Dr Marlene Longbottom BUS/AHSRI - PERL Fellowship commences October 2021
Marlene is a Yuin woman from Roseby Park Mission in the Shoalhaven region. Her PhD explored the issues of interpersonal violence with Indigenous women in the Shoalhaven with her thesis nationally recognised in the top four finalists for the AIATSIS Stanner Award. Marlene's work has strong impact and is translational into various sectors that can be evidenced with the various research and evaluation projects she has been part of and is often called upon to provide expert opinion. Marlene is called upon to present or discuss a broad range of matters relating to social justice issues, trauma and violence.
Dr Elizabeth Dale BUS/AHSRI – PERL Fellowship commences July 7 2021
Liz Dale is a descendant from the Worimi Nation and is a practicing clinical psychologist (registrar) with over 15 years of experience working in non-government and clinical settings. Liz also has over five years’ experience working as a researcher for the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine, the Australian Health Services Research Institute and Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.
Liz’s recently submitted PhD thesis explored the cultural utility of mainstream mutual support groups for Indigenous peoples seeking recovery from problematic behaviours such as substance use, gambling and eating. Three research projects were conducted in partnership with SMART Recovery Australia and six Indigenous communities across NSW, SA and WA.
How has your research been impacted during COVID?
Marlene: My work has been severely impacted by COVID. I was in the US undertaking my ethnographic field work that was part of my postdoctoral research. I had spent six months connecting with community and was to commence the on site work with the organisation I had partnered with. The interruption due to COVID meant I had to leave the US within two days as the international borders were closing. While I have maintained a virtual connection since returning to Australia, this really impedes the research as I am not there in person. Much can be lost in the virtual space.
Elizabeth: Thankfully COVID has not had a negative impact my research to date. The study that I have just completed (published in addiction science clinical practice) utilised the Delphi method which meant that I could involve Indigenous peoples from culturally and geographically diverse locations around Australia without having to travel and without added burden on their personal, community or professional obligations.
What does a world with "reduced inequalities" look like to you?
Marlene: For me, it would mean I wouldn’t have to focus on race and racism, the impacts of systemic, structural and interpersonal experiences that cause harm to Indigenous people and communities. I doubt whether we’d ever be free of racism, as it is a human and social construct. Therefore people will always seek to categorise or classify people and community groups… Ideally though, there would be less Indigenous women dying as a result of not being protected, while also being treated as humans and able to receive the support they need when seeking help.
Elizabeth: To me a world with reduced inequalities would look like a world that has only partially achieved the ultimate goal of total equality. I would envision such a world would no longer discriminate people based on social status, race, gender, ability, religion, or sexuality. In this world there would be a louder and much more respected Indigenous voice. Political, health and social systems would embrace Indigenous knowledge’s and decision-making powers would be shared to ensure the betterment of all people, not just the majority culture.
How does your research work towards reducing inequalities?
Marlene: As an ECR, I’m working towards assisting Indigenous communities navigate carceral spaces. This is to protect people and keep them alive, specifically Indigenous women and children. I hope that in twenty years time I can look back an see the impact that I’ve been able to make by knowing that Indigenous women can access the police and not be retraumatised or experience micro and macro aggressions that they often experience today.
Elizabeth: My research contributes towards reducing inequalities for Indigenous peoples by highlighting Indigenous peoples research priorities and leveraging Indigenous peoples knowledge’s to help create a more inclusive society.
What does this PERL fellowship means to you and your research?
Marlene: The PERL will enable me to continue the work that I have been developing over the past four years, as part of my postdoctoral program including a book in the field of violence and trauma in Indigenous communities.
Elizabeth: This PERL fellowship will allow an Indigenous researcher to take importance first steps to address knowledge gaps in our understanding of how disordered eating and eating disorders are experienced amongst Indigenous populations. Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa have the highest mortality rate of all diagnosable psychiatric conditions. Recent research suggests a higher prevalence of these disorders amongst Indigenous Australians. The provision of this fellowship also means that an Indigenous person can lead an evaluation of the cultural utility of the current treatment field to determine if mainstream assessment, diagnostic and treatment approaches are culturally appropriate and effective. This PERL fellowship will allow me the opportunity to extend this work to explore Indigenous people conceptualisations and experiences of problematic eating and evaluate the cultural utility of existing clinical assessment and interventions.