Archival-Poetics is an embodied reckoning with the State’s colonial archive and those traumatic, contested and buried episodes of history that inevitably return to haunt; a way of knowing and being in the world that carries us lovingly back and forward and back again toward something else restorative/ transformed/ honouring/ just. Family records at the heart of this work highlight policy measures targeting Aboriginal girls for removal into indentured domestic labour, and trigger questions on surveillance, representation and agency. This is a shared story; a decolonising project through poetic refusal, resistance and memory-making. It is our memory in the blood, and it does not always flow easily.
Dr Natalie Harkin is a Narungga woman and activist-poet from South Australia. She is a Research Fellow at Flinders University with an interest in decolonising state archives, currently engaging archival-poetic methods to research and document Aboriginal women’s domestic service and labour histories in SA. Her words have been installed and projected in exhibitions comprising text-object-video projection, including creative-arts research collaboration with the Unbound Collective. She has published widely, including with literary journals Overland, Westerly, Southerly, Wasafiri International Contemporary Writing, TEXT and Cordite. Her first poetry collection, Dirty Words, was published by Cordite Books in 2015.
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