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Natalie Harkin Natalie Harkin i(A144935 works by)
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal Narungga ; Aboriginal
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Natalie Harkin is a poet and artist of Narungga descent (SA), a member of the Chester family from Point Pearce in South Australia. She has professional experience in government and non-government sectors, but mostly in the Indigenous higher education sector in South Australia. She has worked at Wilto Yerlo and Yaitya Purruna at the University of Adelaide, the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research at the University of South Australia and is working as a Lecturer with the Yunggorendi Student Engagement team at Flinders University.

In 2015 her collection of poetry titled Dirty Words was published by Cordite books.

Her current research centres on her Aboriginal family story and weaves together a love of storytelling, activism and resistance-poetics through art and literature, and Aboriginal writers and artists who engage critically with State record archives. She is weaving her own creative-nonfiction and poetic-prose throughout the research.

She has been an active member of the South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Storytellers and Writers Group and has shared her poetic-prose at conferences, local events and festivals, including a workshop with the 2014 International Writers Festival, Ottawa. Her words have also been projected in several exhibitions comprising text-object-video projection, including a basket woven from her grandmother and great-grandmother’s letters from the archives.

Natalie is also a member on the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Board, the Arts SA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Assessment Committee, and has contributed in a number of healing workshops through SA Link-Up, Aboriginal Community Homecare, and Aboriginal wellbeing camps for elders. In 2017 she was a member of the Indigenous Australian Dictionary of Biography working party.


Courting Blakness website, hosted by AustLit.

Natalie Harkin, Flinders University

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Archival-Poetics Colonial Archive : Archival-Poetics Sydney : Vagabond Press , 2019 15786299 2019 selected work poetry

'Archival-Poetics offers a unique contribution to Australian poetry through a new way to write into, and out from, the State’s Aboriginal archives and from a Narungga woman’s standpoint. It will demonstrate an embodied reckoning with the colonial archive and those traumatic, contested and buried episodes of history that inevitably return to haunt. Family records at the heart of this work include South Australia’s Aboriginal Protection Board and Children’s Welfare Board records, highlighting assimilation policy measures targeting Aboriginal girls for removal into indenture domestic labour. Three interconnected threads underpin this Archival-poetic writing, and each thread is expanded as the theoretical heart to each section of the work: On Blood Memory – a reclamation of re-imagined histories through cultural identity (blood), narrative (memory) and connection to country (land); On Haunting as a ‘way of knowing’ – an active and honouring response to that which is silent and hidden; the seething and felt, yet unseen presence of colonial violence or unfinished business; On the Colonial Archive – a poetic spotlight on the colonial State and those key institutions, repositories and systems that maintain and perpetuate dominant discourses and representations on Indigenous peoples and histories. Each section of the work will be a potent, multi-textual artefact in its own right that centres the affective, transformative and honouring dimensions of haunting, where the potency of place, colonial-histories and blood-memory collide. They each bear witness to the state’s archivisation processes and the revelation of what is both absent and present on the record. As a trilogy offering in one volume of work, it collectively considers important questions of representation, surveillance and agency; and questions of power that resonate in our daily lives, on and through the colonial archive. It also bears witness to individual and collective loss in order to actively honour and contribute, beyond the local, to larger counter-hegemonic narratives of colonial history. This work demonstrates a critical-creative way of decolonising and transforming the colonial archive through poetic refusal, resistance and memory-making; a poetry that also engages theory, images and primary source archival material.'

2020 winner Festival Awards for Literature (SA) Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature John Bray Award for Poetry
2020 winner Australian Centre Literary Awards The Kate Challis RAKA Award
2020 commended New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Indigenous Writer's Prize
2020 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
y separately published work icon Dirty Words Melbourne : Cordite Press , 2015 8475582 2015 selected work poetry (taught in 1 units)

'Dirty Words, an A to Z index of poetry, is a restless offering; an unfolding that may begin on any page. This to-ing and fro-ing of observation is an un-binding of sorts; a mournful rage with beauty and deep love between the lines to disrupt and transcend the pain and disdain. This book is a reminder that what is (re)produced and (re)presented for general consumption, by institutions of power, is often steeped in myth-making and persistent colonial ideology. This small contemplation on nation and history is informed by blood-memory and an uncanny knowing beyond what we are officially told; a reminder of multiple lived-histories, of other ways of knowing and being in this world. Our elders and ancestors fought for the right to exist and speak up into the future – there are traces and signs, and there was always resistance. Dirty Words is my ‘note-to-self’ to speak up, to unsettle and to be brave; to not be silent when another voice would be easier or expected. There is still work to be done, and difficult conversations to have. Hidden stories can be honoured, exposed and shared, and there is always poetry.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2015 commended Anne Elder Award
2016 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Indigenous Writer's Prize
Last amended 15 Jun 2018 07:57:00
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