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Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden

Thursday, 19 Jul
12:00 pmto1:00 pm

Remembering Dark Town: Experimental History, Decolonisation and Archival Activism at Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden

Presented by Dr Kate Wright

 Date: Thu 19th Jul 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Oorala Lecture Theatre, UNE, Building E22
Contact: Dr Sophia Waters {local landline prefix}3 3318

The Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden was established in 2015 as an experimental research site, and a decolonising activist platform, to experiment with alternatives to neoliberal, colonial and anthropocentric ways of thinking and living. In this paper I will document some of the research transpiring at the Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden, with a particular focus on the community garden as a space for experimental counter colonial history.

The Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden is sited on the old East Armidale Aboriginal Reserve that was home to over one hundred dispossessed people in the mid-twentieth century, while simultaneously serving as Armidale’s municipal garbage dump. Under the jurisdiction of the Aboriginal Welfare Board, Reserves across Australia functioned as segregated paternalistic prisons. The settler-colonial state denied Reserve inhabitants freedom of movement, and the speaking of ancestral languages and cultural practices, including the hunting of traditional foods, were banned.

The Armidale Aboriginal Community Garden is located on an area that holds histories of colonisation, with memories of trauma, resilience, conflict, resistance, and healing immanent in the environment, and in the memories of Elders, many of whom still live on the old East Armidale Aboriginal Reserve site. One of the primary goals of the research taking place through the community garden is to unearth histories that have been silenced by the settler-colonial state, and, through a deeply collaborative research and writing process committed to decolonising methodologies, foreground the voices and stories of Anaiwan, Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr people. This paper argues that the community garden is a more-than-human archive of subaltern histories that can be activated by the speaking of ancestral language, the creation of hybrid communities and inhabitants, and the public survivor testimony of both human and nonhuman voices that have been oppressively silenced by the settler colonial state.

Staff, students and visitors to UNE are all welcome to attend

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