I am preparing commissioned articles for the following refereed publications:
– International Journal of Heritage Studies (editor Laurajane Smith)
– Australian Journal of Australian Studies (My article will be entitled ‘Sexual abuse: The core transgression of childhood innocence and society’s ultimate collective shame’, for inclusion in a special issue on the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, to be edited by Katie Wright, Shurlee Swain & Kathleen Philips)
Article: “The Care Leaver’s perspective”, in Archives and Manuscripts, 44:3, 160-164, DOI: 10.1080/01576895.2016.1266954 (published online January 2017)
Chapter by Jacqueline Z. Wilson & Frank Golding, “Muddling Upwards: The Unexpected, Unpredictable and Strange on the Path from ‘Care’ to High Achievement in Victoria, Australia”, in Philip Mendes and Pamela Snow (eds), Young People Transitioning from Care: International Research, Policy and Practice, London: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing. 2016
Latent scrutiny: personal archives as perpetual mementos of the official gaze, by Jacqueline Z. Wilson & Frank Golding
- Published in: Archival Science , Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 93-109 Onine publication date: October 2015, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10502-015-9255-3
This article examines the significance, in the lives of those who experienced out-of-home care as children, of the archived records of their institutionalisation. The affective ramifications of accessing the records as adults are discussed, with especial focus on the records’ capacity to revive past suffering. Drawing on the work of Bruner (1991, 1997) and MacIntyre (1981), a ‘narrative’ model of the self is utilised to account for the negative effect of systemic flaws in the records’ original composition. Such flaws, it is argued, have the potential to disrupt the individual’s sense of self.
The authors, who both experienced out-of-home care as children, present their own experiences of accessing the records, as case-studies. The records’ manifold inaccuracies and inadequacies are interpreted in light of prevailing welfare practices, in particular a highly damaging judgemental paradigm of gendered and moralistic assumptions of the inferior character of those in Care.
The authors conclude by arguing that research into the archives should involve the direct participation, as ‘insider researchers’, of those who experienced the matters contained in the records. Such participation is essential if the process of revealing and interpreting the archives is to maintain the dignity of the records’ subject-individuals, and ensure the integrity of the research.
Readers might like to see extracts from the anonymous referees’ reports because they show that increasingly people in a range of disciplines are beginning to appreciate the issues confronting survivors of institutional ‘care’:
Reviewer #1: This is a remarkable and extremely important paper. It is certainly a paper of its time and its difficult to conceive of such a paper being presented to an academic archival journal even five years ago. It is a critical story that needs to be told and the authors have taken what I see as an unprecedented step in telling their own stories in a public academic forum to enable both the intellectual and professional discourse in archival science to confront a reality that is almost impossible to relate from the archivist perspective.
Reviewer #2: …this article is articulate, interesting and does an effective job of communicating the affective and life altering ramifications of Care leaver files. In addition, its use of the author’s own experiences as examples of the impact of the writing of distorted narratives is well balanced with the contextual aspects of the piece…
On 29 June I joined Roads to Recovery host Greg McHenry on Radio 94.7 FM The Pulse, with Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary’s Geelong and Vlad Selakovic of CLAN to discuss the Royal Commission, how people recover from shattered childhoods, and other matters. You can hear the program by clicking on the button below.
May 2015: With Dr Jacqueline Wilson, “Caring about the past or past caring: the contested narratives of memory”, In the Apologies and the Legacy of Child Abuse, ed. by Joanna Sköld & Shurlee Swain, Palgrave Macmillan, London. Details here
OUT NOW “Going to the Shop”, in Overcoming the Odds: Care Leavers at University, ed. by Dee Michell, David Jackson & Casey Tonkin, People’s Voice Publishing, Adelaide. Details here.
WHAT MORE CAN WE DO?
I have added my address at the International Network on Studies of Inquiries into Child Abuse, Politics of Apology and Historical Representations of Children in Out-of home Care, 4th Annual Conference, University of Lund, Sweden, 3 December 2014
You can read it or download it here. An abstract follows:
This paper acknowledges that a great deal has been achieved in addressing child abuse in institutions, but there is much more to be done.
A host of national inquiries across the western world have listened to the testimony of victims and survivors and the cat is well and truly out of the bag. Yet, it is argued that the almost exclusive emphasis on sexual abuse (which we have known about for many years but have done little but wring our hands) has deflected attention away from the many other forms of criminal abuse and neglect of children taken into ‘care’.
Despite its focus on sexual abuse, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse provides a useful framework and methodology for much-needed research.
However, a critical question is why, with so many inquiries and so much research, so little has changed in the treatment of children in institutions.
I propose a fresh approach to such research involving a partnership between historians and others with survivors who are capable of bringing a different perspective to the task. An emerging literature of this type already suggests that these more reflexive narratives can successfully combine research skills, analytical powers and lived experience.
Making Men out of Boys: Soldiers from the Ballarat Orphanage in World War 1: 100 boys from the Orphanage volunteered for the war. They enlisted earlier and younger than the rest of Australia as a whole – and had a greater rate of death and casualty. Read it here.
“The Child Welfare Treadmill: generations of institutionalisation”, at the Australasian Welfare History Workshop, Hobart, February 2014. Online here.
With Cate O’Neill & Natasha Story, “Improving Access to Victoria’s Historical Child Welfare Records”, Provenance: the journal of the Public Records Office Victoria, Issue 12, 2013 Online here
“Writing for Survival” and two other short pieces in Deidre Michell & Priscilla Taylor, (eds.), Recipes for Survival: Stories of Hope and Healing by Survivors of the State ‘Care’ System in Australia, People’s Voice Publishing, Adelaide, 2011.
“Telling Stories: Accessing personal records”, in Surviving care: Achieving justice and healing for the Forgotten Australians Ed. by Richard Hil & Elizabeth Branigan, Bond University Press 2010.