Indigenous research and engagement

In the Centre’s first year, a firm commitment was made to positively embed and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and voices across our research and activities.

The disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous child development are of significant concern. The Centre recognises its influential role in bridging the gap in these disparities and inequities. A powerful way incorporate Indigenous perspectives is to increase Indigenous research capability and scholarship through the appointment of Indigenous researchers.  To this end, the Centre appointed Dr Marnee Shay as Indigenous Advisor in May 2021 to ensure Centre research methods include, acknowledge, and respect the cultural distinctiveness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In addition, the Centre appointed three Indigenous members with strong backgrounds in research related to digital childhoods and Indigenous research settings. The Centre also began the process of appointing a new Indigenous Chief Investigator to join the Centre in early-2022.

Indigenous Advisor to the Research Committee appointed

Dr Marnee Shay is an ARC Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA) Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Queensland. Dr Shay’s maternal connections are to Wagiman country (Northern Territory), and she has strong connections to Aboriginal communities in South East Queensland, where she was born and raised. Marnee has an extensive research program that spans the fields of Indigenous education and policy, flexi schooling and youth studies. She has published in a wide range of journals, books and scholarly and professional media outlets.

A message from Dr Marnee Shay

My first goal as Indigenous Advisor is to build a community in the Centre. We know that our researchers are coming to Indigenous research from lots of positions, lenses, and experience. I want to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together, have conversations, build Indigenous leadership opportunities, and share knowledge and awareness. Once this community and shared expectations are established, we can begin building researcher capacity and advocacy to approach Indigenous research in ethical, respectful and impactful ways.

Emeritus Professor Paul Chandler
  • Advisory Committee Member
Taryn Marks
  • Advisory Committee Chair
  • Former General Manager, AIME
Troy Meston
  • Associate Investigator
  • Griffith University
Dr Marnee Shay
  • Associate Investigator and Indigenous Advisor
  • The University of Queensland

Policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research ethics

In 2021, the Centre set in motion development of an ethical framework that would enable us to set expectations, standards, and guidelines for conducting Indigenous research. Led by the Indigenous Advisor, Dr Marnee Shay, a working group was formed to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research ethics policy document. Set to be ratified by the Executive Committee in early-2022, the policy will be continually evaluated to consider the implications of digital data in Indigenous research, as this is an area that has been under-researched and currently lacks a national framework. Our policy outlines core principles for ethical conduct of Indigenous research, with expectation that these be applied at all phases of research conducted under the Centre that is defined as Indigenous research. This includes:

  • conception of ideas (initial ideas)
  • design of research (planning of research)
  • conduct of research (ways of doing the research)
  • reporting of research (what happened)
  • dissemination of research findings (to relevant bodies and communities)

Our policy draws from and builds on two key Indigenous research ethical guidelines in Australia: the AIAT SIS Code for Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research (2020) and the NHMRC Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders (2018). These are contemporary guidelines that are rigorous, robust, and were developed by diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts.

Activity plan for 2022

  • develop a survey to gauge the skills sets and gaps in skills in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research among Centre members
  • based on the survey results, create a program of professional development and research capacity building in relation to Indigenous research
  • establish an Indigenous Engagement Portfolio, comprising Indigenous and non-Indigenous Centre members across nodes and disciplines, to develop initiatives and programs that will positively embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and interests in the Centre’s research and activities

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the lands on where we gather and pay our respects to the Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits of this country.