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The F Word Address: Alison Whittaker

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Photo of Alison Whittaker, speaking at the Wheeler Centre lectern

Alison Whittaker delivers the address — Photo: Scott Limbrick

The F Word Address is our annual talk from an outstanding Australian woman on a pressing feminist issue. This year, our speaker is the phenomenal Alison Whittaker: poet, essayist, legal scholar and Gomeroi woman.

Whittaker’s address focusses on the complexities of using storytelling as a tool for justice for Blak women – in law, and in literature. How have traditions of sharing story among Indigenous people influenced how they articulate their histories, and assert their rights, in Western civil or criminal jurisdictions? Who are the audiences for Blak social justice narratives? And do Aboriginal women rely on a listening conscience that isn’t there?

In a 30-minute talk, followed by a short interview with host Claire G. Coleman, Whittaker draws on her legal research and writing work to consider the limits of storytelling – and to propose new ways to strengthen and centre storytellers themselves.

Photo of Claire G. Coleman and Alison Whittaker in conversation

Claire G. Coleman and Alison Whittaker in conversation — Photo: Scott Limbrick

The video of this event, which will be published soon, includes Auslan interpretation.

Who?

Portrait of Alison Whittaker

Alison Whittaker

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison is a Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute at UTS. 

Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015. Her latest poetry collection, Blakwork, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and won the QLA Judithe Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection. She is the editor of the anthology Fire Front: First Nations poetry and power today. 

Alison was also the co-winner of the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for ‘Many Girls White Linen’. She was the Indigenous Poet-in-Residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.

Portrait of Claire G. Coleman

Claire G. Coleman

Claire G. Coleman is a Noongar woman whose family have belonged to the south coast of Western Australia since long before history started being recorded. Claire writes fiction, essays, poetry and art writing while either living in Naarm (Melbourne) or on the road. During an extended circuit of the continent she wrote a novel, Terra Nullius, which won the black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship and was listed for eight awards including a shortlisting for The Stella Prize. Lies, Damned Lies is her first full length work of non-fiction.

Discussion

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