Men’s health and communities of practice in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the social opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men created through Men's Groups/Sheds across urban, regional and remote areas of Australia. Men's Sheds are a safe space, resembling a work-shop setting or backyard shed, where men are encouraged to socialise and participate in health promotion, informal learning and engage in meaningful tasks both individually and at the community level. Design/methodology/approach Explore five case study sites through Wenger's (1998) active communities of practice (CoP). Qualitative methods are presented and analysed; methods comprise semi-structured interviews and yarning circles (focus groups). Five Indigenous leaders/coordinators participated in semi-structured interviews, as well as five yarning circles with a total of 61 Indigenous men. Findings In a societal context in which Indigenous men in Australia experience a number of social and health issues, impeding their quality of life and future opportunities, the central finding of the paper is that the effective development of social relations and socially designed programs through Men's Groups, operating as CoP, may contribute to overcoming many social and health well-being concerns. Originality/value Contributions will provide a better understanding of how Indigenous men are engaging with Men's Sheds, and through those interactions, are learning new skills and contributing to social change.


  • Henwood, Maree
  • Shaw, Amie
  • Cavanagh, Jillian
  • Bartram, Timothy
  • Marjoribanks, Timothy
  • Kendrick, Madeleine

publication date

  • 2017