Transforming the Institute of Postcolonial Studies into a project that builds anticolonial and antiracist solidarities

As we bear witness to Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza, as white supremacy is emboldened after the Voice referendum, and as institutional racism undermines Australian universities, the importance of creating spaces to strengthen anticolonial and antiracist solidarities has never been more urgent.

As members and friends of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies (IPCS), we write to express the urgent need to transform IPCS, into an Institute that takes up antiracist and anticolonial work in the Australian colony and transnationally.

Building on earlier histories of activism and scholarship at IPCS, we put forward our proposal to shift the current composition of the IPCS Board at the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM). We believe this may be a first step towards transforming IPCS into an Institute that is accountable to its members and its stated commitment to “interrogat[e] colonial relations and their consequences in the past, present, and future in Australia and globally”.

Since its establishment 25 years ago, and despite growing membership, from approximately 40 members in 2018 to over 200 members in 2023, IPCS has not moved beyond its founding model of governance where a self-appointed Board is largely unaccountable to membership. The Institute of Postcolonial Studies is currently led by white settler academics.

At present IPCS fails to use its resources in service of the self-determined aspirations of Aboriginal communities. For the past five years, there has only been a single Aboriginal director on the IPCS Board, who resigned earlier this year, and two People of Colour (POC) who have also resigned. This is not a condemnation of individual directors. However, an organisation committed to interrogating colonial relations must embody a diverse governance structure, which includes directors of the Board with a lived experience of colonisation.

In late 2022 an IPCS Working Group was formed by members to activate change at the Institute. In early 2023, a number of actions by the Board, relating to activities, projects and staff, created an environment where members no longer felt comfortable contributing to or collaborating with the Institute. Today, the Institute’s building on Curzon Street in North Melbourne is no longer the vibrant space it once was. It has since reduced its opening hours and the building is at most times completely absent of members.

On 18 October, in line with the IPCS Constitution, a group of members submitted a set of resolutions to the Chair of the Board to be voted on at the upcoming 2023 AGM. These resolutions seek the appointment of Aboriginal and POC scholar-activists to serve as directors on the Board. The new directors would serve in addition to the current self-appointed directors. So far, the IPCS Board has ignored the proposal and our correspondance.

On 23 October, under the current IPCS Board, the membership sign-up form was removed from the IPCS website. This is a worrying move that creates further barriers for community participation in the Institute.

Our call for a transformed IPCS

We believe that a democratically elected Board that includes Aboriginal and POC directors is required to bring about an IPCS that is:

  1. accountable to its membership and the communities that are actively interrogating and resisting colonialism as a matter of survival;
  2. committed to undertaking intellectual work that takes up antiracist and anticolonial struggles in the Australian colony and abroad; and
  3. coherent and visionary in its goals, projects, initiatives and governing practices.

Our calls to action

  1. We encourage all current members of IPCS who are interested in supporting a transformed IPCS to join us at the AGM on 19 December 2023.
  2. Community members who believe in our vision for IPCS can take up membership by emailing
  3. When sharing on socials please use the hashtag #transformIPCS.

You can sign this statement here.


Since the Transform IPCS Working Group began circulating this open letter roughly a fortnight ago, we have learnt that the current Board of IPCS is seeking to dissolve the IPCS project and sell the building on Curzon Street. None of the over 200 members of IPCS were told about these plans, let alone offered an opportunity to vote on them. In order to prevent the Board’s intentions coming to fruition, we have launched an urgent campaign to #SaveIPCS. Please support us by telling the Board to stop their undemocratic and unethical plans immediately.

IPCS Working Group and supporting IPCS members

Professor Gary Foley, Victoria University
Dr Evelyn Araluen, Deakin University
Natalie Ironfield, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Jasmine Barzani, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Muhib Nabulsi, organiser & writer, and IPCS Convenor
Tasnim Sammak, PhD Candidate, Monash University
Eda Seyhan, lawyer & researcher, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Idil Ali, community organiser
Ahmed Barakat, activist
Scheherazade Bloul, PhD candidate, Deakin University
Tim Gentles, PhD Candidate, University of Newcastle
Dr Sahar Ghumkhor, Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Dr Aitor Jimenez, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Jack Kirne, National Tertiary Education Union, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Loukas Kakogiannis, RAFWU
Dr Lina Koleilat, Academic Fellow, Australian National University
Dr Laura Rodriguez Castro, Senior Research Fellow, Southern Cross University
Dr Paula Muraca, Deakin University
Beth Muldoon, PhD candidate, University of Melbourne
Lia Hills, writer, PhD candidate, Deakin University
John Henry Porter, activist
Anita Thomasson, community member
Khalid Warsame, writer and arts producer
Dr Carlos Morreo, Lecturer, Trinity College, University of Melbourne
Lauren Bull, Barrister, Victorian Bar
Emily Clarke, Barrister, Victorian Bar
Tori Ball, activist
Javed de Costa, University of Melbourne
Juan-Camilo Riano-Rodriguez, PhD candidate, Victoria University
Sista-Zai Zanda, PhD candidate and poet, University of Melbourne
Jim Power, plumber activist
Kara Kupe, business owner
Darcy Hytt, community member
Neika Lehman, Vice Chancellor’s predoctoral fellow, RMIT
Matthew Rogers, social worker
Associate Professor Suzi Hutchings, RMIT University
Associate Professor Anitra Nelson, Honorary Principal Fellow, Informal Urbanism Research Hub, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Diana Johns, Chair of Criminology, University of Melbourne
Dr Jordana Silverstein, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Kavita Peterson, Deakin University, Emerging Museums Professional
Justyna Muśko, noborders organiser
Dr Azza Zein, artist and sessional academic
Dr Jimmy Wintermute, writer and activist
Sofia Sabbagh, community member and artist
Alice Wighton, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Salma Warsame, PhD Candidate, La Trobe University
Emma Hartley, writer and artist
Nish Morris, community organiser
Dr Serveh Naghshbandi, Teaching Associate, Monash University, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Dr Elese Dowden, Lecturer, Trinity College, University of Melbourne
Xan Coppinger, community member
María Paula Hernández, PhD Candidate, La Trobe University
Mr Davies (aka Riga), teacher
Holly Regan, Juris Doctor Graduate, ABSTARR Consulting Junior Consultant
Yaseera Moosa, Sessional Academic, University of Melbourne
Dr Giles Fielke, Monash College, Teacher & NTEU National Councillor
Massimo Amerena, community member
Panos Karanikolas, community member
Dr Hailegabriel Feyissa, Western Sydney University
Daphne Arapakis, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Dr Kristie Flannery, Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University
Dr Ariel Salleh, writer and activist, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Queen Mary University of London and Visiting Professor, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Dr Nesam McMillan, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Dr Elnaz Sheshgelani, Victoria University, educator and researcher, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Dr Kristie Flannery, Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University
Dr Nesam McMillan, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Kokoda O’Bryan, Proud Kooma and Celtic woman, Charles Sturt University, and Resident Scholar at IPCS
Dr Elnaz Sheshgelani, Victoria University, educator and researcher, and IPCS Visiting Fellow
Safa El Samad, artist and Masters Student, Monash University
Ahmed Ali Barakat, historian and activist
Aamon Sayed, community member
Mehmood Irfan, PhD Candidate, RMIT University
Associate Professor Juliet Rogers, University of Melbourne
Dr Glenda Mejía, Senior Lecturer, RMIT University
Dr Marcelo Svirsky, Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong
Yael Leah, artist & community organiser
Dr Zuleika Arashiro, community member
Liz Grandmaison, PhD Candidate, Flinders University
Dr Gemma Sou, Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester
Apsara Sabaratnam, University Lecturer & Community Organiser
Moses Iten, PhD candidate RMIT University & Research Assistant, University of Sydney
Vik Nithy, Community Member

Friends of IPCS

Associate Professor Crystal McKinnon, University of Melbourne
Professor Tony Birch, writer, University of Melbourne
Professor Chelsea Watego, Queensland University of Technology, and Director of the Institute of Collaborative Race Relations
Distinguished Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Macquarie University
Professor Greg Lehman, PVC Aboriginal Leadership, University of Tasmania
Associate Professor Juan Tauri, Macquarie University
Associate Professor Jeanine Leane, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Amanda Porter, Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Melbourne
Debbie Kilroy, Sisters Inside
Professor Barbara Pini, Griffith University
Professor Sarah Maddison, University of Melbourne
Professor Libby Porter, RMIT University
Dr Liz Strakosch, University of Melbourne, and Director of the Institute of Collaborative Race Relations
Dr Bree Carlton, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Dr Priya Kunjan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, RMIT University
Dr Paula Satizábal, Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Elly Scrine, Sessional Lecturer and Children’s Trauma Counsellor
Dr David Kelly, Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow, RMIT University
Dr Micaela Sahhar, Subject Leader & Lecturer, Trinity College, University of Melbourne
Maeve Powell, ANU Research Associate and PhD Candidate
Will Bracks, Research Archivist, Aboriginal History Archive
Tobias Barnfield, playwright
Dr Rusaila Bazlamit, Teaching Associate, University of Melbourne
Dr Tania Cañas, University of Melbourne
Srishti Chatterjee, Graduate, School of Culture and Communications, University of Melbourne
Sherine Al Shallah, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales
Gurmeet Kaur, writer, producer and educator
Eva Birch, president, Melbourne School of Literature
Dr Charlotte Mertens, University of Melbourne
Liyan Gao, organiser, Masters Graduate, Monash University
Dr Carolyn D’Cruz, Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University
Anu Algama, community member
Dr Anastasia Kanjere, Honorary Associate, La Trobe University
Hussein Mohamud, PhD Candidate
Dr Liam Gillespie, University of Melbourne
Dr D’Arcy Molan, Deakin University
Dr Tarek Makhlouf, Subject Coordinator Arabic Studies, University of Melbourne
Dr Sarah Schwartz, Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School
Angie Sassano, PhD Candidate, Deakin University
Eva Lazzaro, Juris Doctor student, RMIT University
Michael Graham, Organiser, National Tertiary Education Union
Simon Farley, PhD candidate, University of Melbourne
Nur Shkembi, PhD candidate, University of Melbourne
Rasheeda Wilson, PhD Candidate
Dr Umber Rind, General Practitioner
Yasmin Hassen, PhD Candidate, Australian National University
Flynn Pervan, PhD Candidate, The University of Melbourne
Abigail Fisher, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Sorcha Yelland, Masters Graduate, La Trobe University
Peter Craig, activist
Yowhans Kidane, MA Candidate and archivist
Dr Catriona Sinclair, retired scientist
James Hogg, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Catherine Gay, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Lachlan Brown, Business Analyst
Soo-Min Shim, PhD Candidate, Australian National University
Madeleine Harris, Researcher
John Ishak, Juris Doctor Student, RMIT University
Dr Sophie Rudolph, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Alissa Macoun, Institute for Collaborative Race Research
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of the Arts
Dr Jonah Lipton, Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics
Oliver Eagleton, Associate Editor, New Left Review
Mikal Fikaris, community member and former IPCS Visiting Fellow
Angela Paredes Castro, PhD Candidate
Dr Erin O’Donnell, Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Law School
Kylie Moppert
Emmeline Kildea, PhD Candidate, RMIT University
Douglas Nightingale, Research Officer, The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne
Dr Helen Ngo, Deakin University
Daniel Wilson, Architect
Ilo Díaz, community organiser
Dr Fran Edmonds, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Lobna Yassine, Lecturer, University of Sydney
Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah, Macquarie University
Dennis Grauel, Designer
Jannah Wilson, Criminology Student, Flinders University
Associate Professor Jane Carey, University of Wollongong
Suzannah Henty, University of Melbourne
Joel Rodrigues, PhD student, Stockholm University
Amar Mustafa, Masters Student, Monash University
Dr Dana Francisco Miranda, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Boston
Megan Payne, artist
Meyrnah Khodr, teacher
Barry McGinn, Postgraduate Student, Gestalt Therapy Australia
Catriona Elder, Honorary Associate, University of Sydney
Tomasi Tikiger, community member
Dr Shannon Woodcock, University of Mebourne
Dr Dave Pollock, Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Thao Ly, community member
Natalie Calleja, Graduate Researcher, University of Melbourne
Aife Larkin, alumni, University of Melbourne
Casey Nicholls-Bull, University of Melbourne
Yashna Seethiah, community member
Sarah Hardiman
Paul Mylecharane, publisher, Common Room Editions
Tarneen Onus Browne, Community Organiser, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance
Carmen-Sibha Keiso, Read the Room, University of Melbourne
Vasiliki Franco-Klothos, Sessional Academic, PhD Candidate
Arundhathi Lekshmi, community member
Madeleine Churchill, community member
Friday Saarelaht, student, Deakin University
Bede McCartney-Kemp, Offpressbooks
Lucy Myers, Coordinator, New International Book Shop
Dylan Asafo, PhD Student, University of Melbourne
Kristin O’Connell, Co-coordinator, Antipoverty Centre
Imogen Senior, student University of Melbourne
Frances Waite, community member
Bonnie Crowe, artist
Dawoud AlMekhled, MD Candidate, University of Melbourne
Lilly Quzag, community member
Fin Healy, Sessional Academic, University of Melbourne
Chloe Sinclair, University of Technology Sydney
Phoebe Gawin, Law Student and Researcher
Penny Campton, community member
Yolande Turnbull, activist
Tess Ó Broin, Publisher, Slingshot Books
Ben Hjorth, University of Toronto
Dr Lilly Brown, CEO, Magabala Books
Melissa O’Donnell, Human Rights Lawyer
Angelita Biscotti, critic, artist, Sessional Academic, University of Melbourne
Bridget Webster, University of Melbourne
Aditi Singh, Masters Student, Deakin University
Dr Felicity Gray, Australian National University
Kate Stodart, La Trobe University
Blossom Ah Ket, University of Melbourne and RMIT University
Nur Shkembi, art historian
Ivan Kotzur, PhD candidate, WSU
Mr Django Nicol, seamstress and tailor
Dr David Singh, Director Institute of Collaborative Race Research
Mibu Fischer, PhD Candidate, University of Tasmania
Azja Kulpinska, community member
Corina Backhouse, community member
James Tran, filmmaker and former IPCS Media Collaborator
Emily Kaji, professional staff, University of Melbourne
Jade Donnison, Social Work Student, Deakin University
Ekaterina Heath, Art History, Sydney University
Andrew Brooks, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW
Grace Dulawan, writer
Dr Eugenia Flynn, Vice Chancellor’s Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow, RMIT University
Charlotte Feakins, University of Sydney
Terri Ann Quan Sing, PhD Candidate, La Trobe University
Dr Ben Silverstein, Lecturer, Australian National University
Mahad Barkad, Student Activist and Community Organiser
Dr Ioana A. Dumitru, Associate Lecturer, University of Sydney
Dr Oishik Sircar, Professor, Jindal Global Law School
Dr Sary Zananiri, CPNC
Dr Jaya Keaney, Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Jessica Sherlock, community member
Tess Ritchie, Professional staff University of Melbourne
Dr Bianca Hennessy, unionist and researcher
Isabelle Moreton, Community member
Anna Cerreto, Research and Communications Manager
Asad Kasim-Khan, activist and community member


Transform IPCS Working Group

The Transform IPCS Working Group is majoritively comprised of POC and Aboriginal active members of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies (IPCS). The Working Group was formed in late 2022 but has since expanded to include a larger number of IPCS members. The Transform IPCS Working Group is seeking to elect 7 Board Directors at the upcoming 2023 IPCS AGM. To get in contact email

More by Transform IPCS Working Group ›

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