Jessica Russ-Smith is a Wiradyuri Wambuul woman, Associate Lecturer in the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at Charles Sturt University, Social Worker, and Scientia PhD Scholar at the School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales.
Jessica graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons. Class 1, University Medal) from UNSW in 2016 and began her PhD in 2017 where she was a first-round recipient of the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship program. Her doctoral research explores Indigenous embodiment of sovereignty based upon the Wiradyuri cosmology and the sacred Wiradyuri relationship of grandmothers and granddaughters. Her thesis is entitled ' ‘Balayanhi Wiradyuri Garingundhi’: We are sovereign my granddaughter. Embodying Wiradyuri women’s sovereignty through Wiradyuri knowing, being and doing’. Jessica has taught within Bachelor and Masters Social Work programs at UNSW and ACU. Jessica's research interests relate to Indigenous sovereignty, decolonising social work, and the connections between research, theory and practice.
Jessica has taught over the last 6 years within the Social Work Bachelor program at UNSW, and the Social Work Bachelor and Masters (Qualifying) programs at ACU, including units related to social work and law, social policy, ethics, research, working with children, your people and families, Aboriginal social work, field education and introductory to social work including pre-Social Work programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Jessica's research has also explored decolonising social work, Indigenous social work, ethics, activism, embodying sovereignty, working with Aboriginal children and young people, and experiences of Indigenous researchers. Jessica has worked across several research projects including School, Faculty and ARC-funded projects.