Listening and amplifying Indigenous voices: #IHMayDay @ UOW 11 and 12 May 2016

On 12 May 2016, UOW will co-host the third annual Indigenous Health May Day Twitter festival, or #IHMayDay16. The focus on the day will be Indigenous youth and families, and suicide prevention.

In previous years, #IHMayDay has trended nationally and provided a vital forum for Indigenous expertise and community-led solutions. In 2015 the event occurred both offline (hosted by Nursing & Midwifery at James Cook University in Townsville) and online, and 2016 will see an expanded real life-meets-cyberspace experience.

As in previous years, the program is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, and non-Indigenous people are encouraged to participate by retweeting and listening.

The theme for the 2016 Twitter festival is youth and families, and suicide prevention. Discussions on the day will be moderated by the founder of #IHMayDay, Dr Lynore Geia from James Cook University, and by A/Prof Bronwyn Carlson and Croakey contributor Summer May Finlay.

You can track the discussions and news at #IHMayDay16.

Leading in to IHMayDay, Wednesday 11 May will feature a program of face to face expert presentations on Indigenous health and skills share workshops on social media for activism and advocacy. To register for the workshops:

11 May Workshops IHMayDay16

Indigenous Health May Day will be of particular interest to students and staff in medicine, health, Indigenous studies, journalism and media studies

The event will be hosted by Associate Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Director of the Forum on Indigenous Research Excellence (FIRE), with her colleague in media studies, Dr Tanja Dreher. UOW’s involvement builds a collaboration between A/Prof Carlson’s ARC-funded research on Indigenous social media use, Dr Dreher’s Future Fellowship research on the politics of listening, and LHA-funded pilot research on Community and activist media in the Illawarra (Dr Sukhmani Khorana, A/Prof Bronwyn Carlson and Dr Tanja Dreher).

Associate Professor Bronwyn Carlson said: “#IHMayDay16 is an extremely important event given we will focus on youth and suicide prevention. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities experience suicide rates that are among the highest in the world. We are also avid social media users and our participation on social media is at least 20% higher than the national average! Let’s use social media to ensure that important information is shared. As a tool for action, social media provides us with a forum within and across territorial borders where our voices can be heard and where we can communicate, network, educate, share and challenge. Join us and be part of this initiative!”

Dr Tanja Dreher said: “#IHMayDay is such an important event, not least for the invitation for non-Indigenous people to participate by listening and RT-ing. I hope to learn more about the politics and practices of listening by working with #IHMayDay16. Hosting the event at the University of Wollongong is also an opportunity to showcase local expertise on Indigenous health and the many organisations doing fantastic work across the Illawarra.”

Dr Lynore Geia said: “I am thrilled that #IHMayDay16 is our third such event. For me, it’s about reaching out into national and international arenas, and talking about the issues of Indigenous health in Australia in its holistic sense. It’s about collaboration and developing genuine partnerships; it’s about moving forward. It’s so much more than a talkfest – it’s about building communities that want to see positive outcomes for Indigenous people and for our nation more widely.”

Summer May Finlay said: “To me, #IHMayDay16 is one day where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voices are privileged. I hope that people reflect on the dominance of non-Indigenous people’s voices on issues affecting us and consider how they can ensure that they don’t speak for us, over us or instead of us.”

For further information please contact or

IHMayDay 2016 is co-hosted with the Croakey social journalism project (

For more information on #IHMayDay16:

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