Toward an Emerging Indigenous Feminist Spatial Methodology

Ms Maeve Powell1

1Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


Geographers, sociologists and anthropologists have long argued for a collective ‘right to the city’. This concept has been applied to topics such as political movements, race, and gender and sexuality. There is an emerging literature which considers the ‘right to the city’ in relation to Indigenous peoples claims for self-determination. With the increasing presence of Indigenous people in the academy and the emergence of the field of Indigenous studies, traditional disciplines are grappling with how to engage in ethical research with Indigenous peoples in cities. Drawing from Indigenous studies and critical geography, in particular, the work of Mishuana Goeman and Sarah Hunt, this paper describes an Indigenous Feminist Spatial Methodology. I will explore this approach in relation to the settler colonial context of my own research in Canberra which examines urban Indigenous belonging. This emerging practice can inform research design, providing insights which raise new questions and ways of doing research.


Maeve Powell is Ngiyampaa from Sydney and Canberra with links to western NSW. She is currently a PhD Scholar and Research Associate at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU.  Her research interests are in spatial decolonisation, Indigenous belonging, critical race studies, and Indigenous education. She positions her academic work within a critical trans-Indigenous scholarship.

At and Beyond Boundary Street: Technologies of Control & Resistance and the Production of Plural Colonial Spaces

Ms Anna Carlson1, Mr Max Mitropoulos1

1University Of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


In this paper, we draw on the theoretical framework outlined above to critically examine the (continuing) operation of Boundary Streets in our home context of Brisbane. Using Boundary Street as a case study, we consider the constant co-existence of Indigenous sites of resistance, refusal and revival; practices of colonial enclosure, restraint and oversight; and the reproduction of “white spatial existence” (Mitropoulos 2019). By focusing on contestations over Boundary Street, we draw our attention to the simultaneous maintenance of diverse colonial spaces and the boundaries between them: ‘frontiers,’ Boundary Streets, prisons and Missions; as well as the domestic spaces, suburbias and white picket fences that accompany and support them. We suggest that thinking about the production and reproduction of these colonial spaces over time helps to make visible how colonialism operates at the intersections of race and place. Drawing on archival, anecdotal and auto ethnographic examples from our PhD projects, we examine the multiple and nuanced demonstrations of colonialism on Brisbane’s boundaries through control and restraint; surveillance and oversight; and through the protection and normalisation of “white possession” (Moreton-Robinson 2015).


Anna is a radio producer, illustrator and researcher of Scandinavian and Irish descent, currently based in Meanjin. She is an organiser of Brisbane Free University & co-produces 4zzz’s Radio Reversal. Her PhD research investigates the relationship between surveillance and colonialism in Brisbane from an intersectional, spatial standpoint approach.

Max Mitropoulos is a descendent of the Kullilli people. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. He is based at UQ’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. Max’s research interest is in interrogating the ordering of spatial existence within and beyond the colonial context with a particular focus on technology.

Relational Repossession: Property as Land in Urban Australia

Dr Naama Blatman-thomas1

1The University Of Sydney


Repossession of land by Indigenous people is commonly understood as a legal act that unfolds within the confines of state apparatuses. But for many Indigenous urbanites, legal repossession is both impossible and irrelevant due to their histories of dispossession and dislocation. Moreover, while land repossession in Australia is predominantly non-urban, I demonstrate that land is also reclaimed within cities. Urban repossession of land, considered here as relational, rather than legal, challenges the model of private ownership by asserting the cultural value of property as land. While the property order continues to dispossess Indigenous urbanites, relational repossession invokes an alternative ontology of property based not on ownership, but on usage. Relational repossession thereby retrieves Indigenous identity through acts of territorial emplacement that compel relinquishment of non-Indigenous properties.


A lecturer in urban geography at the University of Sydney, Naama’s research is both historical and ethnographic in nature. Her work explores issues of Indigenous rights, mobilties and belongings, as well as land, property and housing in settler-colonial cities in Australia and Israel/Palestine.

Historical Geography and the nature of public space: Exploring how the settler-state employs neoliberal logics to transform the Indigenous estate.

Mr Paul Dornan1

1Swinburne University Of Technology, Melbourne, Australia


With neoliberalism established as global political and economic orthodoxy, the public space has come under increasing threat. Collective social organizations, such as those that feature in many of the world’s Indigenous populations constitute a long-standing anathema to neoliberal logics that espouse eminence of the free-market. Specifically, the social organization of Aboriginal communities in remote Australia does not comport with neoliberalism’s ethic of individualism and has therefore become a critical site of contestation as the settler state attempts to encroach upon the Indigenous estate and irrevocably alter its design. The present article suggests that Historical Geography can provide a unique analysis of neoliberal inspired projects that aim towards the permanent transformation of the public space. By focusing on the historical use, and development of Aboriginal reserves by the settler state, the article foreshadows a decolonizing Historical Geography that explores how geographical space is altered to dispossess Aboriginal people from their land.


Third year PhD student at Swinburne University researching how a neoliberal notion of responsibility has shaped Australian Government Indigenous policy as part of an ongoing settler colonial dialectic of domination.

Paul Dornan

Swinburne University of Technology

About provides delegate registration, website and app solutions, and financial management for conferences, conventions and scientific meetings.

Terms & Conditions

All registrations and bookings are subject to our standard term and conditions.

Contact Us

Please contact the team at with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2017 - 2020 Conference Design Pty Ltd. is a division of Conference Design Pty Ltd.