The spaces between: Partnerships between women researchers and Indigenous Women with disabilities

Catherine A. Marshall, Elizabeth Kendall, Tara Catalano, Leda Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose. To understand the experiences of Indigenous Australian women with chronic illnesses and disabilities and their views about a way forward in relation to partnerships in research and community-supported problem-solving. Method. Using a participatory action research framework, five Indigenous women participated in a group meeting and interviews with academic women researchers to discuss their health and disabilities in order to generate solutions that could address health disparities among Indigenous women. Results. Five themes describe the experiences of these Indigenous women when considering their personal histories, interactions with formal service systems, and their aspirations for the future: (i) Ongoing influence of history, (ii) systemic lack of respect, (iii) social context of health, (iv) moving forward in positive ways, and (v) research partnerships as a way forward. The data raised critical questions about the role of research, including, 'Who has the right to tell the stories of the women?'. Conclusions. We show how a small research project conducted in collaboration with five Indigenous women developed into a significant research partnership and resulted in a better understanding of the issues that must be addressed by research in future. It is suggested that through such partnerships underserved women can best be served by research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic illness
  • Disabilities
  • Indigenous women
  • Partnerships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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