Indigenous Professor Chelsea Watego is set to join the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) next week, leading a $1.7 million project to develop Indigenist Health Humanities.
A Munanjahli and South-Sea-Islander woman, Ms Watego said the project was aimed at developing Indigenist Health Humanities as a new and innovative field of enquiry, building an intellectual collective.
“We are aiming to bridge the knowledge gap that hinders current efforts to close the gap in Indigenous health inequality,” said Ms Watego.
“The project will bring together health and the humanities and will examine how race and racism operate within the health system in producing health disparities experienced by Indigenous peoples.”
The funding was announced under the Federal Government’s ARC Discovery Indigenous scheme for 2021.
Ms Watego has spent more than 20 years working within Indigenous Australian health as a health worker and researcher.
She said the potential benefits included a more sustainable, relational, and ethical approach to advancing new knowledge, advancing research careers and advancing health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
The work will include opportunities for artists, academics, and activists to join and to take part in podcasts, writing retreats and public seminars.
“My work has focussed on interpreting and privileging Indigenous Australian experiences of the health system, including examining the role of Aboriginal health workers,” she said.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of QUT, Angela Barney-Leitch said she was looking forward to welcoming Ms Watego.
"Professor Watego’s voice and work on race is essential to changing how race and racism is examined in Australia. She will assist QUT in its work to influence the engagement, success and empowerment of Indigenous Australians,” said Ms Barney-Leitch.