Doctoral ‘best practice’ research ethics reconsidered

Dr Jessica Weir1

1Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia


This presentation unpicks the ‘best practice’ that was my doctoral research partnership with an alliance of traditional owner nations from along the Murray and Lower-Darling Rivers (MLDRIN). It also builds on a collaborative paper about the inscription and re-inscription of colonial privilege through doctoral research conducted in North America and Australia, both with and without Indigenous communities (Weir et al., in peer review). Doctoral scholars support, and are supported by, a university system that routinely identifies injustice but does little about it, including decolonial research (Tuck and Yang 2014). I consider what could have been down differently when I did my doctorate, and identify some suggestions for non-Indigenous scholars and the academy in this deeply fraught knowledge generation space.  Clearly, research that challenges discriminatory knowledge hierarchies also needs to include the funding and governance structures and processes that support them.


Jessica Weir is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Her research has been supported through partnerships with Indigenous peoples across Australia, including her book Murray River Country: an ecological dialogue with traditional owners (2009). As an environmental humanities scholar, Jessica is particularly interested in the interactions of settler-colonial and Indigenous knowledge practices, and their conceptual/material consequences. Jessica is also a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School, ANU, and leads two projects funded by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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