Education and Arts

FAS launches Australia's first book on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Work

The Faculty was delighted to welcome guests to the launch of Our Voices in North Sydney on Thursday 25 October.   Our Voices is a groundbreaking collection of writings on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work, featuring contributions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait and non-Indigenous Social Work educators and students across Australia. 

Our Voices has an all Aboriginal editorial group which includes Bindi Bennett, Lecturer in Social Work and Indigenous Scholar at ACU, Associate Professor Sue Green, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales, Stephanie Gilbert, Academic Coordinator (Acting), the Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle and Associate Professor Dawn Bessarab, Researcher in Indigenous Health at Curtin University.  Associate Professor Joanna Zubrzycki from the School of Social Work is a co-author of Chapter 7.

Book cover Book cover

Our Voices explores a number of contemporary social work practice issues including engaging communities, supervision, understanding trauma and collaborative practice.  It offers practical knowledge and advice on working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and includes a specific chapter on working in Torres Strait Islander communities, given from a Torres Strait Islander perspective.

Speaking at the launch, Our Voices Co-Editor, Bindi Bennett, said the book provides readers with a new and innovative approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work.

‘Current social work practice in Australia is very much based in Western traditions which can potentially create conflict or misunderstanding when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ she said.  ‘Our Voices is a resource for everyone. It provides a valuable toolkit for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous social work practitioners and students to ensure they engage appropriately and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.’

Associate Professor Sue Green, Co-Editor, said: ‘This book offers a bridge between two worlds. It aims to inform social work practice and address issues such social justice and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’

Stephanie Gilbert, Co-Editor, said: ‘Our Voices is a groundbreaking book.  It expresses the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social workers and illuminates their practice principles and approaches for other social workers.’

Professor Marea Nicholson, ACU Associate Vice-Chancellor said: ‘ACU has a long standing commitment to quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and research, as guided by our Mission Statement which calls for us to be “guided by a fundamental concern for justice and equity and for the dignity of all human beings” and our Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation adopted by the University Senate in 1998.  We are honoured to help celebrate this very important book. I’d like to pay tribute to the authors and editors that have done so much to provide this indispensible resource for social workers across Australia and beyond.’