The training program

Kathleen Stacey has been a co-facilitator of cultural respect and safety training with Sharon Gollan in an Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal partnership since 2004, a workshop that Sharon initiated in 1994. The training is intended to form a key part of an overall set of strategies that organisations or professional groups can implement in order to strengthen cultural respect and cultural safety, including developing Reconciliation Action Plans.

The two-day ‘Cultural respect and safety – engaging respectfully with Aboriginal Australians’ workshop’ has been delivered across a broad range of sectors in all jurisdictions of Australia (it is not cultural awareness training). It extends and enhances participants’ ability to:

  • identify, understand and respond to racism, including institutional racism
  • recognise and understand how dominant culture and whiteness impact on experiences, opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • appreciate the impact of colonisation and dispossession for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, including the historical and ongoing effects in their everyday lives
  • support and implement initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as part of their work roles

“They have opened my eyes that this isn’t about learning about ‘Aboriginal culture’, but understanding my own power and privilege as a member of the dominant white culture, and how this stands in the way of Aboriginal Australians leading an equally opportunity-filled and rich life.” (Workshop participant)

“The presentations and exercises were extremely informative and useful for self-reflection. All were challenging, uncomfortable and ‘free’-ing. To be able to start thinking in a different way is a gift – thank you.” (Workshop participant)

“This has been the most valuable training I’ve ever done in terms of invoking an internal shift within myself to my ethics of living and being in the world. I’m hoping to do it justice when I am working ongoing within the service and in my personal life.” (Workshop participant)

More information is found in the workshop brochure. To gain detailed information about the approach, along with workshop content, process, outcomes, logistics and costs, click here.

Evaluation of the training experience

In September 2018, Sharon and Kathleen presented an analysis of the training experience and outcomes at the Australasian Evaluation Society Conference based on the evaluation surveys that participants complete at the end of the second day. This link takes you to the ‘Personal and professional transformation through cultural safety training’ presentation. The analysis was based on data for 31% of the 418 workshops delivered in the 2004-2018 period and represented 2,453 participants and an 84.5% return rate.

Close to 98% of participants reported they found the presentations and exercises useful in developing their understanding of cultural safety. Over 87% finished the workshop with clear ideas about how to apply their learning within their roles in service provision, or program and policy development. Another 9% indicated they needed further time but intended to do this. More details about the specific themes that emerged, their frequency and examples of how participants expressed them are found in the presentation.

Facilitating organisational cultural change

Kathleen and Sharon can assist organisations to plan, implement and evaluate organisational cultural change processes, as well as develop Reconciliation Action Plans and set up monitoring processes. This has occurred for a variety of organisations, such as the: Barossa Hills Fleurieu Regional Health Services (South Australia); Child, Youth and Women’s Health Service (South Australia); and the National Native Title Tribunal (national).

“The information was empowering but humbling…How we were confronted as white people, we have unearned privilege…It is a journey for us, and of partnership…We commit to continuing on the journey we have begun – honest, recognising ‘small steps’, challenging others and the status quo, calling racism for what it is.” (Workshop group feedback, Australian Government organisation)

“It has changed my entire perspective on racism and white privilege, which will translate into my personal and professional life.” (Workshop participant)

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