Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert

Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert

Senior Lecturer

The Wollotuka Institute (Indigenous Cultural Studies)

Values, voices and volition: Emphasising the ‘original’ in Aboriginality

Reflecting on our country's past and critically thinking about its future, Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert is seeking to bring disparate communities together through the provision of culturally minded social spaces, literature and tertiary curricula.

Stephanie Gilbert 

'Enabling education' means different things to different people. For some, like eager soon-to-be undergraduates, these programs are a rare and special opportunity to enter University, regardless of age, gender, family and socioeconomic status. For those same institutions, their mammoth human and final investment parallels mammoth returns on investment, producing capable, compassionate and culturally competent professionals ready to join the skilled workforce. For practitioners, like Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert, they perhaps mean everything.

"Initiatives like the University of Newcastle's 'Yapug' are about transforming lives," she attests.

"Indigenous peoples have long been underrepresented in the higher education system."

"My goal is to make a space in institutions for Indigenous people, in knowledge, ways of learning, and to lift participation numbers."

Straddling the history and social work fields, Stephanie's teaching and research endeavours equally serve to develop social work's understanding of Aboriginality.

Together with colleagues Stephanie published a textbook on this topic in 2013, which was the first of its kind. She also has a book chapter coming out in late 2015.

Asking the difficult questions

Stephanie began her research career with an Honours degree from North Queensland's James Cook University in 1991. Looking into the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families throughout the late 19th and early-to-mid 20thcenturies, the single-year probe sought to unveil the secreted catalysts of associated policies and their practice.

"I examined the various pieces of legislation used by government agencies and church missions to justify the succeeding events," she illuminates.

"Child protection, cultural misgivings and widespread fears of miscegenation were the main motivations and purposes."

"Other documentary evidence, such as parliamentary committee reports and newspapers, pointed to these rationales as well."

Staying on at James Cook as an assistant lecturer before being promoted to the position of lecturer, Stephanie then moved to the Hunter to undertake social work in 1997 and add a few more feathers to her already impressive cap. Seamlessly transitioning from the clinical realm to academia a short time later in 1999, the passionate historian joined the University of Newcastle to improve its resident pathways program.

"Back then Yapug was medicine-only," she recalls.

"Now though, it's housed at Birabahn and proudly gives Indigenous students entry into all sorts of studies." 

"Some have since gone on to complete PhDs or Masters by research degrees."

"It's very pleasing to see."

Keen to continue her own research pursuits, Stephanie undertook two Master's degrees – a Master of Arts in Women's Studies in 1999 with Melbourne's Deakin University, and a Master of Research in History with the University of Newcastle in 2004, which she upgraded to a PhD.

"I elected to evaluate the effects and consequences of the Stolen Generation through a gendered lens," she reveals.

"This inquiry was expanded upon in my PhD, which similarly investigated the manifold formations, destructions and reformations of Aboriginal identity from exclusively female perspectives."

"During my candidature I wanted to find out why people who were taken as babies or adolescents chose to go back and reclaim their Indigenous heritage as well."

Unite and inspire

Stephanie continued to dissect and expose the "whole gamut" of Aboriginality after receiving her award in 2012, moving permanently into the University's Wollotuka Institute as Coordinator of Yapug, and then as the Coordinator of Teaching Quality and Development. Aiming to discover what her doctoral findings mean for education in the 21st century, the dedicated scholar engaged in a number of nationwide, multipronged efforts to Indigenise both academies and individual courses.

"There are a few perceived problems with Aboriginal Studies," she concedes.

"To some, the discipline can seem too vague or too vast or too focused on welfare outcomes."

"My job, however, is to respect and affirm its distinctness from dominant western ideologies and to create a safe environment where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can come together and learn about different cultures, traditions and values."

Building on these crucial links between the past and present, Stephanie also recently presented her work on the Stolen Generation at Stanford University in the United States.

"The conference, which was aptly called 'Soul Wounds,' explored the notion of trauma – trauma as experienced personally and trauma as experienced or inherited via a parent or grandparent," the senior lecturer explains.

"Stanford hosted the conference to discuss issues at the forefront of epigenetics, so trauma was considered in the context of the physical body too."

"Trauma can imprint on genes and shape the brain as a newborn or infant."

Ties that bind and differences that divide

Not slowing down anytime soon, Stephanie is in the process of constructing a streamlined "visual bibliography" for those wanting to tackle Indigenous research projects at Callaghan. The esteemed educator and innovator is planning to conduct some of her own studies on memorialisation in the near future as well.

"There is a tendency in this country to overlook certain defining moments in history," she suggests.

"We commemorate the Anzacs and not those who served in the Frontier Wars, for example."

"Many Australians additionally refuse to acknowledge – or act on – the silent part of the 'Bring Them Home' report, which was the death or disappearance of Aboriginal children."

Values, voices and volition: Emphasising the ‘original’ in Aboriginality

Reflecting on our country’s past and critically thinking about its future, Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert is seeking to bring disparate communities toget

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

I moved to Newcastle in 1997 and worked as a social worker until joining the uni in 1999. I completed a masters in late 1999 and then have worked on papers and other things until 2004 when I enrolled in a masters by research with a view to upgrading in 2008. I worked part-time and then full-time in the enabling programs unit until the beginning of 2006 when my position moved to Wollotuka: School of Aboriginal Studies.

In 2012 I graduated from a Phd History with my topic being: Women and Constructing Re-membering: Identity Formation in the Stolen Generations.

I currently work as Associate Professor, Coordinator Teaching Quality and Development at The Wollotuka Institute.

I supervise two rhd students and one honours student at this point in time.

My major publications include: "Our Voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Work" by (Eds) B. Bennet, S. Green, S. Gilbert, D. Bessarab, 2013, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra, Australia and I have contributed to the development of social work's understandings of Aboriginal people and communities through chapters like my up coming chapter Self-reflective, non-racist social work practice in the neoliberal context of human services in "Doing Critical Social Work" Pease, B, Godingay, S, Hosken, N & Nipperess, S. about to be published by Allen and Unwin.

Research Expertise
Most of my work has been centered around Aboriginal communities and education with a particular focus on the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. Indigenous social work practice and Aboriginal education have also featured highly in my research practice.

Teaching Expertise
I consider the bulk of my teaching expertise to be in enabling education. I currently coordinate the University's enabling program for Indigenous people and teach in areas of learning skills and professional skills in social welfare and health fields.

Administrative Expertise
I currently administer all the courses I teach in and also the enabling program I coordinate. I work also for two Boards of studies and two curriculum teaching and learning committees.

Collaborations
My primary collaboration to this point has been the development of the Our Voices text which initially was lead by an author group of ten Indigeneous social workers who met across Australia to develop this work.

Qualifications

  • PhD (History), University of Newcastle
  • Graduate Diploma of Education (Tertiary Teaching), James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours), James Cook University
  • Associate Diploma in Community Welfare, James Cook University
  • Master of Arts, Deakin University

Keywords

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • Pearl Gibbs
  • Social Work
  • Stolen generations
  • enabling teaching

Languages

  • Aboriginal English, so described (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
The Wollotuka Institute
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/07/2012 - 30/06/2015 Coordinator- Teaching Quality and Development The University of Newcastle
The Wollotuka Institute
Australia
1/06/1999 - 1/12/1999 Research Assistant University of Western Sydney
Arts
Australia
1/01/1990 - 1/01/1996 Lecturer James Cook University
Australia

Membership

Dates Title Organisation / Department
Member - Research Advisory Committee, ARC Research Project Reviewing Indigenous Content in Social Work Degrees Across Australia ARC Research Project
Australia
Hunter Branch President - Australian Association of Social Workers Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
Australia
Member - Expert Reference Group for Coag Measures in Mental Health for Indigenous Communities, Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/02/1997 - 1/04/1998 Fostercare Broker Centacare Newcastle
Social Worker
Australia

Awards

Research Award

Year Award
2013 RHD Research Excellence Commendation
University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Invitations

Distinguished Visitor

Year Title / Rationale
2015 Navigating the Grey
Navigating the Grey, Key note speech 4th Year Students conference
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Highlighted Publications

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Gilbert SL, 'Aboriginal Issues In Context', Social Work: Contexts and Practice, 3e, OUP Australia & New Zealand, Melbourne 111-123 (2013)
2016 Gilbert SL, 'Challenges for Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners in the neoliberal context', Doing Critical Social Work Theory in Practice, Allen & Unwin, Sydney (2016)

Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Gilbert S, Our Voices: Aboriginal nd Torres strait Islander Social Work, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra, 255 (2012)

Chapter (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Gilbert SL, 'Challenges for Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners in the neoliberal context', Doing Critical Social Work Theory in Practice, Allen & Unwin, Sydney (2016)
2013 Gilbert SL, 'Aboriginal Issues In Context', Social Work: Contexts and Practice, 3e, OUP Australia & New Zealand, Melbourne 111-123 (2013)
2012 Gilbert SL, 'Author's Introduction', Our Voices, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra xiii-xvi (2012)
2012 Gilbert SL, 'The People Who Populate Aboriginal Social Work', Our Voices, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra 26-49 (2012)
2012 Gilbert SL, Menzies, 'Engaging Communities', Our Voices, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra 50-72 (2012)
2009 Gilbert SL, 'Aboriginal Issues In Context', Social Work, Oxford University Press, Sydney 94-106 (2009)
2007 Gilbert S, 'Another World, not a Brave New World: Is there a place for Aboriginal people in higher education?', , Acer Press, Victoria, (2007) [B2]
2005 Gilbert SL, 'Social Work with Indigenous Australians', Social Work - Fields of Practice, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne 62-72 (2005) [B2]
2005 Gilbert SL, ''Never forgotten': Pearl Gibbs (Gambanyi)', Uncommon Ground - White Women in Aboriginal History, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra 107-125 (2005) [B1]
1998 Gilbert SL, 'Seeking A Place.', Talking Up: Young Women's Take on Feminism, Spinifex Press, North Melbourne 174-182 (1998)
1993 Gilbert SL, 'The Effects of Colonisation on Aboriginal Families: Issues and Strategies for Child Welfare Policies', Child Welfare Policy: Critical Australian Perspectives, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney 10 (1993)
Show 8 more chapters

Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2008 Gilbert SL, 'Social work with indigenous communities', Australian Social Work, 61 436-439 (2008) [C3]
DOI 10.1080/03124070802430866
2002 Gilbert SL, 'Book Review: Lesbians and Lesbian Families: Relections On Theory & Practice', Australian Social Work: The Journal of The Australian Association of Social Workers, 55, No.1, March 88-89 (2002) [C3]

Review (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Chrystall A, Johnson-Woods T, Laugesen A, Laugesen A, Franks R, Braae N, et al., 'BOOK REVIEWS', Australasian Journal of Popular Culture (2013)
DOI 10.1386/ajpc.2.3.487_5
2002 Gilbert SL, 'Book Review', Australian Social Work: The Journal Of The Australian Association of Social Workers (2002) [D1]
1982 Mautner T, Carlson GR, Vuckovic V, Heil J, Martin R, McGinn C, et al., 'Book reviews', Philosophia (1982)
DOI 10.1007/BF02380845
1982 Mautner T, Carlson GR, Vuckovic V, Heil J, Martin R, McGinn C, et al., 'Book reviews', Philosophia (1982)
DOI 10.1007/BF02380845
Show 1 more review

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Fletcher GL, 'Speaking from our CORE: Reviving Indigenous Community as Pedagogical Practice', Peer Reviewed Abstract (2014) [E3]
Co-authors Maree Gruppetta
Edit

Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 7
Total funding $186,255

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20164 grants / $149,977

Accelerating Indigenous Higher Education - Whole of University$75,000

Funding body: University of South Australia

Funding body University of South Australia
Project Team Mrs Leanne Holt, Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1601065
Type Of Funding Not Known
Category UNKN
UON Y

Indigenous enabling: What Works? Developing a national conversation around enabling education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through a comprehensive audit of current provision$49,977

Funding body: Department of Education

Funding body Department of Education
Project Team Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta, Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert, Doctor Sally Baker, Ms Evonne Irwin, Ms Helen Cameron
Scheme Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600136
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Research Initiative Development Incentive Scheme$20,000

‘Developing Aboriginality at university’

This research project involves investigating the research questions: how are Aboriginal students currently supported around identity questions by Australians universities and how do students themselves understand their identity journey within universities? 

Funding body: Wollotuka Institute

Funding body Wollotuka Institute
Project Team

Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert

Scheme Unknown
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Research Initiative Development Incentive Scheme$5,000

Research Initiative Development Incentive Scheme

The overarching purpose of this project is to understand two things: the ways that safe spaces and places are and can be constructed for Aboriginal students within universities by staff, students, pedagogical and curriculum practices and 2: Aboriginal students do crucial identity work when they get to university. How do universities support this? 

Funding body: Wollotuka Institute

Funding body Wollotuka Institute
Project Team

Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert

Scheme Unknown
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20151 grants / $5,000

Career Development Grant$5,000

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Development grant

Funding body: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Newcastle
Scheme Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20082 grants / $31,278

2008 Equity Research Fellowship - Teaching Relief$25,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert
Scheme Equity Research Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0188327
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

2008 Equity Research Fellowship - Research Grant$6,278

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert
Scheme Equity Research Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0188217
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
Edit

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed2
Current0

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2016 PhD Private-sector Employment Programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Comparative Case Studies
PhD (Management), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2009 Masters "One Time Ago": An Urban Aboriginal Tribalography
M SocialSc (AboriginalStud)[R], Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
Edit

Associate Professor Stephanie Gilbert

Position

Senior Lecturer
Academic
The Wollotuka Institute
Academic Division

Focus area

Indigenous Cultural Studies

Contact Details

Email stephanie.gilbert@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 492 15356
Fax (02) 492 16901

Office

Room SAS1.04
Building Birabahn
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
Edit