• Wednesday, 18 September 2019
    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This panel discussion explores the use of Sites of Conscience in learning and teaching, with a focus on legal education.

The Sites of Conscience global movement involves reclamation of places of human suffering and injustice as places of critical reflection and engagement, inviting visitors to make connections between a place’s history and contemporary debates on human rights, democracy and social justice. Sites of Conscience do not merely memorialise past events, but instead encourage public engagement with and accountability to those who have experienced injustices at that place, including deliberation on how we redress specific past wrongs and more broadly how we structure society (and legal systems) in the present and into the future. The National Heritage listed Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (the Precinct) is Australia’s first Site of Conscience. The Precinct is Australia’s longest continuously running institutional site. Originally, established in 1821 as a holding depot and prison for all unassigned convict women, over the subsequent decades until the present, the site has been repurposed at various times as a lunatic asylum, Roman Catholic orphanage, Girls’ Industrial School (Parramatta Girls’ Home), women’s prison and mental health facility. The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Association (a group of former residents of Parramatta Girls’ Home or Parragirls) has activated the Precinct as a Site of Conscience. They have transformed a once inaccessible and harmful site into a place of shared memory and belonging that connects past to present by engaging the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Generations of its former institutions to participate in how they are remembered and empowering them to determine how the site might be used in the future.


Register to secure your place here.

Linda Steele will discuss her inclusion of a field trip to the Precinct as part of her teaching in ‘Law and Mental Health’ during 2018 and 2019, and discuss findings of a small student survey of the 2018 cohort. Linda will be joined by Bonney Djuric OAM (Director of the PFFP Association) who will share her vision for how the Site of Conscience model might be used to engage university students from diverse disciplines. Professor Paul Ashton (Adjunct and Co-Founder, Australian Centre for Public History, UTS; Adjunct, Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra; Centre for Applied History, Macquarie University) and Dr Tobia Fattore (Macquarie Uni, Sociology) will also share insights from their teaching and learning involvement with the Precinct. The panel members will seek feedback from the audience in relation to a lesson plan to support more structured learning and teaching through the Precinct.


Bio: Linda Steele is a sociolegal researcher exploring intersections of disability, gender, law and justice. She is a member of the UTS Law Health Justice Research Centre and a co-convenor of the UTS Feminist Legal Research Group. Linda is also a Visiting Senior Fellow, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong. Linda’s research explores intersections of disability, gender, law and justice. She has a particular interest in the relationships between law and care and criminal justice total institutions. Recently, in collaboration with Bonney Djuric and the PFFP Association, she has been exploring the implications of Sites of Conscience practices for how we do justice in response to institutional harms. Linda is currently co-editing with Justine Lloyd (Macquarie Uni) a special issue of Space & Culture on sites of conscience and justice. The research to be presented at this seminar was supported by UTS Shopfront Community Program at the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion, University of Technology Sydney, through a Fellowship grant for high-quality community-engaged research with an emphasis on sharing widely the research results.

Bio: Bonney Djuric (OAM) is an artist, writer, historian and activist. Bonney practices across painting, new media and textiles. As author of author of two monographs on Parramatta Female Factory Precinct she is expert on the memorialisation of institutional sites of confinement associated with women, children and mental health. She is founder of Parragirls, a support group for former Parramatta Girls Home residents, and Director of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Association. She is the author of histories on the Hay Girls Institution (14 Years of Hell, 2008) and Parramatta Girls Home (Abandon all Hope, 2011). Bonney has realised many individual and collaborative creative works significant to the history of the Precinct and Parramatta Girls Home, producing new work for six major memory project exhibitions since 2013. Her advocacy on behalf of Parragirls and other Forgotten Australians has been acknowledged in both State and Federal Parliaments, and she is the recipient of a National Volunteer Award 2011, as well as the Parramatta Heritage Advocacy Award in 2013 and Parramatta Australia Day Award in 2017. Bonney Djuric is Adjunct Lecturer at University of New South Wales Art & Design Sydney and a member of the Order of Australia.

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