State crime, art and making harm visible

Associate Professor Jennifer Balint2
University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

This paper reflects on the Minutes of Evidence Project (, a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, education experts, performance artists, community members and government and community organizations, to consider how theatre, education and research can be harnessed to make visible structural harm. To address the intransigent and yet often hidden harm of enduring colonial inequity, the project used the record of law from an 1881 Parliamentary Inquiry to expand the field of engagement beyond the academy, creating public spaces to explore, share and interrogate the colonial past and present in new and engaging ways.

This paper draws out from this project to consider how we may activate legal records to make visible structural injustice and reflects on the role of art in this. How might our legal records be heard and responded to and the absences and harms of law be brought to account? How may we understand the role of art as partnering in this ‘translation’ work of law? Drawing on recent and developing work, it considers how as part of a public process, forms of art can be used to create new meeting points, in law and outside that enable structural injustice to be made publicly visible and accountable.



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