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Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Working paper

This scoping paper is a preliminary introduction to the aspirations, interrelated literature and research involved in development of the Kimberley Transitions Project the full name for which is Kimberley Transitions: Collaborating to Care for Our Common Home. The focus is on Western Australia’s Kimberley region, a landscape of immense natural and cultural significance. Along with the rest of Australia, and indeed the world in which we all live, the Kimberley is on the verge of major climate, political, social and economic change. The direction of changes being proposed by governments and industry are regularly criticised, both globally and locally, by individuals and organisations concerned about damage to its rich biodiversity and cultural integrity. With the aim of collaboratively generating Kimberley-based responses grounded in local knowledges, a mix of disciplines and emerging international theories, scholars and relevant groups have come together to form a Kimberley-wide practical and shared research agenda.
Kimberley Transitions is all about living collaboratively, cogently, hopefully, and gently in our world, informed by Kimberley wisdoms and placebased knowledges.

Key Findings:

  • In the Kimberley, along with other parts of Australia and internationally, human tragedies and associated difficulties exist, such as youth suicide, food insecurity, and conflict over large scale industrial and agricultural development with threats to water, cultural and environmental values.
  • One of the key influences behind the project is an international transitions movement which aims to generate collaborative change incorporating a process of transition. Locally identified issues using local knowledges and capacity are central to its evolution.
  • This paper is primarily a selective review of literature to refine a transitions discourse for Kimberley use, along with thumbnail sketches of doctoral research currently beginning or underway through the project. Internationally and nationally, ‘transitions discourse’ as a conceptual and theoretical framework is a recent addition to the transitions movement, and the researchers of this paper believe it is a useful tool for groups working towards better Kimberley futures.
  • From a transitions discourse perspective, the solutions to Kimberley problems are in Kimberley-based knowledges and ways of knowing, doing and being. This innovative approach to development is the project’s significance and as a case-study of transition, it is of high potential value both locally and globally.
  • Working closely and collaboratively with Fitzroy Valley Aboriginal groups alongside the local Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALaCC), and navigating historical legacies of government policies, legislation and service delivery, this doctoral research focuses on the future cultural, economic and social sustainability of remote life.

Via the Kimberley Transitions project, Kimberley-based researchers and collaborators aim to support and further document social, cultural and economic change inspired by the transitions movement and informed by transition discourses. It has the Kimberley landscape and people at its heart; a transformative approach featuring cultural healing, intellectual rigour and an ethos aimed at enduring, practical and interconnected sustainable outcomes.

Publication Details


Access Rights Type:
Nulungu Research Paper No. 2