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The Australian National University

Researchers

Professor Ann McGrath
Professor Ann McGrath Ann McGrath is Professor of History and inaugural Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at The Australian National University. A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, McGrath has worked for many years in the field of Indigenous Australian history and the history of colonialism, with a key interest in presenting scholarly history across a range of genres and media formats. For this service to history, McGrath holds an Order of Australia Medal and in 2011 was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Linnaeus University, Sweden. McGrath’s research is internationally recognised and has won the Inaugural W.K. Hancock prize, the Human Rights Award for non-fiction, the John Barrett Prize, and the Archibald Hannah Junior Fellowship at the Beinecke Library, Yale. McGrath has curated exhibitions on women and childbirth during the federation era and international outlaws as national heroes and she has advised various television, documentary and film projects. McGrath’s consultancy and outreach work has also involved working on a range of significant public enquiries and legal cases including Northern Territory Land Claims, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Gunner & Cubillo case. Her best-known publications are Born in the Cattle: Aborigines in Cattle Country (1987), (with Pat Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake and Marian Quartly) Creating a Nation (1994), (with Ann Curthoys), How to Write History that People Want to Read (2009; 2011) and edited volumes such as Contested Ground: Australian Aborigines under the British Crown (1994) and (with Kay Saunders and Jacky Huggins) Aboriginal Workers (1995).  In addition to being a chief investigator for Deepening Histories of Place, McGrath is also researching the History of Intermarriage on Australian and North American Frontiers, The Irish and Aboriginal Diaspora, and The History of Archaeology in Lake Mungo and Lake Gregory.
Professor Peter Read
Professor Peter Read Peter Read is an Australian Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. He has spent most of his professional life framing lives and places. Often through oral history, he has investigated the links that people feel between themselves and certain sites — happy or sad, legitimate or illegitimate, spiritual or secular, enjoyed or irretrievably lost. Read pioneered Aboriginal History in the Northern Territory during the late 1970s and is acknowledged as an international leader in the field. He is best known for introducing the concept and phrase “The Stolen Generations” in 1981. The federal government credited his historical work concerning separated Aboriginal children as the principal instigation of the “Bringing Them Home” Inquiry. Peter’s contribution has been to insist on Indigenous History as a vital element to the national secondary and tertiary history curriculum and to alert the nation to previously little-known aspects of history now regarded as fundamental. His ‘place’ books includeReturning to NothingBelonging, and Haunted Earth, the biographical worksTripping Over Feathers and Charles Perkins A Biography, and the oral histories,Down There with Me on the Cowra Mission, and A Rape of the Soul So Profound. Professor Stuart McIntyre has described his research on Place Studies as “among the most important works of cultural history produced in this country over the past decade”. An important methodological breakthrough by Peter has also been to transform spoken or less formally transmitted histories into formal areas of study and debate now pursued by Australian historians. Prof Dipesh Chakrabarty has commented that: “[Peter] Read’s work is of global significance. … In emphasising together the themes of diversity and belonging, Read has charted a new path for thinking about place and space in Australia.” Read has a continuing interest in state violence and its consequences in South America, especially Chile. Currently he is the director of historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au, and spends a fair bit of time cogitating on the nature of digital history and its possible future directions.
Dr Luke Taylor
Dr Luke Taylor Dr Luke Taylor is Deputy Principal at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. In this role he oversees both the research and collection arms of the organisation. He is an anthropologist who specialises in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists particularly the Kuninjku bark painters of western Arnhem land. His research interests include issues concerning the developing market for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, engagements with the tourism industry, and the cultural meanings of the works including the way paintings reveal connections with country.Taylor’s Seeing the Inside: Bark Painting in Western Arnhem Land (1996) is a book length analysis of painting for the market detailing how artists represent creation stories of places in their country and their motivation to teach a world audience about these places. Art and craft is revealed as a particularly suitable activity that meshes the cultural interests of artists with tourist interests. Taylor has examined this question in respect to the innovations introduced to bark paintings in a recent paper ‘They may say tourist, may say truly painting’: aesthetic evaluation and meaning of bark paintings in Western Arnhem Land (2008). Other papers such as From Rock to Bark: art from Western Arnhem Land (2008), Rock Art Revisited (2000) and Aboriginal Artists and the Market: Two Case Studies of Cultural Adaptation (1989) examine the links of contemporary art with ancient rock art and the pressures upon artists who live close to Kakadu National Park to modify their art to suit tourist interests. Taylor has also: conducted fieldwork in desert areas to collect and publish artist biographies as a feature of his national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists biographical project published electronically in 1991; has written reviews about desert art (2008; 2004); and conducted an examination of the central Australian art style for his first class BA Honours thesis. Taylor has also written broadly on issues of the development of the market for Aboriginal art. With Jon Altman he edited Marketing Aboriginal Art in the 1990s (1990). With Peter Veth he edited the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Identity special issue of Australian Aboriginal Studies (2008). He was Curator and then Senior Curator in the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia at the National Museum of Australia for ten years from 1990 to 2000.
Dr Mary Anne Jebb
Dr Mary Anne Jebb Mary Anne came to ANU to take up the position of Project Manager of Deepening Histories Project in early 2011. She has specialized in histories of Western Australian peoples and landscapes, living and working in remote regions for many years. She has lectured in History at Murdoch University, Notre Dame and UWA. For the past ten years she has run a successful social science and historical research business with her husband, fellow historian Dr Malcolm Allbrook. She has worked with government, local government, and community organizations to produce expert reports in Native Title, heritage and archive reports, sound productions, films, books and interpretive exhibitions. She is an honorary fellow attached to the Department of History at the University of Western Australia and History School Visitor at the Australian National University. Jebb’s PhD was published as Blood, Sweat and Welfare (2002), for which she received the Keith Hancock Award. She edited Emerarra (1996) with Ngaranyin elder Morndi Munro, and compiled and edited Mowanjum: 50 years Community History (2008). She has particular interest in recording and producing spoken histories and the role of sound as an interpretive tool for understanding history. Her most recent collaborative histories include the sound production Noongar Voices of the Wheatbelt (2010), and sound and historical exhibitions at Gwoonwardoo Mia in the north of Western Australia and Mowanjum in the Kimberley. She is preparing a history of the visual narratives of the late Kimberley Aboriginal boab nut carver Jack Wherra, and exploring notions of vernacular histories of place.

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