Working through the problems

Negotiating friendship, producing results

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  • Published 20200204
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

WE WORK TOGETHER as co-directors of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, a research unit at the University of Melbourne. In this context, our working relationship requires a high level of trust, but as an Indigenous person (Sana is a Torres Strait Islander) and a non-Indigenous person (Sarah is a white settler), we don’t take the trust between us for granted. We are conscious that relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers do not generally have a bank of trust for either side to draw upon in difficult times, which means Indigenous-settler relations are always contingent, always at risk. To further understanding of these challenges, we have staged a number of public conversations that explore the question of trust in our professional relationship. Prompted by a single question – ‘Do you trust me?’ – these conversations have changed over time to explore different aspects of the positionality and conditionality of trust between Indigenous peoples and settlers through the lens of our own working relationship. Here, we have edited one conversation about building trust in each other over time.

SANA: When I reflect on why I work with you, and why I trust you, it’s very much grounded in a realisation that the work came first, and the relationship of trust followed.

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