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.
Harmony Day is held on 21 March each year to celebrate our cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and promote a sense of belonging for everyone.
At Griffith, we not only celebrate Harmony Day on 21 March across all campuses, we celebrate the whole week!
If you’ve been into our libraries during Harmony Week in past years, you’ll know that we always have fun activities lined up to help celebrate diversity and inclusiveness. This year is no different!
As part of Harmony Week celebrations, our libraries will have a display featuring templates that you are invited to write your country’s favourite stars on to. This could be your favourite athlete, your favourite scientist, your favourite actor, or whoever else you may think of! Images will then be added to the templates to show who these stars are.
We’ll also be throwing a Human Library event at the Gold Coast campus library on Harmony Day where you can borrow a living and breathing book for a chat!
There will be further activities across all campuses throughout the week (19 March – 23 March) – check out the Harmony Week web page for a full list!
Did you visit your campus library on Harmony Day?
The libraries were awash with colour, with many of you partaking in our star making activity for the One Million Stars to End Violence project.
One Million Stars is a peaceful global weaving project that engages communities in a conversation about ending all forms of violence.
But you, our lovely students, weren’t the only ones to visit the library on Harmony Day.
The Griffith University Chaplaincy hosted representatives from Buddhist, Charter for Compassion, Christian, Hare Krishna, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Psychic networks and communities in the collaboration zones at Nathan and Gold Coast libraries.
Harmony Day was held at Griffith University on Tuesday 21 March. It is an annual event where we celebrate our cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and promote a sense of belonging for everyone at Griffith University.
You are a star, you really are! And that’s why you should pop into a Griffith University Library next week to celebrate Harmony Day.
Harmony Day is held each year on 21 March. It is a university-wide event where we celebrate our cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and promote a sense of belonging for everyone at Griffith University.
As a part of Harmony Day celebrations, our libraries will once again be taking part in the One Million Stars to End Violence project.
Visit the Star Making Table located in each library to weave a star or two, or three… In fact, we encourage you to make as many stars as you want!
There will be colourful ribbon, friendly library staff and easy-to-follow instructions available to you for the whole week. If you’re worried about your weaving skills, or just can’t wait until next week, head to YouTube and learn how to make them online.
The One Million Stars to End Violence is a peaceful global weaving project that engages communities in a conversation about ending all forms of violence.
It aims to end violence by bringing people together across the world to weave one million stars for a grand display in Queensland in 2018.
These woven stars are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.
For information about Harmony Day events across Griffith University, check out the Harmony Day 2017 web page.
Today is Harmony Day – 21st March – but we believe it’s so important, we made a whole week out of it!
The Libraries on each campus are taking part in the One Million Stars to End Violence Project – this means everyone has been busy folding stars out of ribbons. This is a great way to relax and unwind during study breaks – check out the instructions, make a few and bring them into your Griffith Library. You can also make the stars at each campus during the Harmony Week celebrations.
We are also including recipes this year – so get out your favourite recipes and bring them into your Griffith Library as well. Choose a different recipe and make it for family and friends!
Last year, Naomi, a Student Partner, facilitated the drawing of a mural and encouraged students to contribute.
Originally from the Netherlands – but still finds herself on an adventure 9 years later! – Naomi studies Secondary Education and wants to teach in Far North Queensland. Being involved in this project has made her feel part of the community and she wanted to share that with others. Starting with her own drawing, Naomi would then encourage other students to draw the first thing that came to to their minds. Assurance was made to all students that ‘art’ is subjective and even a simple symbol can express who they are and how they feel about harmony, making sure everyone is included at Griffith University and in Australia.
The decision to hang the mural up was not part of the original plan, but the response from people all over Griffith University was positive and it now is in the QCA library. Naomi is honoured that we all think so much of the mural – a “stream of consciousness” if you will – and hopes that everyone got to feel the same sense of community that she did while working on it.
Get involved on every campus:
Our Libraries will be seeing orange when the 2016 Harmony Week celebrations kick off!
At Griffith we are lucky to have students and staff with such interesting and diverse backgrounds. Harmony Week is an annual university-wide event where we celebrate this diversity, encourage inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
From 19 to 24 March our Libraries will join the celebrations with a range of activities that we’d love you to be a part of!
This year’s event will offer a special treat in the form of cultural recipes. Throughout the week students are encouraged to visit their Griffith Library to experience and share ‘A Taste of Harmony’. Each Library will have a display with blank recipe cards for you to share your international family recipe or enjoy someone else’s.
Harmony Week is also about giving back and this year the University is taking part in the One Million Stars to End Violence initiative.
Its aim is to end violence by bringing people together across the world to weave one million stars for a grand display in Queensland in 2018. These woven stars are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.
Either visit the Library display to create your own or learn how to make them online and drop it in once you’re done!
Were you at a Harmony Week celebration last year? Check out the 2015 image gallery and you might spot yourself.
Keep an eye on the Harmony Week website for more event details.