Invited Speakers

Claire G. Coleman

Claire G. Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar woman whose ancestral country is on the south coast of Western Australia. Born in Perth she has spent most of her life in Naarm. Her debut novel Terra Nullius, written while traveling around the continent in a caravan, was published by Hachette in Australia and Small Beer in the US.  Terra Nullius won a black&write! Fellowship and a Norma K. Hemming Award and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Aurealis Science Fiction Award among others. The Old Lie (Hachette 2019) is her second novel. She writes novels, poetry, short-fiction, drama and essay and has featured in the Saturday Paper, the Guardian, Meanjin, Australian Poetry and many others.  Lies Damned Lies: A Personal Exploration of the Impact of Colonisation, her first nonfiction book, will be published in September 2021 by Ultimo Press. Her art criticism is published in Spectrum and Art Collector and in catalogues. Her first non-fiction book, Lies, Damned Lies was published in September 2021 and third novel is slated for release in mid-2022.

Christine Nicholls (ANU, Australia)

Christine Judith Nicholls has published in diverse areas including Aboriginal studies, visual art, sociolinguistics, anthropologically-related topics, literature—including children’s literature—humour studies, biography, information visualisation and education. She has written more than 20 books for adults and children, published by commercial publishers, many of which have won national prizes. For 14 years she was the Australian Contributing Editor of Asian Art News and World Sculpture News, Hong Kong-based. Much of Christine’s writing has been influenced by the many years she spent working at Lajamanu, a remote Aboriginal (Warlpiri) settlement in Central Australia’s Tanami Desert, first as a linguist and then as school principal. For example, regarding Aboriginal Monstrous Beings, she has published a visual art review, an online article:, plus a peer-reviewed article published in a volume for Bloomsbury Publishing UK and USA. She is currently working on another article on a related theme in which she discusses the differences between Anglo-European gothic “monsters” and Australian Aboriginal monsters, for a volume to be published by the University of Amsterdam Press in early 2022. Over the years she has developed a strong online presence, including writing for The Conversation, also writing numerous biographies of Aboriginal people, along with reviews for various Australian newspapers. Christine is currently an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Emily Potter (Deakin University, Australia)

Emily Potter is Associate Professor of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She has a long-standing interest in the relationship between storytelling and place-making, and her research spans Australian literature, reading cultures, creative regional communities, and the intersections of literary narratives, the environment and climate change. She is currently leading a large Australian Research Council project ‚Reading in the Mallee: The literary past and future of an Australian region‘, a collaboration with Brigid Magner and Torika Bolatagici. Her most recent book is Writing Belonging at the Millennium: Notes from the Field of Settler Colonial Place. With Brigid Magner, she co-edits the Journal of Australian Studies.

Lisa Slater (University of Wollongong, Australia)

Lisa Slater is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong (UOW). She works primarily in the disciplines of critical Indigenous, cultural and settler colonial studies. In particular her work examines Indigenous-settler relations, in all of its messy, complex materiality. She explores what influences policy-makers, such as government and non-government agencies, and ‚progressive‘ settlers‘ engagement with Indigenous Australians, and how it plays out in concrete local forms. Secondly, she examines how Indigenous people utilise cultural initiatives to contest settler colonialism and affirm sovereignty. She asks how are solutions to social problems, wellbeing and the future differently imagined? Her projects have a strong focus on remote and rural Australia. She is committed to broadening and challenging key concepts that inform policies and cultural politics. Her monograph, Anxieties of Belonging in Settler Colonialism, published in 2019 (Routledge), investigates the emotional politics of settler anxiety. Her interest is in the anxiety that arises when settlers are confronted with what they perceive as politics when they want to learn about ‚culture‘ or engage in practices of reconciliation. She asks why does Aboriginal political will continue to provoke and disturb? How does settler anxiety shape and inform public opinion and political solutions to Indigenous inequality and issues of social justice? She has recently been published in Continuum, Australian Feminist Studies and Ethical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference (Palgrave).

Michael Griffiths (University of Wollongong, Australia)

Michael R. Griffiths is Senior Lecturer in English Literatures at the University of Wollongong. He is the author of The Distribution of Settlement: Appropriation and Refusal in Australian Literature and Culture (UWAP 2018) and his essays have appeared in Textual Practice, Settler Colonial Studies, Discourse, Postcolonial Studies, Australian Humanities Review and many other venues. Griffiths edited the book Biopolitics and Memory in Postcolonial Literature and Culture (Ashgate 2016). He also coedited a special issue with Bruno Cornellier of Settler Colonial Studies titled: “Globalising Unsettlement.”

Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung

Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung is a choreographer, writer and freelance performer, descending from the Mbaiwum/Trotj, Alngith/Lininigithi Wikway and Wik Apalich Nations of Western Cape York. She is the author of five publications and three stage plays. Most notably, she won the David Unaipon Award for her biography, later published as Whispers of this Wik Woman (UQP, 2004). The book was adapted into a play, which debuted in 2006 at the Judith Wright Centre for Performing Arts in Brisbane. Fiona has been a choreographer for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair since 2015. She also worked as a choreographer with the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Indigenous Fashion Performance. She has just completed a PhD at James Cook University titled “The Call of Lineage: A Living Epistemology: A Practice-based Exploration of the Creative Voice as a Mode of Healing Grounded in Wik and Wikway Ontology.”