarie St, Sydney.

From community-driven and university-based projects, to the collecting initiatives of libraries, archives and museums, the oral history work being undertaken with Indigenous communities across Australia is extensive.
In this seminar, you’ll hear from Associate Professor Heidi Norman, who has expertise in conducting research about Aboriginal land rights, Dr. Dino Hodge, an activist and academic renowned for his explorations of Indigenous Australian queer histories, and archivist Kirsten Thorpe, who leads the Indigenous Services team at the State Library of NSW. The session will be chaired by Kate Waters – an experienced professional historian with expertise in ethical approaches to conducting oral history interviews with Aboriginal communities.

Topics covered include:

  • Consulting and collaborating with Indigenous interviewees
  • Working with Indigenous communities 
  • Ethical issues and ownership of the interviews
  • Sharing stories, culture, and history
  • Engaging with intimate and sensitive topics
  • Establishing relationships based on mutual respect and reciprocity

Drawing on the speakers’ diverse experiences, this seminar is for anyone interested in oral history work with members of Indigenous communities.


For all enquiries please contact Cheryl Ware at events@oralhistorynsw.org.au

About the Presenters

Heidi NormanHeidi Norman is an Associate Professor in the Communication Program at the University of Technology Sydney.  She researchers and publishes in the areas of NSW Aboriginal history and politics.  Her most recent book is titled, What Do We Want? A Political History of Aboriginal Land Rights in NSW.  In this first-ever study of land rights in NSW she documents the movement for land rights and how those laws changed the relationship between Aboriginal people and the state, and one another.  She is an award-winning researcher and teacher: in 2015 she was awarded the UTS research excellence medal for collaboration and in 2016 the National Teaching Excellence Award for her work in Indigenous studies.  She is a descendant of the Gomeroi people from north western NSW, a member of the NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs Research advisory Board, AIATSIS and Congress. 


Dino HodgeDino Hodge – Konstantino Hadjikakou – is author/(co)editor of six books utilising oral history methodology. Four of these books consider themes of indigeneity and intersectionality across either health, education, queer studies or social justice. His oral history book about Darwin’s multi-racial gay community has been adapted for theatre performance in the Northern Territory, and in New York for the 1994 Pride festival. The research informed the exhibition Pride NT: Our Queer History held at the NT Library in 2015. Dino has a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne, and is an Honorary Senior Fellow with the University’s Centre for Indigenous Studies.


Kirsten ThorpeKirsten Thorpe is the Manager, Indigenous Services at the State Library of New South Wales. The Branch was established in 2013 to further develop the delivery of collections and services to Indigenous people in NSW. Kirsten is an Indigenous Australian woman, descendant of the Worimi people of Port Stephens NSW. Kirsten’s professional and research interests relate to the return of archival sources of material to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Kirsten is also interested in the opportunities that the digital domain present for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be actively involved in managing their cultural heritage resources. Kirsten is the Convenor of the Australian Society of Archivists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Special Interest Group and a member of the National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) Indigenous Working Group.


Kate WatersKate Waters is a non-Indigenous historian and cultural heritage specialist who has been working for over twenty years in the field of Indigenous history and heritage; this work has been undertaken in collaboration with Aboriginal communities throughout south eastern Australia. She completed her undergraduate studies in history at the University of Sydney and her postgraduate studies at the University of Technology in public history. Kate owns and runs Waters Consultancy, a company specialising in Indigenous cultural heritage assessment, stakeholder engagement and facilitation, forensic genealogical research, and place-centred historical research. She regards the question of what it means, and how to achieve, ethical engagement with Aboriginal people, Aboriginal communities, and Aboriginal knowledge, as one that must be continuously considered and reassessed and that should be at the forefront of professional and academic practice.


Registration fees

Members of Oral History NSW: $20 
Non-Members: $30