Opinion: Sorry Day – The importance of knowledge

My name is Carissa Lee Godwin. I’m a Wemba-Wemba and Noongar woman, and Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) Specialist Editor for the First Peoples & Public Policy Collection. To me, knowledge is important, it’s something that has been passed on between generations within the many nations of the First Peoples of Australia. Unfortunately, a lot of First Peoples’ knowledge has been lost due to one in ten Indigenous children being forcibly removed from their families between 1910 and 1970 – breaking vital links to our generational knowledge.

Significance of Sorry Day

Sorry Day is a day where Australia acknowledges the mistreatment of First Nations peoples, namely the taking of First Nations children from their families, creating what are known as the Stolen Generations. The 26th of May 1997 was the date that the Bringing them home report – a guide to the findings and recommendations of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families – was tabled in parliament.

Sorry Day is followed by National Reconciliation Week on the 27th of May, which marks the date when the 1967 referendum took place. National Reconciliation Week concludes on the 3rd of June, which is when the High Court Mabo decision took place. The 1967 referendum is significant because this is when First Nations people were finally recognised as part of the Constitution of Australia. The Mabo decision led to the recognition of First Nations peoples and their ownership of land under the Native Title Act 1993 – which recognises the traditional rights and interests to land and waters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, there is still a long way to go on First Nations people being treated equally and being given rights to their land, even with amendments to the Constitution and the Native Title Act.

National Reconciliation Week

The placement of National Reconciliation Week after Sorry Day feels symbolic because in order for us to reconcile between and across cultures, we need to first acknowledge the wrongs that have been done. Reconciliation cannot happen without this first step. National Reconciliation Week has a theme each year, this year the theme is ‘Grounded in Truth – Walk Together in Courage’. This week is an opportunity for different cultures to come together and learn about First Nations people in an act of reconciliation, with organisations such as APO’s host Swinburne University of Technology holding events for Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week.

Public apologies and refusals

On the 12th of December 1992, as part of the celebration for the Year of the World’s Indigenous People, Paul Keating issued his Redfern speech to the citizens of Australia, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, stating his empathy and remorse at the occurrence of Indigenous children being taken from their families. He acknowledged that Australia was to blame for this, as well as the high numbers of Aboriginal deaths recorded in the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody Report that had been collated the previous year. Over a decade later, then-prime minister Kevin Rudd issued his apology speech on the 13th of February, 2008. This was a significant moment in Australian history, after the previous prime minister John Howard had vocally refused to apologise.

Lasting trauma of the Stolen Generations

One misconception about Sorry Day is that all Australia needs to do is acknowledge that Indigenous children were taken, and be sorry about it. However, the effects of such an act of disregard against human beings doesn’t stop there. Trauma is cruel like that. Australia needs to also recognise the intergenerational trauma that has occurred as a result of the Stolen Generations, the numerous massacres, ongoing police brutality, and institutionalised racism, a lot of which still happens today.

Continue reading “Opinion: Sorry Day – The importance of knowledge”

Swinburne names APO a ‘Change Maker’

Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) was recently named as one to watch by Swinburne University of Technology’s Professor Aleksandar Subic in a publication featuring 15 impact case studies – from research as diverse as astrophysics to homelessness.

Professor Aleksandar Subic, Swinburne University

‘I am pleased to let you know that we have published Change Makers – a compilation of 15 diverse stories of research impact from across Swinburne that showcases some of our most inspiring and transformative outcomes,’ announced Professor Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development).

‘These case studies showcase how innovative research and strong partnerships can create positive real-world change in industry and the community.’

Professor Aleksandar Subic

Better information for more people

APO was named as one of three digital providers of ‘better information for more people’. These three enterprises (APO, Inside Story and UniPollWatch) were all ‘born digital’ and collect and organise information to make it more discoverable and usable in new ways.

The case study traces the evolution of APO (originally named ‘Australian Policy Online’) from its launch in 2002 as an open access database for policy research. Awarded the ‘Best Information Website’ at the 2014 Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards, APO has grown from humble beginnings to having more than 4.2 million users from around the world, with 16.4 million page views.

At the time of writing the case study, APO hosted an impressive 38,928 policy resources in 1,264 subjects, contributed by more than 6,000 institutions and almost 27,000 authors – numbers that continue to grow steadily year on year.

APO’s comprehensive array of policy contributors includes government departments and agencies, academic research centres, think tanks, civil society organisations, consultants, and research companies and academic publishers from all around the world. Many organisations have also joined as partners, APO Collection sponsors and APO Briefing subscribers.

Change Makers case study booklet

Presented alongside APO in this case study is Inside Story – an online magazine on current affairs and culture from Australia and beyond, authored by academics and journalists. UniPollWatch – established for the 2014 Victorian state election to provide innovative coverage of current events through the eyes of young Australians – is also highlighted in the same category.

Change Makers is a compilation of 15 diverse case studies of research impact from across Swinburne University. This research is in line with Swinburne University’s Research and Innovation Strategy – ‘Transforming Industries, Shaping Lives and Communities’, and the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Engagement and Impact Assessment agenda. Enquiries about this publication can be made to Swinburne Research.

APO attends Oceans and Islands Conference

Oceans and Islands Conference : APO Collections Editor Penelope Aitken, Dr Jackie Tuaupiki and Prof. David Robie

In late November APO Collections Editor Penelope Aitken travelled to speak at the New Zealand Institute of Pacific Research’s Oceans and Islands Conference in Auckland.

While she considered the niche and nerdy topic of ‘The catalogue as a cultural practice’ she was delighted to share a panel with the ‘impressively young’ senior lecturer, Dr Jackie Tuaupiki from Waikato University discussing the reclamation of ancient Māori navigational knowledge as well as the extremely eminent former Rainbow Warrior crusader, Prof. David Robie speaking of the Pacific Media Centre and a concerning turn against media freedom during Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) being hosted in Papua New Guinea.

‘These and many other speakers were inspiring to learn of and to seek out for inclusion in APO’s Pacific Research Collection as it navigates into its second year on APO,’ said Penelope of her trip to New Zealand. 

APO Collections Editor Penelope Aitken

Guest blog: What is Policy? – by Grace Coleman

What Is Policy?

I had been asking myself – and everyone else – this question a hundred times this week. ‘What is Policy?’

True to my millennial breeding,  I turn to Google.

Image:  Mr TT (Unsplash)

Policy.

Noun: policy; plural noun: policies

  • a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation or individual.

Your standard stiff dictionary definition – but I didn’t want a textbook definition, or politician’s definition either.

I wanted to know what YOU thought Policy meant. I wanted to know what everyone else thought it meant, and WHY it might be important.

This was one of my first tasks. On my first day at APO, I stepped out of a brand meeting in which we were discussing the many facets of what Policy is, does and can be.

For me, the meeting opened up a pandora’s box of what policy actually is – action.

Did anyone pick up on the contradiction that the word ‘policy’ is a noun defined by a verb – action?

The act of policy encompasses a lot of what we take for granted in our day to day lives.

It is the prevention, the response, the intervention, the technology, the improvement, the catalyst, the continuation, the past, the present, the future – policy is the entire network of what regulates our lives.

It’s a lot.

Continue reading “Guest blog: What is Policy? – by Grace Coleman”

Fighting poverty with evidence – an interview with Dr Naomi Rutenberg

GEISAPO will be attending the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS) 2018 this October – in the lead up, we offer a taste of some of the speakers. 

In this interview, Dr Naomi Rutenberg, Principal Associate, The Forest Hills Group, shares her thoughts on the changing role of evidence in the international development sector. Dr Naomi Rutenberg will deliver a much-anticipated presentation at the Global Evidence and Implementation Summit (GEIS) 2018 in Melbourne, 22-24 October.

Over your career, how have you seen the role of evidence change within the international development sector?

‘First, the attention to evidence for monitoring progress and identifying effective approaches and programs has increased exponentially – and all easily accessed through the internet. There are numerous trackers, such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and HIV data trackers, of development program outputs and outcomes, hundreds of program evaluations produced by groups like 3ie and Innovations for Poverty Action, and massive open data banks at the World Bank and elsewhere.

‘In addition to a huge increase in the amount of evidence, evidence is also being used in different ways – well beyond program evaluation or tracking progress. One example is for micro-targeting program resources, where there is great need for program investments. An illustration of this is using data on recent HIV infections to identify “hotspots” of HIV transmission to prioritise for interventions. Another is combining research methods, such as impact evaluation and implementation research, to understand not only if a program works but for whom and why.’

How is evidence helping to address international development challenges and needs? Continue reading “Fighting poverty with evidence – an interview with Dr Naomi Rutenberg”

APO Director joins international committee for FAST terminology

APO Director, Amanda Lawrence recently joined the first international FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (FPOC) – one of the library domain’s most widely-used subject terminology schemas.

Amanda-Lawrence_350x316(own-page)

‘APO adopted the FAST classification system a few years ago, and it’s also used by the Informit database, Amanda Lawrence says. ‘We have been focusing on making APO more interoperable with other systems over the past few years. Working with an international vocabulary like FAST is part of the information infrastructure that supports that goal.’

OCLC support for FAST

FAST (or Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) is is a collaborative effort between the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Research and the Library of Congress, dating all the way back to 1998.

OCLC is committed to the growth and support of FAST and are actively working to transition it from an experimental research environment to OCLC production servers. The first stage, which is underway, is transitioning FAST to a production database and they are currently analysing options for next steps, based on community needs and interest.

FPOC Committee

Based in the US, OCLC has partnered with representatives from the library community to create a new FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (FPOC).

‘This is the first time that there has been an international committee to discuss the future developments of FAST,’ says Lawrence.

FPOC will represent users of FAST for the purposes of:

  • establishing editorial policies regarding terms
  • overseeing community engagement, term contributions and procedures
  • recommending directions and goals for development/improvements
  • and much more (see http://oc.lc/FASTcommittee for additional details).

Continue reading “APO Director joins international committee for FAST terminology”

Highlights from the KM2018 conference

In the first week of July, Amanda Lawrence and I attended the Knowledge Mobilisation Conference (KM2018) in Sydney, hosted by the Sax Institute. It was a packed event, with an audience of about 60 per cent researchers, 20 per cent policy makers, and the rest somewhere in between.

Amanda presenting at KM2018
Amanda presenting at 2018 Knowledge Mobilisation conference in Sydney

bridge

The discussions and workshops were all about ways to bridge the gap between researchers and policy makers. The focus was on health, but the learnings are applicable across all public policy.

My key points from the conference:

Finding, building and sustaining relationships

Researchers are challenged by the situation where people in government adviser roles change frequently, making it difficult to engage, and sustain engagement.

And from the other side, it is hard to ‘find an expert’.

While at the same time it is recognised that relationship building, and ‘deliberative dialogues’, help with knowledge translation.

Speaking the right language, as well as listening the right way Continue reading “Highlights from the KM2018 conference”