Did you ‘borrow’ a human book?
As we celebrated Harmony Week across the University, we held our annual Human Library on March 20. This event provided an opportunity to converse with someone about their lives, what makes them who they are, and most importantly, creates a safe place for open communication and ideas. The Human Library hopes to break down barriers, challenge beliefs and create a more tolerant society.
This year we had 14 wonderful human ‘books’, brave enough to share their stories with our readers. The books on offer included Sexually Abused Child, Lesbian Priest, Alcoholic, Prisoner of War, Jewish, along with representatives of our First People and many more. The Readers and Books asked questions and listened, in turn recognising the Human Book is not just a label, but they also had a story to tell.
Head over to our YouTube channel and take a look at the final product that raps up the day perfectly.
This year we held our first ever ‘Griffith: Then & Now’ competition. We did our best at creating Then & Now photos, then we asked you guys to come up with your own.
And we have to say, we loved seeing your take on a ‘Then & Now’ photo – you guys sure are a talented bunch.
We’ve had some amazing entries, and, after a week of voting, we have a winner!
Congratulations @md_mahdi11, you’ve scored yourself a $100 visa card!
Thanks to everyone who entered, voted or simply watched from afar.
We’d like to give a special mention to @trentellis11 – check out his image (below) of when he was a student at QCA’s sculpture studio in 1990, back when QCA was located at Morningside – compared to the derelict old Morningside site in 2015.
Sunday 17 March is Saint Patrick’s Day.
The day celebrates the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
However, over time, the day has evolved into a greater celebration of all things Ireland.
Celebrations usually include public parades, festivals, shamrocks, wearing green and the consumption of alcohol (this was encouraged from, historically, the Lent restrictions on drinking alcohol and eating being removed for the day).
Want to learn more about Ireland, Irish history and Irish culture? Check out our research on Griffith Research Online.
Some interesting titles include:
- The quick and the dead: Sexuality and the Irish merry wake
- Madwoman, Banshee, Seaman: Gender, changing performance contexts and the Irish Wake Ritual
- Echoes of the Banshee: The changing voice of Irish women
- Re-making an ‘old tradition’s magic’: The Irish strain in early Queensland writing
- The rise of Celtic cyber-diaspora: The influence of the “New Age” on internet Pagan communities and the dissemination of “Celtic” music.
Celebrate Harmony Week 2019 at Griffith University from 18-22 March.
This year we have plenty of activities and events happening across our campuses including craft activities, competitions, forums, feasts and freebies. The Library is joining in the celebration by providing origami stations and a hashtag wall for the community to have fun and get creative.
Enjoy the art of Origami by making your own bookmark. We have templates to create a fox, cherry blossom or tulip for decoration, or try your skills and find your own design.
Our #Hashtag Wall is a place to spread ideas of peace, community and diversity. Add your own hashtag, take a photo and share the message.
The library will be celebrating all week while campus wide celebrations will be held at individual campuses on the following days:
- Monday 18 March at South Bank
- Tuesday 19 March at Mt Gravatt
- Wednesday 20 March at Logan
- Thursday 21 March at Gold Coast
- Friday 22 March at Nathan.
Show your support for the day and wear orange with a Harmony Week T-Shirt available from the GUMURRII and Student Services stalls at your campus. All contributions go to the Miriam Rose Foundation Lego Drive.
Not on Campus? Share your support for diversity at Griffith from anywhere, by adding a “Harmony Week” profile frame to your display picture or posting a story with the Harmony Week story frame, available on Facebook from 18-22 March.
Get creative for “Harmony Week”.
For more information about Harmony Week at Griffith University please visit:
What happens when you get a group of people together in one room sharing their life stories, confronting social stigma and challenging prejudice? Magic!
Immerse yourself in a bestseller of a different kind at our Human Library.
On Wednesday 20 March 2019, we are flipping the Nathan campus library on its head and offering you the chance to borrow a person, instead of a book!
We’ve gathered together a group of storytellers keen to share their experience with social stigma, prejudice and discrimination in the hope to break down barriers, challenge beliefs and create a more tolerant society.
In our Human Library, you can borrow a human book on a certain topic and sit down with them for an honest and open 20 minute chat about their life experiences and the issues they have faced.
What kind of books can you borrow at our Human Library?
Want to borrow a human book? Want to be involved in this unforgettable experience? Register as a reader in our Human Library. There are limited sessions available in this two-hour event, so get in quick!
Book: Julie and Tara
Title: Cancer Vol 1&2
Story: We don’t refer to ourselves as “survivors”, as for us, the train we hopped on had to make it to the station where we could both hope off to a “new normal”. We both live with the guilt of seeing friends hop on the train, but the journey ended so differently. Our stories are similar in so many ways, but our journeys to our new normal were dramatically different. We are two friends, both diagnosed with breast cancer at the same age. Both adopted, so we had no idea if breast cancer was in our families. What we do know is cancer can also bring positive outcomes and the bond we now have is one of them.
Book: Uncle Bob
Title: Hidden Generation
Story: I was born to an Aboriginal father and a non-Aboriginal mother who separated when I was about three. It was the time of the stolen generation, when indigenous children were being taken from their families by government agencies. To avoid being identified as an Aboriginal, I was raised with my mother and white brothers along with grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins.
Story: I struggled with my weight since the age of 22. At a hight of 5’6 and weighing over 142kg I had tried everything to lose weight. I was so obese that I needed a walking stick to get around. When my doctor told me I would be dead in 10 years, I made a decision that would change my life. Aged 34 (at the time) and a mother of 2 children, I was not ready to die so young. My doctor suggested Gastric Sleeve Surgery, where 80% of the stomach is removed to reduce portion of food intake. I agreed on the spot, and started shopping around for a good surgeon. Less than 6 months later, I was on the operating table. That was in October 2017, and I have lost over 50kg and only have 20kg left to reach my goal. Most of my weight fell off me within the first 9 months after surgery, and I said good bye to my walking stick only 2 months after. It was the best decision of my life. I love my sleeve!
Title: Sexually Abused Child
Story: On a warm November afternoon in 1988, I was sitting next to my mother on a chartered bus from the Gold Coast to Brisbane. We were on a trip to see Whitney Houston in concert. I was sipping on my second glass of champagne, my second, ever. We were happily chatting, yet during the course of this conversation I blithely told Mum that I had been repeatedly sexually abused by John- when we lived in Mildred Street. I was 15 when I told Mum. I had lived with that secret for more than half my life. I saw my mother’s face crumple. It was heartbreaking. Despite all that I knew, this was the worst moment of my life… until then. That’s what abuse does. I may have learnt at an early age about depravity- but with that an ever-present sense of fortitude and compassion. And that’s what forgiveness does.
Book: Aunty Heather
Title: Female Elder
Story: I am a proud Kamilaroi-Kooma (Aboriginal) woman. I believe in bridging the gap and understanding with Reconciliation in my heart and growing as equals together as one. I believe that we need to develop an understanding of all cultures that make up the island we call our country of Australia, that we love and want to share with the world. As a younger person, I worked for 27 years in the outback on cattle and sheep stations, shearing sheds and earth moving camps. Today, I am Acting Aboriginal Co-Chair of Reconciliation Queensland Inc. and sit on the Board of Murrigunyah (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Women). I am Director of DV Connect (Domestic Violence service QLD) and work as an Aboriginal Elder running Cultural Workshops. For the past 14 years, I have worked as an Indigenous Cultural Consultant for Queensland Health in Child & Youth Mental Health Service.
Title: First in Family
Story: I’m a country girl from remote NSW, turned international lawyer on the world’s stage. I was the first in my family to attend University and started my law degree with no contacts, no clue whatsoever about what a University degree entailed, but with high hopes about what my future could hold. Now I’m a proud International Lawyer and advocate for human, womens and refugee rights. Trying to move mountains and create good.
Story: I am an Australian Jew who works as a Jewish Community Worker. I am passionate about Interfaith and demonstrating how my religion with ancient roots has a modern role in society. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and have been through the path of self destructive behaviors and now facilitate at a men’s group MARS (Men Affected by Rape and Sexual Abuse) to help other men through the healing recovery process. I believe communication is the key to bringing down barriers.
Title: Girl in a van
Story: I packed up my cosy apartment life, sold all my belongings and moved into a van, all the while staying in my home city and continuing my full-time job. It’s been two years now, and I’ve moved on to a roomier box truck, which I’m slowly converting into a functional tiny home whilst living inside. It’s still raw and has only a few amenities, but I’ve added some girly touches and it feels like home. I sleep in a different location most nights and spend the weekends road-tripping or staying at beaches and forests. I realise I can’t do this forever in the one town, so I’m saving and building and one day I’ll be able to quit the job and travel the country.
Book: Uncle John
Story: I am a Senior Learning Assistance Officer in the GUMURRII unit on Griffith’s Nathan Campus. I am a traditional custodian of the Gold Coast region, a Kombumerri man, a saltwater man of the Gold Coast part of the wider Yugumbeh Language Group. The Yugumbeh lands are located between the Logan River in the north and the Tweed River in the south. They are bordered by the mountains to the west and the ocean to the east. I am also a Griffith Business School graduate, Alumni and long-term employee (18 years) of Griffith University. I am a member of the Griffith Council of Elders and have the privilege of being acknowledged as an Elder on the Yugumbeh Elders Group.
Story: I’ve been on both sides – from Hijab-wearing devout Muslim to an unveiled ex-Muslim atheist. I left Islam after feeling a disconnection between my world views and the Islamic teachings, especially on matters regarding gender roles, the LGBTQI community and capital punishment. It’s a scary position to be in because some Muslims believe that apostates should be killed. Often, Muslims who wish to leave the religion never manage to do so out of fear of receiving death threats and being excommunicated from their communities. It is for the same reasons that I have not told my family and I continue to lead a double life when they visit me. If I have the chance to speak to people, I would share my story of me exercising my human right to non-religious freedom, and I would make a clear distinction between disagreeing with Islam and Islamophobia.
Title: Lesbian Catholic Priest
Story: I was ordained in 2010 as the first female Catholic Priest in Australia. I am a lesbian, foster mother, activist and passionate permaculturist and committed to providing a safe, welcoming and accepting church community for people to find comfort, inclusion and reflection. After suffering a major stroke in 2003 I dramatically changed my career paths. From the Chief Executive Officer of the statewide non-government organisation to a disability pension, I refocused my life direction, moving from a career in social work to theology. I learnt the value of good friends, fell in love and opened my heart and garden to build community. I could not be happier with my life. I love sharing my story of recovery, gardening and finding the spiritually of life on the way.
Title: Multicultural Advocate
Story: I grew up in a small city in India and came to Australia as a student. My dream has always been to unite people from all walks of life, to remove racial barriers and replace them with a sense of belonging. I made my dream come true by organising multicultural fashion shows that challenge the stereotypes of beauty and fashion through celebrating all men and women, no matter what cultural background, shape or size. I believe beauty is in the spirit which shines through in your eyes, in your laughter and through your happiness. Diversity and acceptance is the culture we should follow and I am proud to be a platform that says no to pre-existing stereotypes of the fashion industry as we lead the way to a more inclusive future all the while promoting multiculturalism.
Title: Muslim Male, Prisoner of War and Sufferer of PTSD
Story: As a 22-year-old international student, I didn’t know what September 11 really meant for Muslims until I was taken away from my hostel and locked behind bars. Nine months in a window-less cell, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the worst was yet to come. I was treated as a soldier of the unknown enemy, who had the capability to strike but didn’t have the motive (yet). But like every story, there was a happy ending.
Title: Urban Farmer
Story: I deeply believe that becoming more sustainable is simple, easy and achievable for everyone. We need to seriously start being more green in our homes and communities now, because everything we do has an effect on the Earth. I am an urban farmer, permaculturist and gut health guru. Originally from a rural farming background, I now strongly focus on urban farming – bringing food growing back into the towns and cities, where it has traditionally always been in sustainable cultures. I run several related local, national and international groups and projects to support homes and communities in sustainable living. Join the green revolution!
Book: Richo and Maggie
Title: Veteran and Assistance Dog
Story: A former Army Apprentice and member of the Royal Australian Engineers, I returned to university in my late 40s after a serious spinal cord injury. The study challenges ahead became overwhelming, until I was introduced to the Australian Student Veterans Association (ASVA). Today with the support of Maggie (Chief Happiness Officer / assistance dog), I am achieving great results in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
Story: I lost two children, and then I lost myself. It was a long journey through pain and shame to discover who I really was. I have discovered that escaping our feelings only brings more problems, sometimes facing the pain and feeling it, can lead to enlightenment. With the help of the AA program I gained an honest understanding of what it is to be a human being, accepting our imperfections and embracing joy and suffering as the whole of life’s experience.
Lightning Talks: Writing the country.
The Nathan Library (N53) will be hosting the first Lightning Talk of 2019, with a focus on Place. Land. Country. Home.
Our experts will be discussing how the Australian landscape changes and what they might become, if they are flourishing or at risk as we tackle climate change.
- Mr David Ritter
- CEO, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
- Prof. Brendan Mackey
- Director, Griffith Climate Change Response Program
- Dr Johanna Nalau
- Postdoctoral research fellow, Griffith Climate Change Response Program & Griffith Institute for Tourism
Join us as we talk about Australia and how we can be part of this amazing and unique landscape.
- 12 March 2019
- Willet Centre (N53)
- Nathan Campus Library