Research Interests: Indigenous education; Youth studies; Alternative schooling

Researcher biography

I am an Aboriginal educator and researcher. My maternal connections are to Wagiman country (Northern Territory) and I also have strong connections to Aboriginal communities in South East Queensland where I was raised. I have a diverse professional background prior to my training as a researcher. I have worked in the community sector as a youth worker, in higher education in various project and student support roles and as a teacher in secondary schooling and tertiary contexts. I am a qualified and QLD registered secondary classroom teacher and I have experience teaching in flexi schools, that support young people who have been disenfranchised from mainstream schooling contexts. All of my work to date has incorporated aspects of social justice, diversity and community.

I am a qualitative researcher, my research has primarily been with Indigenous peoples across urban, regional and remote communities, particularly in diverse school settings. I have published in a wide range of journals and books on the topics of alternative schooling, Indigenous education, Indigenous education policy and Indigenous research ethics and methodologies. My doctoral research on flexi schols is the only body of research in Australia that focuses explicitly on Indigenous education in flexi schools. The findings from this research have resulted in school-wide reviews and changes to the way Indigenous education is undertaken, ensuring both suitability and sustainability of programs. In 2017 I was appointed as a consultant with four flexi schools to build the capacity of the educators who are at the frontline of implementing Indigenous education strategies within the school environment. Within this work I deliver professional learning to school leaders and educators and support the development of internal policies to incorporate whole of school approaches to Indigenous education.

I am currently a 0.5 Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Policy Futures at UQ. My role in the Centre focuses on policy engagement and impact activities, contributing to policy briefings and research to policy translation. I am particularly interested in and committed to undertaking research with policy and practice impact. Some of the non-traditional outputs from our CRC project on Indigenous youth identity and wellbeing, include clothing items designed by young people, posters and rap songs with film clips. These non-traditional and creative outputs by young people form part of our data set but they also assist in engaging communities, academics, policy makers and other end users in the research through sharing the powerful messages Indigenous young people shared throughout participating in the study. My research program informs my academic teaching for pre-service teachers on Indigenous knowledges and education and how to create positive learning environments for students.

My current funded research includes an ARC linkage with Professor Rhonda Oliver (Curtin University) investigating the significance of stories for Aboriginal young people from remote communities in narrating their experiences of life after school and an internally and externally funded project that explores what excellent provision of education is in Indigenous education in Queensland secondary schools.