Traveling with Trained Man

Decolonizing Directions in Railway Mobilities

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Katie Maher Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia and University of South Australia and

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This article considers the railways as a decolonial option for moving toward mobility justice. It views the photographic artwork Trained Man by Ngalkban Australian artist Darren Siwes through a mobilities lens, considering how the artist plays with time and attends to space, making visible what colonial projects of protection and assimilation have attempted to erase. Attending to the truths and imaginaries that reside and move with Trained Man, it draws on the work of Aboriginal and Black artists, scholars, and activists to trace Australia's past and present colonial history of training Aboriginal people into whiteness. It considers the railways as carrying “two lines of destiny” with potential moving in both colonial and decolonial directions. The article concludes by suggesting that shared spaces such as the railways open possibilities for mobilizing the decolonial project.

Contributor Notes

Katie Maher teaches History and Gender Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide and researches education for social justice at the University of South Australia. She recently completed her doctoral thesis titled “Steel Rails Run across My Body” with the University of South Australia. E-mails: and

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies


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