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AASW Webinar: Understanding the barriers to achieving anti-oppressive practice

Event Details
Date: 26 July 2018
Time: 11:00am - 12:30 am AEST
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 1.5
Registrations open to AASW members only
Organiser: AASW

This webinar panel discussion on 'Understanding the barriers to achieving anti-oppressive practice' was recorded on 27 July, as a live event for AASW members in recognition of NAIDOC week. The webinar provides an introduction to anti-oppressive, critical social work, and Indigenist theories, and in doing so:

Aims to inform social workers' own critical practice reflections, together with the profession's broader, collective advocacy efforts

Draws on the extensive practice, theoretical, systemic and cultural knowledge of four prominent social workers working across the Northern Territory and North Queensland.

Key topics for discussion include: internalised dominance, internalised oppression and indigenist theories.
The presenters draw on their own experiences to elucidate these theories, in particular their application to practice and relevance to our identities as social workers.

Participants were encouraged to submit questions for discussion during and prior to the event, to help draw meaningful links between theory and practice.

Learning objectives

To increase participant’s awareness of factors which impede or promote:

  • Their capacity and confidence to build effective relationships between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, clients, and organisations as the foundation of a two-way culturally congruent and respectful practice.
  • Their capacity to identify and manage negative dynamics which can impede effective relationship building in cross cultural settings, and the undermine the advancement of anti-oppressive practice.
  • Their use of proactive strategies to maximise innovative approaches to Reconciliation, and best practice when working with disempowered/disenfranchised groups.

Presenter details

Panel Moderator: Dr Susan Gair is an Associate Professor at James Cook University. She is a social work scholar with more than two decades of teaching, research, writing and practice in social work. Her work has focused on social justice and improved social policy and social work practice, particularly in regional Australia. Key areas of her past research and its application to professional practice include child adoption policy and practice, culturally-inclusive work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, families and communities, and cultivating empathy. Most recently, she has undertaken research with industry partners on student poverty; and maintaining grandparent-grandchild connections after child protection intervention. She is a reviewer and Editorial Board member for national and international journals. She is committed to anti-oppressive practice in social work. She has recently been appointed as a member of the AASW RAP Taskforce.

Panellist: Pamela Trotman's association with the First Australians extends over sixty years, forty-eight as a practising Social Worker. Much of her professional life has converged with significant events in the history of social policy as it relates to Aboriginal Australians. She has lived in the Northern Territory for twenty-nine years, having spent the first half of her professional life working in health and child protection in metropolitan and regional NSW. Today Pamela works in private practice and seeks to contribute to social work knowledge through writing and teaching and has published on reconciliation and trauma. She has presented nationally and internationally on trauma, including the “Survivor Self”. Pamela is also a member of the AASW Reconciliation Taskforce. Late 2017, Pamela contributed to an Indian publication on Social Work Education: her chapter focusing on lessons from Critical Social Work practice.

Panellist: Christine Fejo-King, PhD is an Aboriginal woman from the Northern Territory. Her father was a Larrakia man and her mother is a Warumungu woman. Christine completed her BSW at the NTU in 1998 then moved to Canberra to work for the Australian Government. She has worked in the areas of mental health, substance misuse, aged care, palliative care, child protection, juvenile justice, and reconciliation. Christine has presented at national and international conferences. Whilst in Canberra Christine completed a PhD in Philosophy/Social Work and has recently moved back to the Northern Territory. She was the project manager and co-convenor with Dr. Michael Adams of the 3rd International Indigenous Social Work Conference held in Darwin in 2015. She has taught in various schools of social work and is a foundation member of the Australian College of Social Work and Chairperson of the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Worker’s Association. Christine was invited to present to the NT Royal Commission on Youth Justice outlining her work on kinship mapping and its importance in shaping culturally sensitive child protection responses.

Panellist: Josephine Lee is a social worker of 30 years, and has worked in many fields, including: Child Protection, youth work, juvenile justice, family and relationship counselling, community development work, and Aboriginal healing. A major challenge for Josephine has been how to engage with Aboriginal people as a professional woman, especially in non-oppressive and empowering ways. She is committed to ensuring that her practice, whilst largely based on White/Western philosophies and approaches, demonstrates respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s ways of “knowing, doing and being”. Josephine was the 2018 recipient of the AASW Mary Moylan Award for the Northern Territory Social Worker of the year. She has lived in the NT for over 20 years, and is married to a Larrakia man. She is particularly interested in investing more time and energy over the next chapters of her career to end child sexual abuse and promote Indigenous healing.

"I am proud of my Aboriginal heritage. I have German and Irish heritage, but I strongly align with my Aboriginal heritage. My grandmother’s country is Gudgula, North Queensland".

Date and location

Live webinar recorded by AASW, and available to listen to online,
Note; This is an audio recording only.



Registrations open to AASW members only


Register via the panel to the right

(Note: Members must log in as a member, for the registration panel to appear).

For further information email:

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers