An abbreviated version of Abiola Ajetomobi’s keynote address during our recent conference ‘Solidarity in Diversity: Highlighting Marginal Voices in Academia, Practice, and Society’ convened with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, from 19–23 July 2021.

Source: Arthimedes / Shutterstock

The role of allies and advocates is more important than ever in amplifying marginalised voices. We can advocate and amplify the voices of the underrepresented, underprivileged in the workplace settings, in the community, in public and corporate offices and in any environment where we see structural barriers and limitations placed on marginal groups.

It is humanly to do so.

Despite the best intentions, the power dynamics relationships between allies and the community they represent are still heavily rooted in the colonial era in all its forms.

Marginalised communities, on the other hand, are often reluctant to ask questions, challenge assumptions…


There are daily online panels featuring scholars, practitioners, and community members from Australia and around the globe from Tuesday 20 July — Friday 23 July.

Tuesday 20 July — Academic Panels Day 1

Welcome to Country (Wurundjeri Elder Tony Garvey)

Welcome from the 2021 ASG Conference Chair (Kennedy Liti Mbeva)

Welcome from Head of School of Social and Political Sciences (A/Prof. Jennifer Balint)

Chair: Dr. Kwabena Mintah (RMIT University)

Vince Dogbey (University of Melbourne) — Development for whom? The past, present and future of a people displaced by large-scale development project

Dr Charles Gyan (McGill University)– Women’s participation in community development process: lessons from rural Ghana

Farahnaz Sharifi (Swinburne University)– Accessing green space in Melbourne: measuring inequity and household mobility

Chair: Dr. Carlos Eduardo Morreo (IPCS)

Akuch Anyieth (La Trobe University) — Decolonising…


An Oxford Union-style debate between graduate students of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales and the University of Melbourne.

As part of its annual international conference, the African Studies Group and its partner institutions present the Unimelb-Africa Dialogue. It is a novel addition featuring a debate between the University of Melbourne and the University of Newcastle, New South Wales on the motion: ‘Solidarity in Diversity is a mirage’.

The motion reflects the broader Solidarity in Diversity theme of the conference aimed at providing a platform for discussion on the knowledge and experiences of Africans and other minority groups in academia and society. …


We hope you can join us for the online sections of the Conference; Monday 19 July — Friday 23 July.

We have POSTPONED Monday’s in-person Positionality, Power, and Participants in Research Masterclass due to the latest lockdown in Melbourne. We hope to run the Masterclass in-person later in the year and will be in touch with details as soon as alternative arrangements are confirmed. If you donated when registering and would like a refund, please get in touch via africanstudiesgroup@gmail.com.

Schedule for the Online Sections

Download the full Conference Programme

1:30 pm AEST Monday 19 July 2021
Oxford Union-style debate between the University of Newcastle and the University of Melbourne on the motion: Solidarity in Diversity is a Mirage

4:00 pm AEST Monday 19 July…


Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities

In this lecture based on his recently published book ‘Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities’ (HUP, 2020), Prof. Mahmood Mamdani argues that the nation-state and the colonial state created each other. In case after case around the globe — from the New World to South Africa, Israel to Germany to Sudan — the colonial state and the nation-state have been mutually constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority.

The model emerged in North America, where genocide and internment on reservations created both a permanent…


Ms Abiola Ajetomobi, the Director of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Innovation Hub, will speak on the critical role allies and advocates play in changing systems and policies to make society fairer.

Allies and advocates play a critical role in changing systems and policies positively to make society fairer for those that may otherwise be left behind. As individuals, small groups, movements, organisations, academia, social, public and political sectors, we have a pivotal role in gathering allies and advocates to activate change and leverage action to create a wider impact for community advancement. Harnessing the power of allyship and advocacy for change strengthens diversity and social inclusion to counter racism or alleviate social injustice in Australia, Africa, and worldwide.

Africa has endured a long history of oppression, suppression, determination and freedom; many…


Highlighting Marginal Voices in Academia, Practice and Society

Solidarity in Diversity: Highlighting Marginal Voices in Academia, Practice and Society is a five-day, hybrid event presented by the African Studies Group with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. It seeks to bring together scholars, practitioners, and community members to consider the significant ways social transformations are impacting the African diaspora around the world.

The program begins on Monday 19 July with a morning masterclass organised by Associate Professor Bina Fernandez and Professor Karen Farquharson, which will be held in person at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus. Unfortunately, this event has been POSTPONED due to the latest lockdown in Melbourne…


A two-hour Masterclass to be delivered by Associate Professor Bina Fernadez and Professor Karen Karen Farquharson.

We hope to be able to run the session in-person later in the year and will be in touch with details as soon as alternative arrangements are confirmed. If you made a donation when registering and would like a refund now, please get in touch.

A researcher’s intersectional social positioning necessarily affects their research topic, approach and implementation. How do we, as researchers, navigate doing our research? How are research power dynamics shaped by our own positionality and context? If our goal is to enable participants to have a voice, how do we do that?

Drawing on our personal experiences…


19–23 July 2021
Online and at the University of Melbourne

The call for papers is now open.

The conference seeks to highlight the voices of, knowledge and experiences of people of African descent, and from other marginalised groups and communities. It is structured around three key themes: solidarity and diversity in academia; policy framing and engagement; and in practice and community intervention.

The conference anchored on the question: Is solidarity in diversity feasible? The deliberations will aim to respond to the following sub-questions:

  1. What is inclusion? Inclusion to what?
  2. Who has the power to include?
  3. What is the criteria for inclusion?

The Solidarity in Diversity Conference will be held virtually


Q&A with Stani Goma of PBS FM, Melbourne

We are gradually coming out of the gallows of COVID-19 and what better way to celebrate the ease on lockdown than to watch a documentary together :)

African Studies Group

ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne.

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