Next in Colour: an alternative setting navigating race and power in the pursuit of self-determination

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Agung-Igusti, Rama (2022) Next in Colour: an alternative setting navigating race and power in the pursuit of self-determination. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


In Australia people of African heritage are subjected to racialised structural exclusion grounded in ideologies of white supremacy. However, resistance can be enacted through the creation of alternative settings that through self-determination foster greater control over symbolic and material resources and to imagine more just ways of knowing, being and doing. Next in Colour (NiC) is a self-determined initiative in Naarm (Melbourne) led by Colour Between the Lines, a collective of creative artists of African heritage. The initiative developed networks of support, opportunities and vocational pathways to the creative industries for people of African heritage; and engaged community arts approaches to foster critical conversations about identity, belonging and community and surface counter- narratives about the African diaspora in Australia. This study documented how self- determination came to be understood and enacted through the alternative setting of the NiC initiative and how self-determined outcomes were constrained and facilitated through the organisations CBTL sought support from. Informed by decolonial and critical race frameworks data from semi-structured interviews, participant observation and archival research was collected drawing on community-engaged approaches and analysed through a frame of critical narrative analysis. The findings show that NiC served as a homeplace for healing and deconstruction, and a site to reimagine relationships and ways of working that supported decolonial actions of counter-storytelling, authentic visibility and building of solidarities. However, whilst CBTL looked to key organisations to support the initiative and build capacity, forms of racialised structural exclusion NiC was responding to were reproduced in these organisational relationships, constraining self-determination and contributing to hidden labour as CBTL navigated and resisted these dynamics of control and exclusion. The findings of this study show the importance of self-determination and community arts practice within the creation of alternative settings towards liberation and structural inclusion for racialised communities. Further, it highlights the necessity of a contextualised analysis of power and ideology to understand how such settings can best be supported.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5205 Social and personality psychology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords self, creative practice, African diaspora, Australia, Colour Between the Lines, community arts, community arts practices, social change, identity, community, racism, racialisation, organisations, community psychology, race theory, decolonial theory, participatory arts organisation
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