Wet their bones with sweat and blood, knit their bones with me: Reflections on arts-based research into colonial Western Australian child murder (1829-1901)
University of Western Australia
South West Campus / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
This article outlines the arts-based research practices used in my doctoral thesis to explore the lived experience of Mary Summerland, a 20-year-old, unmarried woman, who, in 1832, was accused of murdering her newborn baby boy at the port town of Fremantle, Western Australia. In my thesis, Mary’s story, entitled Unearthing Mary Summerland, is told in three interwoven voices that blend to form an interpretation of her lived experience. The first voice is historical, a comprehensive non-fiction narration of Mary Summerland’s story that analyses the scant surviving historical documentation; the second is musing, a reflexive examination of the politics of my own knowledge-making practices; and the third voice recounts my informed imagination, a fictionalized imagining, informed by detailed historical research, of what might have happened to Mary Summerland, her son and the other inhabitants of colonial Fremantle in 1832 when Mary’s murder investigation was taking place...