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Join us in a conversation with Suzi Hutchings, Kim Mahood, Paul Carter and Melinda Hinkson to explore what is at stake in committed, difficult, intimate cultural writing in the present. 

Writing Close to Life: Perils and Possibilities

A panel discussion to mark the recent publication of Melinda Hinkson’s new book See How We Roll: Enduring Exile Between Desert and Urban Australia (Duke University Press, 2021).

Join Suzi Hutchings, Kim Mahood, Paul Carter and Melinda Hinkson as we explore what is at stake in committed, difficult, intimate cultural writing in the present. 


We are sad to advise that despite best laid plans, Shino Konishi has succumbed to Covid and unfortunately cannot join us on Thursday evening. We are however really delighted to announce that Suzi Hutchings has generously agreed to step in to join our panel. 

Thursday promises to be mild, there will be plenty of seating in our backyard as well as inside the Ashis Nandy room. Please do join us to celebrate our first coming together in 2022.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, these will be available on the night for $30 each (cash).

Please register to attend.

In See How We Roll Melinda Hinkson follows the experiences of Nungarrayi, a Warlpiri woman from the Central Australian desert, as she struggles to establish a new life for herself in the city of Adelaide. Banished from her hometown, Nungarrayi energetically navigates promises of transformation as well as sedimented racialized expectations on the urban streets. Drawing on a decades-long friendship, Hinkson explores these circumstances through Nungarrayi’s relationships: those between her country and kin that sustain and confound life beyond the desert, those that regulate her marginalized citizenship, and the new friendships called out by displacement and metropolitan life. An intimate ethnography, See How We Roll provides great insight into the enduring violence of the settler colonial state while illuminating the efforts of Indigenous people to create lives of dignity and shared purpose in the face of turbulence, grief, and tightening governmental controls.

“Reflecting on issues of migration, exile, and life under continuing settler occupation in Australia, Melinda Hinkson brings into view the quotidian pressures and moments of joy for diasporic Warlpiri communities while pushing against anthropology’s too hasty withdrawal from accounts of place-based difference. Her ruminations on ethnographic representation and theories of identity and place will bring long-standing anthropological debates to a new level of vulnerability and exposure.” — Tess Lea, author of Wild Policy: Indigeneity and the Unruly Logics of Intervention

“Melinda Hinkson communicates the massive sense of grief and loss that underlies contemporary Indigenous life in Central Australia while addressing the drastic and changing policies that the Australian government has imposed on Indigenous people. With her extended attention to Indigenous life in new conditions, Hinkson engages with social life in a framework that allows for its considerations in terms of global processes. An intimate and nuanced exploration of life lived in difficult circumstances, See How We Roll is a singular and beautifully executed book.” — Fred R. Myers, author of Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art

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Date: 7 April 2022
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Location: 78-80 Curzon Street, North Melbourne

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Kim Mahood Melinda Hinkson Paul Carter Shino Konishi Suzi Hutchings writing



Suzi Hutchings

is a social anthropologist and member of the Central Arrernte Nation. Suzi’s career is dedicated to working with First Nations peoples and communities throughout Australia. Since 1983, as a social anthropologist and Indigenous scholar of native title and family jurisprudence, Suzi has been consulting on the impacts of criminal justice and welfare intervention on Aboriginal youth and families. Her most recent engagement in this capacity was with the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (SA) providing expert cultural evidence in a child protection matter for a Pitjantjatjara family living in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Suzi has also worked extensively as a senior anthropologist on native title claims across Australia, including in Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT. She was the senior anthropologist on the successful Esperance Nyungar native title claim. Suzi also collaborates with First Nations young people exploring innovative ways to maintain and express Indigenous identities, resilience, resistance, sovereignty and indigeneity through music and performance. This has included a highly successful co-production on Indigenous Hip-Hop with Melbourne based Indigenous musicians and Boonwurrung Elders, and the Australian Music Vault, Arts Centre Victoria. Suzi produces and presents Subway Sounds for Community Radio station PBS 106.7FM in Melbourne. She is Associate Professor in Criminology and Justice Studies in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, where she teaches Indigenous Studies, Indigenous policy and policy design. Suzi is also the current president of the Australian Anthropological Society.

Kim Mahood

is an award-winning writer, visual artist and consultant. She is the author of two works of non-fiction, Craft for a Dry Lake (Random House 2000), and Position Doubtful – Mapping Landscape and Memory (Scribe 2016). A collection of essays, Wandering with Intent, will be published by Scribe in late 2022. Her essays have been published in art, literary and public affairs journals, and her artwork is held in state, territory and regional collections. She has worked as a writer and consultant on national Indigenous art exhibitions, including the Canning Stock Route Art Project and Songlines for the National Museum of Australia, and has developed cross-cultural mapping projects with Aboriginal groups in Perth, the Kimberley, Central Australia, remote South Australia and western NSW. Her mapping work is designed to foster communication and understanding between traditional custodians of country and the non-Indigenous stakeholders with an interest in the same country.

Paul Carter

is an internationally renowned writer, artist, and cultural heritage specialist. He has written extensively about white settler societies, their foundational myths and the ways these inform the places they create and the national narratives that hold them together. Paul has been involved with the design of commemorative landscapes (Nearamnew, Federation Square, Melbourne, 2002, Golden Grove, University of Sydney, 2007-2009), museum exhibits commemorating Indigenous and non-Indigenous senses of place (‘The Calling to Come and ‘Lost Subjects’, sound installations, both at the Museum of Sydney) and national memorials (notably ‘Out Of Their Feeling’ for the An Gorta Mor memorial to the Great Irish Famine, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney). Paul has published 15 books, including The Road to Botany Bay (1987; republished 2010), The Lie of the Land, Repressed Spaces, Material Thinking and Dark Writing. Paul is also Professor of Design (Urbanism) at RMIT University and was closely associated with the former New Zealand based journal Studies in Material Thinking.

Melinda Hinkson

is an associate professor of anthropology at Deakin University and director of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies. Her work explores fault lines in settler colonial Australia, much of it informed by long term research relationships with Warlpiri people of Central Australia. She has written widely on Aboriginal visual production and contemporary politics of representation; on the history of Australian anthropology; on the punitive transformation of Indigenous governance since the 2007 Northern Territory Intervention. Her most recent book is See How We Roll: Enduring Exile Between Desert and Urban Australia (Duke University Press, 2021). Her new research explores creative responses to disruption and visions of agricultural futures in NW Victoria as part of the IPCS project, ‘The Future of Food’.