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Changing the relationship between First Nations people and other Australians


24 August 2020 at 5:24 pm
Luke Michael
The Deep Collaboration project is the culmination of a decade's worth of work


Luke Michael | 24 August 2020 at 5:24 pm


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Changing the relationship between First Nations people and other Australians
24 August 2020 at 5:24 pm

The Deep Collaboration project is the culmination of a decade’s worth of work

A new platform has been launched looking to help multicultural Australians have difficult conversations with First Nations people around race and power to foster better collaborations.

Deep Collaboration is a knowledge and capacity building platform that was unveiled by Collaboration for Impact (CFI) earlier this month.

It was developed from more than a decade of work by CFI working in partnership with First Nations and multicultural Australians to address complex challenges in their communities or organisations.

Deep Collaboration lead Mark Yettica Paulson told Pro Bono News the platform was about acknowledging that people often found it difficult to be aware of their power when collaborating. 

“People can be conflict averse when differences of opinions arise with race and power involved, and often they want to shy away from the issue,” Yettica Paulson said.

“What we found with the work of Deep Collaboration is that you actually have to lean into those moments to learn more about what it is that people are afraid to work through and approach. 

“Because doing so allows people to be a bit more open about what’s necessary for people to move forward.”

Deep Collaboration is designed for people creating shared leadership between First Nations people and other multicultural Australians, such as experienced practitioners, facilitators and community leaders.

The platform’s resources – including videos, activities and information sheets – aim to help people understand and work with complex forms of power and power dynamics in systems and groups.            

But Yettica Paulson emphasised that the platform does not replace cultural awareness or cultural competency work. 

“That needs to be done in addition to this work,” he said.

“This platform will help particularly those who are involved in the brokerage or the convening of collaborations and the freedom to be able to download this work means that people can start applying it to their context straight away,” he said.    

Yettica Paulson said between now and Christmas, CFI wanted to build broader public awareness of the project to help people find a new way to work and lead together.

“We want to build the capacity of Australians to have these difficult conversations on race and power [when] collaborating together,” he said.

“And Deep Collaboration will be part of that overall work that we want to see in Australia around changing those conditions of the way that we interact together.” 

Yettica Paulson added that another aim was to get First Nations people and other Australians to collaborate for longer.                  

He said he hoped people will develop a greater appreciation for collaboration and working towards improved outcomes.

“In the far future we want to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future for Australia [which involves] First Nations and other multicultural Australians having a much better footing when they work together,” he said. 

“And if you want to look specifically at how you improve your collaboration skills, no matter what your starting point is, then Deep Collaboration is a good place to start.”

You can check out the platform here


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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