Listening for leadership: Exploring the territories of Australian Indigenous arts leadership

Research Cluster

Speaker:Michelle Evans, Melbourne Business School
Date: Wednesday 14 December 2011
Time: 4.00 - 5.30 pm
Location: Lecture Theatre C, Streatham Court, Streatham Campus

Further details

In this session, which I hope will be more of a conversation or workshop, I would like to share some findings from my doctoral research on Australian Indigenous arts leadership. I will briefly outline the literature on Indigenous leadership and how it differs from the mainstream leadership literature, in order to set the scene for presentation of three of the key findings. Indigenous arts leaders expressed skepticism about the word leadership, so through an appreciative, deep listening method of interviewing we explored the idea of leadership together.
I will also suggest that Indigenous leadership is best understood through the act of navigating a set of tensions that I have conceptualized as inhabiting a landscape or territories. Leadership emerges through these spaces that are informed by historical, political, linguistic and cultural discourses such as aboriginality; managerialism versus the artist; and belonging versus not belonging. Indigenous leaders are adept at navigating this set of territories, and I will illustrate this through excerpts from my primary research interviews. In response to calls from the leadership studies field to look in new places for new understandings of leadership (Bolden, Hawkings, Gosling & Taylor, 2011; Jackson & Parry, 2008), I suggest that through creating a space to listen to Indigenous leaders, beyond but including their resistance to leadership, we can learn something new.
Bolden, R., Hawkings, B., Gosling, J. & Taylor, S. (2011) Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organizational, and Societal Perspectives, Oxford: Oxford University Press
 Jackson, B. & Parry, K. (2008) A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about leadership, London: Sage Publications