The purpose of the 2009 AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference Perspectives on Urban Life: Connections and reconnections was to gather together a wide range of ideas and discussions that focused specifically on the needs of major city and regional communities. While the conference brought together papers about education, history, urban culture and much more, this particular collection of papers has a specific focus on health. All the papers in this volume involve the experiences and insights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers. Some have single authorship and others are co-authored. They arose out of urban experiences in Townsville (Queensland), Sydney (New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria), Canberra (ACT) and Perth (Western Australia).
This volume discusses experiences and insights of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers from across Australia on health challenges and successful strategies for urban Aboriginal health, with chapters on diabetes prevention, caregiving, injury prevention and the power of sport to reduce chronic disease.
This volume is bookended by two papers that identify and describe key and important messages that underlie all the papers in this volume. The first, by Paul Stewart and Ngarra Murray, describes how urban Aboriginal researchers were supported in telling their stories at an international mental health conference. Their recounting of this process is a clear reminder of how important knowledge within communities and among individuals has, in the past, been too easily ignored, marginalised and silenced. Universities, health researchers and health providers have too often sought to know and voice the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without listening and connecting with the people first. The final paper, by Michael Wright and Brian McCoy, concludes the collection with an important reminder: that such voices can only come through forming new partnerships, where careful listening and respectful conversations occur.