AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Designing and developing Aboriginal service organisations : a journey of consciousness

by Kelvin John Knox

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Department: School of Education
Degree: PhD
Year: 2006
Keywords: Aboriginal young people; Aboriginal homelessness; Hebersham Aboriginal Youth Service (HAYS)
Record ID: 1065787
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/13391


Aboriginal young people are exposed to the impact of colonisation in Australia. They are at risk of becoming alienated from their homelands, cultures, communities and families. Some have become alienated, joining one of the most marginalised groups in Australian society – homeless people. Aboriginal young people, many of whom are already marginalised because of their indigeneity, join a group that can be described as further marginalised – that is, Aboriginal and homeless. In essence, Aboriginal homelessness can be seen and described as a loss of sovereignty. The Hebersham Aboriginal Youth Service (HAYS) is an organisation that is responding to the phenomenon of Aboriginal youth homelessness. HAYS is funded and operates under a joint Australian Federal, State and Territory government programmatic response that assists people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This thesis reviews the design and development of HAYS as an Aboriginal service organisation. The central thesis research question is: How should a service for homeless Aboriginal youth be designed and developed? In addressing this question, a case study methodology is utilised which is capable of facilitating research in contemporary organisational settings, such as in HAYS where its design participants operate around specific visions and goals. The research findings indicate that HAYS should become a ‘modern-day tribal ground’ in the form of the Mount Druitt Aboriginal Homeland Centre (MDAHC). In order to progress this model, a substantive theory of coherent dialogue is presented containing five critical design and development propositions educed from the research. The theory contains lessons for the design and development of urban Aboriginal community service organisations. This thesis concludes with a plea for consciousness-raising between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people involved in the design and development of Aboriginal community service organisations – a move towards the development of a critical consciousness for a better world through coherent dialogue. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)