Between Stories: Trans-Cultural Conversations for Troubling Times (David Abram & 9 leading Indigenous thinkers)

Tema Milstein's picture
Event Dates: 
October 20, 2021 to November 3, 2021
Live online (plus recording will be available for those who register)


Live online environmental/ecocultural communication-focused roundtable series (full disclosure: As a co-organizer, I will host the final session on "Language & Kin"):

Between Stories: Trans-Cultural Conversations for Troubling Times

Leading Australian First Nations thinkers and North American cultural ecologist David Abram explore our place in the more-than-human world.

Three Wednesdays: October 20 and 27 and November 3 • 12.30-2.30pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)*

This series of three roundtable conversations will probe how our thinking and acting in the world is shaped by cultural understandings of time, place, and language.

First Nations people understand that there is no separation between humans and nature, an insight shared by David. His dialogue with Australian Indigenous thinkers will explore the convergences and contrasts between Western ecological thinking and Indigenous knowledges.

* If the scheduled dates/times don't suit you, register instead to receive a personal email notification when video recordings of the program are available online. Registrations for video access close on 15th November.


David Abram is the founder and Creative Director of The Alliance for Wild Ethics, a cultural ecologist, and a philosopher who lectures and teaches widely on several continents. He is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology (Pantheon, 2010), and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (Vintage, 1997). David’s essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disruption are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. He has a long history of involvement with and respect for the Indigenous cultures of his North American homeland.

Session #1 • Wednesday 20th October


David will be in conversation with...

Mary Graham

A Kombu-merri person through her father’s heritage and a Wakka Wakka clan through her mother’s heritage, Mary’s professional career has spanned more than 30 years in several government agencies, community organisations and universities. She has lectured at the University of Queensland in Aboriginal history, politics and comparative philosophy, and developed and implemented the core university subjects of ‘Aboriginal Perspectives’, ‘Aboriginal Approaches to Knowledge’ and at the postgrad level ‘Aboriginal Politics’. Mary has written and published many prominent works.

Tyson Yunkaporta

An academic, an arts critic, and a researcher who belongs to the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland, Tyson carves traditional tools and weapons and also works as a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. Tyson looks at global systems from an Indigenous perspective. He asks how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently? He is the author of Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World.

Frances Peters-Little

Frances Peters-Little is a Yuwaalaraay/Gamilaraay woman. Frances is a filmmaker, historian, author and musician. Before becoming a Research Fellow at the Australian National University in the History Department she worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a producer/director. She now devotes much of her time as a trustee of the Jimmy Little Foundation, established by her late father, and is in the process of writing two books, Yorta Yorta Man (the biography of her father) and her own untitled autobiography.

Session #2 • Wednesday 27th October


David will be in conversation with...

Anne Poelina

A Nyikina Warrwa woman who belongs to the Mardoowarra, the lower Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Anne is an active Indigenous community leader, human and earth rights advocate, and filmmaker. She is also a respected academic researcher, with Masters degrees in Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Education, and Arts (Indigenous Social Policy), and a PhD (Health Science). Anne is currently Chair of the Murtuwarra Fitzroy River Council where she focuses on protecting this sacred river from the predations of miners and pastoralists.

Ross Timmulbar Williams

A Bindal descendent of the Mt Elliot, Townsville and Cape Cleveland clans and the Juru people of Bowen region on his father’s side, and Erub and Mer in the Torres Straits through his mother’s side, Ross has lived and worked for many years with First Nations land and water based cultural management. He has an in-depth knowledge of applied Indigenous ecological knowledge which has always been historically important to the sustainability of life. These practices are still applied today to provide food security for communities with a semi-subsistence lifestyle.

Lorina L. Barker

A descendant of the Wangkumara, Muruwari and Barkindji people from northwest NSW, Adnyamathanha (Flinders Rangers SA), and the Kooma and Kunja (southwest QLD), Lorina is an oral historian, currently Oceania representative for the International Oral History Association. Lorina is also an accomplished filmmaker and artist. She uses multimedia as part of her community art-based research projects to transfer knowledge, history, stories and culture to the next generations, in mediums that they use and are familiar with.

Session #3 • Wednesday 3rd November


David will be in conversation with...

Jakelin Troy

A Ngarigu woman from the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, and Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at The University of Sydney, Jakelin’s research and academic interests focus on languages, particularly endangered Aboriginal and ‘contact languages’, language education, linguistics, anthropology and visual arts. She has extensive experience developing curriculum for Australian schools, focusing on Australian language programs.

Payi Linda Ford

Linda identifies as Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu, from Kurrindju, on the Finniss River, in the Northern Territory and is currently a Principal Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University. She understands and is familiar with Indigenous epistemological practices and her knowledge and experience informs her research practises. Linda's understanding of Indigenous ways of being and knowing, and her ability to lead and contribute to local, national and international research projects brings Indigenist research methodologies to both academic and community work.

Kevin Lowe

A Gubbi Gubbi man from SE Queensland, Kevin is a Scientia Indigenous Fellow at UNSW, working on community and school focused research to bring sustainable improvement to Aboriginal education. He has expertise in working with Aboriginal community organisations on establishing Aboriginal language policy and school curriculum implementation. Kevin is currently reviewing research across key areas of schooling to establish Aboriginal Voices – a broad-base, holistic project to develop a new pedagogic framework for teachers.

Between Stories is co-curated by:

Kenneth McLeod (Anthropocene Transition Network Inc),

Dr Rosalie Chapple (Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute), and

A/Prof Tema Milstein (Environment & Society Group, School of Humanities & Languages, Faculty of Arts, Design, & Architecture, UNSW)