Yarning circles and social media activism

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The practices of ‘yarning’ and ‘yarning circles’ are relatively common across groups of Indigenous Australians. This practice broadly consists of storytelling within a respectful and deeply democratic space, where each participant takes turns in speaking, and in which the direction of discussion may meander, fixate, or take divergent and creative lines of flight. The existing literature has explored the use of ‘yarning circles’ in promoting both ethical, culturally appropriate research practices and effective, culturally relevant pedagogical techniques. However, there has yet to be any work to investigate the relationship between yarning circles and Indigenous activism. This article aims to fill this gap by exploring the nexus between Indigenous online activism and yarning circles. In the first section, we outline work that has engaged in different ways with the use of yarning circles. Next, we offer our own, more political conceptualisation of ‘yarning circles’ through a reading of Paolo Freire’s work on conscientisation and, in particular, his concept of the ‘culture circle’. Finally, we draw on this new conceptualisation to explore an actual case of the use of yarning circles in political collaboration and conscientisation. Through this analysis, we discuss a number of convergent and divergent experiences shared by Indigenous activists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalMIA Media International Australia
Issue number1
Early online date8 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Indigenous
  • conscientisation
  • Freire
  • Activism
  • Innovation
  • social media
  • yarning


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