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CDU conference to examine African-Australian narratives

Dr Stephen Bolaji Newsroom
CDU Lecturer in Education Dr Stephen Bolaji said the conference will explore narratives surrounding Australian immigrants with African heritage

Charles Darwin University (CDU) will host the first scholarly conference to interrogate narratives surrounding Australian immigrants with African heritage, at CDU’s Casuarina campus on 24 and 25 October.

The “African-Australian Education and Health Narratives Colloquium” was conceived by CDU Lecturer in Education (Graduate Program) Dr Stephen Bolaji to address growing concerns on the part of government, policymakers, and media about alleged “African gangs” in Australian cities.

“The colloquium is about understanding ‘aspiration’ in the Australian context and from an African perspective,” Dr Bolaji said.

“Immigrants from African nations have benefitted immensely from opportunities provided by Australian society and the Federal Government. In the past five years, however, there’s been contention regarding perspectives and narratives of Africans in Australia, particularly in the areas of health and education.

“It is important to be able to present these issues in a proper perspective in order to find out about the concept of ‘aspiration’ and develop ways to measure aspiration that are understood by African and non-African Australians.”

Dr Bolaji said that, historically, African parents regarded providing a good education for their children as the main role of a parent and encouraged their children to strive for excellence at every level of the education system.

“But this kind of aspiration is not necessarily an across-the-board way of thinking in Australia,” he said.

“This conference is significant in two respects – equity for disadvantaged humanitarian migrants is the subject of much research over a number of years but despite this, a preliminary scan of the literature has been unable to find a meta-analysis of the findings of studies, particularly over the last five years. Nor is there any consensus on how best the challenges of raising aspirations can be met.”

The “African-Australian Education and Health Narratives Colloquium” will feature keynote speakers from African and Australian universities canvassing topics such as “Quality Education and the Nigerian dilemma: Imperatives for Counselling” and “Female leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for the ‘Africa We Want’.”

Dr Bolaji said: “What is exciting about CDU hosting this event is that Darwin is one of the most multi-cultural places on Earth and the topics that will be covered are relevant for not only African Australians, but for all Australians.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information go to W:


When: Thursday, 24 and Friday, 25 October 2019

Where: Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus,

Session times: 9am to noon (Keynote speakers) Mal Nairn Auditorium, 1pm to 3pm Building Blue 2A

Contact: Dr Stephen Bolaji


T: 8946 6076