Christopher Sonn, Tony Birch, Karen Jackson and Rebecca Lyons
There is a growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Melbourne’s West, yet we do not have adequate knowledge about the experiences, aspirations, and needs of this community. Situated within an ongoing collaborative community building project involving Moondani Balluk, this project involves gathering stories from Aboriginal people to develop a deeper understanding of place identity, displacement, and community. Informed by critical narrative analysis, some of the themes that we have identified from the interviews include: the ongoing effects of colonial practices, including the removal of people from family and country, identity and community reclamation and the central role of culturally safe community spaces for fostering connection and reclaiming culture and community, and the importance of creating opportunities to deconstruct discourses that can undermine community building. The research builds on the critical community engaged research at Moondani Balluk and through CIDRN and contributes to the growing body of local and international work on decolonial research and practice.