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Consent information

This project has received full ethics approval from the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee (GU ref: 2020/927).

Why is the research being conducted?

Norfolk Island plays an important and complicated role in Australia’s colonial history. The Island has a significant convict heritage which developed alongside that of New South Wales and Tasmania. The arrival of Pitcairn Settlers in 1856 saw the development of a unique Anglo- Polynesian culture, distinct from that emerging in the colonisation of Australia. Yet, the Pitcairn Settler heritage is currently under-represented in Norfolk Island’s World Heritage Listed Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).

This project will work with a range of stakeholders to better understand the unique colonial history of Norfolk Island and its place in the heritage interpretation of KAVHA. The project team will co-create public history outputs with Pitcairn Settler descendants and others in the community to help support the attainment of cultural justice for these descendants. These public history outputs will include a series of ‘zines’ which will act as a community archive of stories, memories, and reimaginings of life in KAVHA. The content of the zines will underpin the creation of a self-guided heritage walk pamphlet – the purpose of which is to elevate the Pitcairn Settler experience of KAVHA. The zines and heritage walk pamphlet will emerge from community engagement activities, including walking interviews through KAVHA and zine workshops with Pitcairn Settler descendants, as well as being informed by more traditional research methods like interviews and focus groups.

The project team will also produce a policy report based on a workshop held with Pitcairn Settler descendants. This report will present a series of recommendations for heritage managers and tourism operators moving forward, focused on adapting heritage and tourism practices in ways that will better support cultural justice for Pitcairn Settler descendants. Broader benefits of the project include greater understanding of the relationships between heritage, colonialism and human rights issues, and practical recommendations for how heritage can be activated to produce cultural justice outcomes.

What will I be asked to do?

Participation could involve any of the following activities:
(1) One-on-one interview with a member of the research team. As a participant, you will be invited to an interview at a time and location convenient to you. The interview format is conversational. Each interview will be up to 60 minutes but can be extended by you if needed. Follow up interviews can also be arranged if we run out of time. Interviews will be semi-structured, so there are some guiding questions but the flow and direction of the conversation is largely determined by participants. You will be invited to bring photos or memorabilia related to KAVHA as prompts for the conversation. The researcher may also bring archival photos or maps of KAVHA for discussion. Participants are invited to use Norf’k, English or a combination of both during the interview. Interviews will be audio recorded for data collection purposes. Participants can choose to receive a copy of the audio recording for their own records. Interviews may be fully or partially transcribed and a copy of the transcription can also be provided to participants for their records. Participants may opt to lodge their transcript with an archive on Norfolk Island such as the Norfolk Island Historical Society or Museum Trust.

(2) Walking interview with one or more members of the research team. Similar to the one-on-one interview, but this version involves participants walking through the KAVHA site accompanied by the researcher(s). Participants will guide the researcher(s) through the areas of KAVHA they deem personally or collectively significant to Pitcairn Settler descendants. This could be done on foot or by car if mobility is an issue. This guided tour of Pitcairn Settler histories in KAVHA will be audio recorded and may be transcribed. Copies of the recording and the transcription can be provided to you for your records and you may opt to lodge the transcript in one of the Norfolk Island archives. With your consent, the researchers may take photographs during the walking interview which capture you guiding the team through KAVHA. You will be provided with photographs that capture your image to review and to use for your own purposes under a creative commons licence.

(3) Focus groups led by the research team. You may be asked to participate in a workshop or series of workshops related to heritage policy in KAVHA, the design of a self-guided heritage walk pamphlet, or the production of a zine. These focus groups will involve a small number of participants and are geared toward the co-creation of the public history outputs that will emerge from the research. The workshops will involve focused discussion around a key topic related to Reimagining KAVHA. The workshops may vary in length with most being no more than 2 hours. The workshops will be audio recorded and transcribed. With your consent, the research team maybe also take photographs of participants during the workshops as a way to illustrate the process of making the project’s public history outputs.

How are participants selected?

There are three types of participant in this project: (1) heritage and tourism stakeholders; (2) Pitcairn Settler descendants; and (3) other community members. We outline each below:

(1) Heritage and tourism stakeholders include: past and present members of the committees responsible for overseeing and contributing to heritage strategy on Norfolk Island, including the KAVHA Advisory Board, KAVHA Community Advisory Board, Norfolk Island Regional Council Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee; past and present heritage workers involved in activities related to the KAVHA site, including Commonwealth employees and employees of Norfolk Island Regional Council, and associated volunteers, including of the Museums Trust; and current operators of tours which encompass the KAVHA site, including bus drivers and tour guides;

(2) Pitcairn Settler descendants, including members of the Council of Elders, and other societies and associations with an interest in Pitcairner heritage and culture, such as Norf’k Ito Kulcha Sullen;

(3) Other community members who are not direct descendants of the Pitcairner Settlers but who have a long history with KAVHA and/or connection to Pitcairner families.

What are the expected benefits of this research?

The project will generate new understandings of KAVHA through the lens of cultural justice and in the context of the relationship between heritage and human rights. The project will increase awareness among different stakeholders about the ongoing impacts of colonial projects of heritage- making. The activation of cultural justice for Pitcairn Settler descendants will be achieved through community engagement activities and the co-creation of public history outputs which will reassert the distinctiveness of Pitcairn Settler histories and cultural identity. By drawing on this community’s own perspectives and knowledge of life in Kingston, the project aims to enhance Pitcairn Settler descendants’ sense of ownership over heritage in KAVHA. The zines, in particular, act as a form of community archive. Along with the policy report and self-guided heritage walk pamphlet, these outputs have the scope to be used as tools for education – capturing the past and present experiences of Pitcairn Settler descendants in KAVHA and communicating these in engaging and accessible ways. These outputs can be used by Pitcairn Settler descendants to further articulate the value of their heritage and the importance of preserving their culture when engaging with the federal government or the United Nations.

What are the potential risks to me?

The conversations you will engage in as a participant of this research will involve your memories of life in KAVHA or the retelling of stories you heard growing up about life in Kingston. The conversations will also involve you reimagining KAVHA if historical events had unfolded differently. The research team recognises that in some cases these stories, memories and reimaginings will be connected to cultural injustices experienced by Pitcairn Settler descendants from the time of settlement to the present day. The researchers will be careful to approach these discussions thoughtfully and respectfully. Participation in the project is voluntary and you should only share what you are comfortable with. In the unlikely event that you experience distress or discomfort, you are free to either withdraw from the study or reschedule to another time and the research team can work with you to find appropriate support.

Will my contributions be confidential?

Due to Norfolk Island being a small community of less than 2,000 residents with only a small heritage sector and strong bonds within and across Pitcairn Settler descendant families, it would be difficult for confidentiality to be maintained in a project such as this. We therefore ask that if you participate in the research you agree to do so ‘on the record’ – that is, your name will be associated with the contributions you make during the data collection process. If during the interviews and focus groups you want to say something in confidence, this can be indicated by asking for a segment to be ‘off the record’ with a request to turn off the recording. In those instances, what you say next will continue to inform the project but will not be quoted verbatim or be attributed to you in any of the outputs that will emerge from the project. A further safeguard is the provision of the recording and/or transcript after the interview. This will provide you with an additional opportunity to request parts of the conversation to be removed from the record.

Is participation voluntary?

Your participation in this research is entirely voluntary. You are free to withdraw from the study at any time. Should you choose to exit the study, your decision will not disadvantage you in any way.

What if I have any questions or concerns?

Should you require any further information or have any questions relating to this research project or your participation in it please contact Sarah Baker at

Griffith University conducts research in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the research project, you can contact the Manager, Research Ethics on +61 7 3735 4375 or

Will I be notified of the outcomes of this research?

All participants will be provided with access to the zines, policy report and self-guided heritage walk pamphlet that will be produced during the period of the research. Scholarly outputs can be provided on request.

Privacy Statement – disclosure

The conduct of this research involves the collection, access and/or use of your identified personal information. As outlined elsewhere in this information sheet, your identified personal information may appear in the publications/reports arising from this research. This is occurring with your consent. Any additional personal information collected is confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties without your consent, except to meet government, legal or other regulatory authority requirements. A de-identified copy of this data may be used for other research purposes. However, your anonymity will at all times be safeguarded, except where you have consented otherwise. For further information consult the University’s Privacy Plan at or telephone +61 7 3735 4375.

Click here to download the information sheet and consent form for this project