Shoulda Been There: There are always more interesting events than hours in the day, but every now and then there is an event that is so interesting, rewarding and inspiring I cannot resist saying, “You should’a been there”.
This time, you should’a been at the University of South Australia, or online like I was, to see Tyson Yunkaporta and Jack Manning Bancroft deliver the keynote speeches discussing Indigenous Systems Thinking at a day-long event hosted by Uni SA Yunus Social Business Centre, Wicked Lab, and Catalyst 2030.
The reason that it gets raised to Should’a Been There status is the fact that it directly tackles the yawning gulf between the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals and the realities of the global economy and offers an approach that might help close the gap.
Dr Yunkaporta nails the intractable dissonance between the normative agenda of, say, eliminating global poverty and the reality that all western liberal democracies fund their well-being through extraction and exploitation of one kind or another. The 11 minute summary of his keynote speech delivers that message in two parts: a yarn demonstrating the complexity of any specific issue followed by an example of how stark the challenge is when you try to address any single issue in that complex array of issues.
Listen to the summary on Geoff’s Soundcloud.
Tyson describes himself as a ‘glass half empty guy’ and hands over to Jack Manning Bancroft as a ‘glass half full kinda guy’. Jack extends the narrative arc from initially identifying a similar gulf between good intentions and actual outcomes of the colonist process of indigenous recognition through specialist events such as NAIDOC, welcomes to country and indigenous studies; making the point that these activities operate as containers or ceilings rather than liberating opportunities or floors. He then describes the leap that he took in smashing the ceiling by taking poor kids from globally exploited populations and giving them opportunities among the global elite.
It is also worth exploring the work done by the Wicked Lab and Catalyst 2030 and the other speakers on the day. I found out about the event through Emma-Kate Rose and Rob Pekin of Food Connect who were presenting on the issue of funding social enterprise.