Skip to main content

CHRE Research Seminar 1 2018: “Paying attention is a moral act”

Posted on

Accepting the Stella Prize in 2016, author Charlotte Wood stated that ‘paying attention is a moral act.’ Wood tells us that to write truthfully ‘is to honour the luck and intricate detail of being alive.’

Event details

Join the Centre for Human Rights Education for the first in our Research Seminar Series for 2018 with speakers Rosemary Sayer and Reneé Pettitt-Schipp.

Register your place

In this presentation Rosemary Sayer and Renee Pettitt-Schipp will reflect on how the recording and sharing of personal stories is an act of attentiveness, as well as a deliberate disruption to the growing nationalism within the dominant Australian and global discourse.

Schaffer and Smith argue that ‘personal narratives expand audiences around the globe to be educated about human rights issues.’ Through the lens of their own creative non-fiction, Rosemary and Renee will explore the ‘luck and intricate detail of being alive’ in the stories of those who live on the margins.

They will discuss the underrepresented stories of refugees and asylum seekers in Western Australia and the contested nature of borders and its impact on refugees and asylum seekers – particularly those living on Christmas and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands used by the Australian Government for detention purposes.

The speakers

Rosemary Sayer is a creative non-fiction writer and former journalist currently undertaking a PhD in life writing and human rights at Curtin University. She has written three non-fiction books and her most recent book ‘More to the story – conversations with refugees’ was published in 2015. Her research interests are life writing, refugees and the power of personal stories. Rosemary has lived and worked throughout Asia and Australia and has lectured and tutored in refugee rights at the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

Reneé Pettitt-Schipp is an award winning writer and educator who lived in the Indian Ocean Territories from 2011 until 2014. Renee’s work with asylum seekers in detention on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) islands, inspired her first collection of poetry, ‘The Sky Runs Right Through Us’. This manuscript was shortlisted for the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize in 2015, and was released with UWA Publishing in February 2018. Reneé is currently writing a creative non-fiction thesis about her experiences in the Indian Ocean Territories as part of her doctoral studies at Curtin University.

Further information

If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate at this event please advise when you RSVP. We will contact you to provide assistance.

For information about disability services at Curtin, please visit