Shooting Stars staff head to AIATSIS Conference

July 18, 2019

Shooting Stars staff Helen Ockerby and Dr Rose Whitau have spent three days at the The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (AIATSIS) National Indigenous Research Conference in Queensland.

The theme for this year’s event was Research for the 21st Century, and explored a number of themes including Indigenous data sovereignty, Indigenous knowledge in research and Intellectual Property, increasing the use of Indigenous systems, women’s experiences, longitudinal research, Indigenous health and wellbeing, Indigenous participation in higher education and repatriation.

The conference drew together researchers, policymakers, cultural and collecting institutions, the corporate sector and Indigenous organisations and communities to consider the capacity of the research sector to meet the needs of Indigenous policy and community into the future.

The Shooting Stars longitudinal study, Yarning with the Stars, has AIATSIS ethical clearance.

Yarning Circles are where staff, participants and local steering committee members come together to have a conversation, reach consensus about a particular topic, build relationships and make decisions.

The project will deliver a comprehensive, longitudinal and practical piece of research that can be directly translated into service delivery improvements, as well as serve as a best practice framework.

Shooting Stars North West Regional Manager, Helen Ockerby, said the conference was valuable.

“To spend three days amongst like-minded people who are passionate about Indigenous research, was something that myself and Rose both enjoyed,” Ockerby said.

“We are incredibly proud of the work we are doing through Yarning with the Stars, and know that the research we’re conducting in this space is having a significant effect on our participants.”

Shooting Stars Executive Officer Fran Haintz said it was an important conference for the Yarning Circles research.

“Our longitudinal study, Yarning with the Stars, has AIATSIS ethical clearance, so this conference was hugely valuable for Helen and Rose who lead this research on our behalf,” Haintz said.

“Our staff members are crucial to our program as they are the ones who work day to day in the field, so to be able to provide access to this conference is something we’re incredibly proud of.”

“Helen and Rose are two fantastic teachers, role models, and educators, and I know the conference was something they valued and took great learnings from.”


An initiative of Netball WA and Glass Jar Australia, Shooting Stars is an educational program that uses netball and other tools as vehicles to achieve its primary vision of increasing school attendance rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) girls living in WA’s remote communities and regional towns to 80-90%.

The program now boasts more than 350 students across eight delivery sites, with an average attendance improvement of 18% across the board, while 60% of participants maintain an average attendance rate of 80% or above. Furthermore, the Program is a key driver in creating equality for female leaders and generational change, with 85% of its staff and 50% of its Board identifying as Indigenous.

Shooting Stars enjoys the backing of the governing body for netball in Netball WA, and with that support comes nearly 100 years of professional expertise in community programs and development. To find out more about the program, including information about making philanthropic donations and corporate partnerships, visit