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Cultural learnings in social work shared

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A book launched at Curtin University shares ground-breaking cultural learnings that could transform Australian social work.

Our Voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Work has been shared for the first time by authors Associate Professors Dawn Bessarab and Frances Crawford from Curtin University, and Ms Violet Bacon from the University of Western Australia.

Frances Crawford, Dawn Bessarab and Violet Bacon

Associate Professor Dawn Bessarab said the new text was a collection of writings from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australian social work educators and students.

“The book offers the collective voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and allied colleagues, which we hope can be used as a foundation to help transform Australian social work into a field of work that honours its ethical and moral aims, and serves the best interests of all,” Associate Professor Bessarab said.

Ms Violet Bacon from the University of Western Australia said the book provided valuable insights into how social work practice could be developed, taught and practised in ways that are culturally safe and competent.

The book explores a number of important contemporary social work practice issues, including cultural supervision, working with communities, understanding trauma, collaboration and relationship building and narrative practice.

The book was launched by Curtin’s Professor Kim Scott, the 2012 Western Australian of the Year and a Miles Franklin Award winner, on 7 November at Curtin University’s John Curtin Gallery.

The event included other leading speakers in this area; Leah Bonson, Convenor of the Koort Marr Kart, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Workers WA group, talking about Indigenous social work and Joe Calleja Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia talking on the collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous social workers.

Associate Professor Dawn Bessarab, Indigenous Health Researcher, Centre for Health Innovation Research Institute
Tel: 08 9266 1890, Email:

Hillary Lambert, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Email:  Web:  
Twitter: @CurtinPR

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