Developing Self-Awareness as a Researcher: The Family Wellbeing Program
As a researcher, you have ideas and assumptions about how to bring about change in a social situation. These ideas are built upon a firm (and privileged) base whose main feature is access to both information and knowledge. When dealing with wicked problems and complex issues, such as how to prevent suicide among Indigenous youth, you must learn to put some ideas aside and support the research community to be the drivers of their own change. The social researcher becomes, in large part, a critical friend. Trust and knowledge must be built as the process unfolds. In this chapter, I introduce a program I encountered early in my Australian academic career, the Aboriginal Family Wellbeing program. This program, developed by an Aboriginal community in South Australia, has become an enduring feature of the work I do to assist communities to build their own capacity for change. In recent years, I have come to realise that this model, which is based on Indigenous research principles, has deep and abiding potential to build capacity, including self-awareness and positive mindset, not just in research communities, but also in researchers themselves.
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