Indigenous storyWORK as research by Tileah Drahm-Bulter

Tileah Drahm-Butler is an Aboriginal woman of the Kulilli and Yidinji Nations of Queensland, Australia, and lives in Cairns, North Queensland. Tileah is a social worker with a master’s degree in narrative therapy and community work. Tileah works in the emergency department of a busy regional hospital and is a member of Dulwich Centre’s international teaching faculty where she leads the teaching of narrative therapy and community work through an Aboriginal lens in Australia and internationally. Tileah has also been appointed Co-chair of Feminisms, Intersectionality and Narrative Practice at Dulwich Centre. Tileah can be contacted at:

First Nations peoples have been conducting research for millennia. As research methodology, Indigenous storywork puts Indigenous voices at the centre, transforming colonial structures by countering colonial stories that have spread across our land and claimed space. Indigenous storywork might also be thought of as a prequel to narrative practice. It offers synergies for First Nations therapists, community workers and scholars to understand contemporary issues in alignment with Indigenous world views.

In this presentation, made at the launch of the Narrative Practice Research Network, Tileah Drahm-Butler introduces her current doctoral research project, titled Emergency Storycare: Transforming the Cairns Hospital emergency department into a place of cultural safety as determined by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through Indigenous storywork and narrative practice. This research will position Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as expert knowers and teachers, turning our backs on the narrative that we are damaged, broken and always on the brink of extinction. Its research methodology celebrates the friendship of Indigenous storywork and narrative practice to retrieve stories of wisdom, skill and know-how from First Nations communities, to position stories as pedagogy into the emergency department, and to bring forth the preferred practices of the emergency department workforce.

Key words: Indigenous storywork; research methodology; Aboriginal; First Nations; decolonising; narrative practice.

Drahm-Butler, T. (2024). Indigenous storyWORK as research [Video file]. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, (1),

Author pronouns: she/her


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