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Fifty Deakin staff members and students attended 'Courageous Conversations about Race' workshops at the Geelong and Burwood campuses to mark Harmony Week in March 2013.
Conducted by Malcolm Fialho, Senior Diversity Officer and race expert at the University of Western Australia, these interactive workshops were critical in raising racial consciousness, examining concepts of 'whiteness' and 'privilege' that contribute to race-based inequity and power differentials, and paving the way for deeper conversations about race and action within Deakin.
This activity provides staff with greater cultural competency to work with students from diverse backgrounds.
It also aligns with the University’s LIVE the Future implementation plan – to deepen our understanding of cultural diversity, cultural complexities and sensitivities and racism, in order to:
The Courageous Conversations About Race workshop uses a combination of experiential narratives/stories and values-based exercises within a race privilege conceptual framework to promote a deeper, more active and sustained engagement with the issues of cultural diversity, racism and community harmony. The process meaningfully engages, sustains and deepens the race dialogue at multiple levels.
There are three key conceptual elements underpinning the Courageous Conversations About Race model:
Harmony Day, 21 March, marks the anniversary of the United Nations ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racism, of which Australia is a signatory. Harmony Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the cultural diversity of our community. Deakin is also in the process of joining the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Anti-Racism Campaign.
Two 3.5 hour workshops were held - one at the Burwood Campus and one at the Waterfront Campus.
Malcolm Fialho has over 20 years experience in the diversity and human rights sector in Western Australia. Prior to taking on the position of Senior Diversity Officer at the University of Western Australia in 2000, Malcolm held leadership positions in the diversity area across the Commonwealth and community-based sectors.
Malcolm holds postgraduate qualifications in cross-cultural psychology and is passionate about further developing and deepening an informed understanding of ‘race’ through enquiry, dialogue and debate.
'I thought this was an excellent workshop. Malcolm was a very knowledgeable, engaging and inspiring speaker. I learnt a great deal and was reminded of the need to continually work on these issues.'
'I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. I found the topics and discussions relevant and eye opening. Malcolm was a fantastic presenter. I believe it was highly beneficial and will recommend it to my colleagues.'