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Real-time wrap of the #CroakeyREAD conversations and news (part one)

Welcome to our first ever #CroakeyREAD event. We will be updating this post overnight. The conversations kicked off at 6.30pm with introductions and acknowledgements, ahead of this fabulous program of guest tweeters.


The stories behind a landmark text, Yatdjuligin

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement), University of Queensland, talked with Associate Professor Odette Best and QUT’s Mr Ali Drummond about the history and impact of the first edition of Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care.

Read more about Aunty Ivy Booth’s story here.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks tweeted:

The back story is important because it was an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander driven project. It was from us, about us. It was not easy & required commitment, vision, belief & advocacy to make it happen. We backed ourselves & each other & made it real!

Odette wanted me to be involved & to work with her to make it happen. We came to the agreement that if we worked hard & with integrity & support for each other & the work we could do it. It has been an absolute privilege & an honour being part of #Yatdjuligin! #CroakeyREAD

The 1st Edition of #Yatdjuligin was launched at @CQUni in 2014. The 2nd Edition of Yatdjuligin will be featured at a National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander nursing celebratory event being held at @USQNews on 09 July! https://www.usq.edu.au/events/2018/07/naidoc-week/naidoc-honouring-elders

We held several writing workshops for each edition of Yatdjuligin. A couple at the Oodgeroo Unit @QUT hosted by A/Prof Odette Best @blacknursinghx & one at @CQUni Cairns hosted by myself. These were all held on weekends & attended by most authors.

For that 1st Edition we knew if we were going to make #Yatdjuligin happen we needed to commit our own time & our own monies. We supported the work & backed each other. We got ourselves to some of the writing sessions & billeted each other in some cases.

The first full copy edit of #Yatdjuligin was supported through a grant from @NIRAKN & from monies contributed by myself & Odette Beat @blacknursinghx. As we said we backed ourselves, each other & the authors.

We explained to the authors that this was about all of us & that they / we all needed to do the work, we needed to put out & not expect Odette or me or the publisher’s representatives to run after us.

There was no payment for authors of #Yatdjuligin. If we wanted to enact all that the book meant & all that the words #Yatdjuligin meant & keep it at an accessible price, then this is what we needed to do. The royalties paid went into copy editing the 2nd Edition.

We originally circulated a call for chapters in 2012 -2013. We wanted to be inclusive as we could. Some people said they wanted to be involved but didn’t have time. Others weren’t interested. And, others jumped at the opportunity to be involved in #Yatdjuligin.

Some of the authors in the 1st Edition are also in the 2nd Edition & others are not as people move on. We understand not everyone will move from each Edition of #Yatdjuligin and that peoples lives change.

Anyone wanting to be involved needs to respond when we advertise & put out calls for chapters for each edition. At the end of the day, people have to submit their abstracts & their chapters by the deadlines to be included in #Yatdjuligin.

#Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care won the EPA 2015 Tertiary (Wholly Aust) Teaching & Learning Resource Award! See the story at http://ow.ly/TtabG 

#Yatdjuligin was the first of its kind in Australia & a first in the world! A/Prof Odette Best has had contact from Native American Nurses, Māori Nurses & other Nurses wanting to produce a similar book. She has encouraged them all to just ‘Go for it’.

A/Prof Ray Lovett began his health career as a Nurse & has been a long term, strong advocate for improvements in Indigenous health! We also get excited by his Indigenous health research contributions! Ray is one of the terrific authors in #Yatdjuligin!

Machellee Kosiak is a Registered Nurse & Midwife and teaches nursing & midwifery students! We are proud that Indigenous nurses like Machellee are helping to train Australia’s future health workforce!

Nicole Ramsamy has spent years working as a Nurse in remote communities in North Queensland & is dedicated to improving Indigenous health outcomes! Nicole is one of the amazing authors in #Yatdjuligin! She’s engaged in nursing practice & nursing leadership everyday!

Prof Juanita Sherwood is one of the contributors to #Yatdjuligin & continues to make a difference to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & wellbeing outcomes through teaching, research, writing, leading, advocacy, giving & more!

Dr Raelene Ward is one of the contributors to #Yatdjuligin & continues to make a difference to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & wellbeing outcomes through teaching, research, writing, leading, advocacy, giving & more! #USQ #CroakeyREAD

Lynore Geia is one of the contributors to #Yatdjuligin & continues to make a difference to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & wellbeing outcomes through teaching, research, writing, leading, advocacy, sharing, giving & much more!

Mr Ali Drummond is one of the contributors to #Yatdjuligin & continues to make a difference to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & wellbeing outcomes through teaching, research, writing, leading, advocacy, giving & more!

Prof Gracelyn Smallwood is one of the contributors to #Yatdjuligin & continues to make a difference to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & wellbeing outcomes through teaching, clinical practice, research, writing, activism, advocacy, leadership & much more!

And here is a review of Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There by Rutger Bregman, as recommended above.

And thanks @amapresident Dr Tony Bartone for this recommendation:


Hazelwood coal mine fire: it was “like Mordor”.

Journalist and author Tom Doig talked about his experiences researching and writing The Coal Face – what drew him to the story, what it was like to spend months ‘embedded’ in the Latrobe Valley’s activist community hearing stories of illness and suffering, and what’s happened since his book came out, including the lessons for his journalism students.

My name’s Tom Doig, I grew up in Wellington, NZ (so windy!) and moved to Naarm/Melbourne in 2001 to study creative writing at uni. Before February 2014, I knew almost nothing about the Latrobe Valley and Hazelwood Power Station and mine.

I had caught the train or driven through a few times (usually on my way to Lakes Entrance). I’d glance out the window, see the smoke stacks and pollution, be briefly horrified, and forget about it.

14 days later, the fire was still burning. I caught up with an old friend who had driven through Morwell, and told me that it was “like Mordor”.

I drove down to see for myself. I stayed overnight in a cheap hotel on the “wrong side of the tracks” (the side closest to the fire). The next morning I woke up coughing up bright green phlegm. I wrote this article about it: https://newmatilda.com/2014/02/27/morwell-mordor/

I don’t pretend to be any kind of health expert (public health or otherwise), but something was clearly up in Morwell and the Latrobe Valley. I saw an elderly man collapse on the pavement outside the train station. the local op shop sounded like a hospital ward. So, I started researching. It took months (I was doing a PhD, so there were pre-existing deadlines, ethics forms, etc.) I went down to the Latrobe Valley in September 2014 ….

Wendy Farmer, president of newly-formed community activist group Voices of the Valley, invited me to stay in her and her husband Brett’s spare room. I was embedded in the activist community!

I put these suffering-animals stories into my short book THE COAL FACE because they were relatively clear-cut (circumstantial) evidence of the harmful effects of the mine fire. But as you all know, in public health emergencies, causation is notoriously hard to prove.

Voices of the Valley ended up becoming suspicious that, on top of the thousands of people with asthma, coughs, bleeding noses, headaches and so on — people might be dying. Tara Dean read something in the local RSL newsletter about more people than usual dying. VOTV then did their own investigative journalism – amateur data journalism – with shocking results.

Professor Adrian Barnett settled on the figure of 23 likely deaths from the mine fire, during the six weeks it burned out of control. The long-term effects will be hard to determine with certainty, as they’ll be mixed in with all the other health issues plaguing the Latrobe Valley: poverty, obesity, poor nutrition, extremely high rates of smoking and, until it closed in 2017, 18 deaths per year from ambient smoke pollution.

As horrific as this story is, there have been a number of ‘silver linings’ – like the Latrobe Valley Health Innovation Zone, an Australia-first initiative: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/health-strategies/latrobe-health-innovation-zone. Emergency Management Victoria, headed by Craig Lapsley, revised their approach to toxic chemical fires following Hazelwood: https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/news/coolaroo-fire-a-new-approach-to-managing-emergencies …

Unfortunately, some of the biggest health problems facing the Valley are also some of the most intractable, the most ‘wicked’: issues of chronic unemployment, poverty, depression – mental health issues. While most of the media “oxygen” is consumed by interminable debates about coal power stations – inane non-debates about ‘jobs vs greenies’ or (nonexistent) clean coal technologies – the real problems continue to be ignored. Full report here: https://environmentvictoria.org.au/2015/02/24/cleaning-victorias-power-sector-full-social-cost-hazelwood-power-station/ …


Reflections on loneliness

Miranda Harman introduces us to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine:

Hi everyone, I’m tweeting from nipaluna/Hobart, and would like to acknowledge the tradition owners and custodians of this land, the muwinina people.

I’m an ex-journalist, but now a communications manager with the Menzies Institute for Medical Research by day and an avid reader by night. I’ve chosen to talk about a very lonely person who touched my heart … in a novel

There is much to be proud of in the work being done by the researchers at Menzies, but I’m not a scientist nor an academic so I’ve chosen to tweet about a book that illuminates how one can live among many people (in this case in Glasgow), yet be close to no-one

Plus I love the way fiction can create whole new worlds that parallel reality and take you away from it at the same time

OK back to Eleanor … To me she is a wonderful fictional rendering of how trauma lives on inside people. Eleanor has lived through a (literally) unspeakable tragedy and is basically unloved.

She goes to work every day and passes every weekend by drinking two bottles of vodka. In terms of health impacts, one story about the book quoted medical experts comparing the impacts of loneliness to “15 cigarettes a day”

I’m curious as to how they measure that?

I must add that the book is ultimately uplifting (some reviews refer to it being part of a fiction trend in ‘uplit’). We see her emerge from humiliation and rejection and begin to find her place in the world, through the kindness and inclusion of others.

It’s the debut novel from Gail Honeyman and she wrote it at 40. A sample: ‘These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it

I like this too: “I allowed my mind to wander. I’ve found this to be a very effective way of passing the time; you take a situation or a person and start to imagine nice things that might happen. You can make anything happen, anything at all, inside a daydream.”

I feel like I’ve barely touched the surface here so thanks for hanging in with me everyone and to the #CroakeyREAD crew for this opportunity!!

• Check this review and interview with the author:

As Eleanor herself so trenchantly puts it in a rare moment of self-awareness: “These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it.”

Yet her journey from misfit to something – someone – different is compelling. Since Honeyman first embarked on her novel, the scourge of loneliness has risen higher up the social and political agenda than ever before.”


Food: once major contributor to health, life expectancy, now risk to both

Dr Sandro Demaio was treating about his new book, The doctor’s diet on thesimple but powerful role of good food, for great health


High-impact books during a PhD

PhD scholar Marlene Longbottom shared a wealth of books and reading:For #CroakeyRead, I’ll share with you some of the books and texts I have utilised in my #PhD research thus far. I read a lot from diverse sources which I believe is important for a #PhD students growth.

My #PhD is in Aboriginal Studies, I am enrolled in an Aboriginal institute with an all Aboriginal Supervisor panel. The topic is w/ Aboriginal women, survivors of interpersonal violence partnered with an Aboriginal women’s service from my community.

I wanted to ensure the #PhD was grounded in Aboriginal ways of being doing and knowing blending w/ Western methods. Staying true to me, and my community.

The title of the #PhD is BAlawanga Bhulungs: We are strong women – comes from the Dharawal and Durga languages where I have been raised

I am unapologetic about the methods I use. These fit the #PhD well as it is about bringing forth the voices of Aboriginal women to speak their truth and lived reality of surviving violence.

These two texts are vital as I come from a decolonising and an Indigenous Feminism lens. I do not engage with white feminism due to the race neutrality and assumption of colourblindness that can be associated with white feminism.

In a seminar @LesterRigney reinforced the need to ensure our research cannot be dismissed. Thus the need to engage with Western approaches but grounded in Indigenist methods.

I use this work to assist in theorising race, and intersectionality as it and where it applies to the Aboriginal Australian context.

I have about 100 books already in different formats. I can’t really pick my favourite cos they all provide me w/ such in-depth insight to the work I do. Being well read is important. But translating your research is vital!

Doing this type of research – You need to be able share your story with, say for instance, your aunty, or grandma. If you can’t do that without using jargon you haven’t worked out how to translate it.


Books to enrich the soul

Dr Mark Ragg, who is joining the group of Croakey rotating editors, shared some reflections on “what reading has given me”.


A sleepover with the Doggetts, including cupcakes!

Croakey editor Jennifer Doggett shared some night-time reading with her sons, William and Henry, and how books are ways to break out of our bubbles.

“There was one little baby who was born on the ice. And another in a tent who was just as nice.” In a time when we are locking up kids in detention centres and breaking up families, these are words we need to hear. #CroakeyREAD

The amazing Lynley Dodd (The Dudgeon is Coming) gently shows us how not to make assumptions about outsiders – and how hysteria about harmless new arrivals can feed itself.

A beautiful book to end with, poetry and artwork from around the world. “Everybody has a song, be it short or be it long, in the right or in the wrong key, like the hee-haw of a donkey. Don’t be silent, nor afraid, you must sing as you’ve been made.” Philip de Vos #CroakeyREAD

And this seems the perfect point to roll this post into the next one (it’s getting a bit long for easy reading). See part two here. And here is part three.


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