Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson identifies as a Jiman / Bundjalung (Aboriginal Australian) woman who also has Anglo-Celtic, and German heritage. She developed the We Al-li / Indigenous Therapies Program designed to address the critical needs of Aboriginal Australian communities around violence / trauma / healing. She was a researcher and co-author of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Task Force on Violence Report for the Queensland government. Her book: Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines The transgenerational effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia, provides context to the life stories of Aboriginal people who have moved/been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the healing that can occur as people make connections with each other and share their stories of healing.
In her previous position as Director of Gnibi the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University she developed and taught into the Diploma in Community Recovery; the undergraduate degree Trauma and Healing; the Masters in Indigenous Studies (wellbeing), and a Professional Doctorate in Indigenous Philosophies, all with a primary focus on violence, relational trauma, and healing for Indigenous, and indeed all peoples. In 2006 she won the Carrick Neville Bonner Award for her curriculum development and innovative teaching practice. In 2011 she was awarded the Fritz Redlich for Human Rights and Mental Health, from the Harvard University Global Mental Health Trauma and Recovery program.
Judy retired from formal academic work at the end of 2010 so she can focus on writing and researching, working with communities in educational – healing: what she calls educaring. She is now Patron of the We Al-li Trust; and a committee member of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Scientific Research Advisory body for Closing the Gap research into Aboriginal Australian health and wellbeing. In future years, as well as her work in Australia, she hopes to continue her work in Timor Leste, and Papua New Guinea, working at the community level, researching and supporting the development of an evidence base on education-as-healing in community change processes, in response to historical, social and cultural trauma and recovery.