Research

Over the past thirty years Federation University Australia has established an exceptional reputation in establishing successful research and cultural engagement collaborations with Aboriginal communities. One such collaboration is the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards (VIAA) (external website). In 2013 the VIAA were held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat for the first time. The VIAA were developed to 'Support the development of the Indigenous arts industry within Victoria' and 'acknowledge and showcase Indigenous art produced in Victoria'.

Two universities with a campus in Ballarat (Australian Catholic University (ACU) and FedUni) now sponsor awards by way of $5000 acquisitive art awards. Federation University Australia's award was funded through the Arts Academy Development Fund; a fund that promotes and supports the Arts Academy's engagement with the community. The VIAA now looks to have a regular place in the Art Gallery of Ballarat's calendar and so again in 2014 the Arts Academy was very pleased to be able to sponsor the FedUni award which recognises the work of an indigenous artist living and working in regional Victoria. 

For staff: Input into curriculum and research projects

The Manager of the Aboriginal Education Centre is available to discuss input into curriculum and research projects. Please contact Ms Bonnie Chew.

Our researchers

Adam Beck

Adam is an early-career academic and HDR student. He has a long history of involvement in Indigenous education, including living and working as an educator in remote Aboriginal communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the northwest of South Australia for over ten years. Adam is a sessional lecturer in Indigenous education in the Faculty of Education and Arts and is undertaking research focusing on what young Australian Aboriginal men learn informally through participation in a remote Aboriginal Australian Rules football club.

Dr Fred Cahir

Dr Cahir is an associate professor in Aboriginal studies. He is the Aboriginal studies coordinator (Mt Helen Campus) and Australian history 'higher degree by research' coordinator in the Faculty of Education and Arts. His Masters and PhD focused on local Victorian Aboriginal history. His research interests include: Victorian Aboriginal history; Central Victoria Aboriginal history; Australian frontier history; Aboriginal heritage tourism history; Traditional Aboriginal knowledge; Toponyms [Place names].

View full profile for Associate Professor Fred [David] Cahir

Prof Ian D Clark

Professor Clark has a strong background in heritage management, attraction management, and visitor interpretation. His PhD from Monash University was concerned to document Aboriginal land tenure in western Victoria and to understand the processes of dispossession in the region. His main areas of interest include indigenous tourism, regional tourism, cultural heritage management, the history of tourism, Victorian Aboriginal history, and Victorian toponyms. He has written extensively on Victorian Aboriginal history including editing the journals and papers of George Augustus Robinson.

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Prof Marcia Devlin

Professor Devlin has a long history of involvement in Indigenous education, including working with the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council for several years. She recently led a Commonwealth government-funded national project on effective teaching and support of students from low socio-economic status to completion (View information on Low SES website - external website) and recently completed an Australian Research Council grant around international student-related policy. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education.

View profile information for Professor Marcia Devlin

Dr Michelle Duffy

Michelle's research examines the role culture plays in shaping our lives at different spatial levels, from the global to the more everyday and local processes operating within and between individuals, communities and societies. Through the lens of the arts, and more specifically that of music and performance, she explores how our private and public selves are articulated and/or challenged in public spaces and events. Research conducted with Australian indigenous communities includes an ECR funded (Melbourne) project, Country and Performance, Embodiment and Emotions: the women's rituals and knowledges of exchange in the Garma Festival, north-east Arnhem Land, which explored the significance of Indigenous women's performances in expressing and maintaining relationships to country. More recently she worked in a mentoring capacity with members the Aboriginal Elders of the Kurnai Nation (Drouin) in the completion of their indigenous needs analysis report, Six Generations Yarning Together: Local Aboriginal Needs Analysis Project (2014).

View staff profile for Dr Duffy

Dr Julie Fenley

Dr Fenley worked as a lecturer in history-politics at Monash University from 2007-2013. Her research interests include Aboriginal history and holocaust history, and she also has an interest in public history and museum studies. Julie's research focuses on the field of Aboriginal history and her PhD thesis, 'Dealing with a Nation: Conceptualising Aboriginal Sovereignty, 1950-1990', examined the ways in which Indigenous people explore a range of options for engaging with the Australian state. Current research is focused on the National Aboriginal Conference's campaign for a treaty and the subsequent development of ideas of sovereignty in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Julie also recently co-authored a two-part Heritage Victoria funded study at Old Gippstown heritage park.

Prof Peter Gell

Professor Peter Gell is a palaeoecologist who examines change in the condition of wetlands over culturally relevant timelines. He has a particular interest in contributing to a better understanding of natural ecological character under the Ramsar Convention. He specialises in the use of diatoms as indicators of present, and past, river and lake condition, particularly in coastal systems and across Australia's Murray Darling Basin. An emerging interest is the use of palaeoecological approaches to reveal past instances of regimes shifts and tipping points in wetland ecosystems. To this end he leads an international working group, Aquatic transitions, that examines the timing and nature of changes in the world's wetland ecosystems. He has also published research on both the Indigenous, and post-European fire regimes of our forest estate and climate variability and change over millennial timescales. He also continues his interests in the use of birds as indicators of ecosystem health.

Prof Barry Golding

Professor Golding designed the first Indigenous education course and was instrumental in making it a compulsory part of all undergraduate education programs.

Barry was born and has lived all his life in Jajawurrong country, and has an excellent on-ground knowledge of pre- and post-contact history, landscapes, people and sites across central Victoria, with a particularly good knowledge of the former North Western Aboriginal Protectorate at Franklinford in Victoria. Indigenous Australian perspectives have been included in several of his national research projects in the past two decades, focussed on informal learning by adults through community contexts including rural and remote Australia. In November 2014 he presented an invited paper to the National lnstitute of Korean Languages in Seoul, South Korea, on literacy and language policies in Australia, inclusive of Indigenous perspectives.

Dr Rani Kerin

Dr Rani Kerin has been researching, teaching, supervising and publishing in Aboriginal history for more than a decade. She has taught Aboriginal history at flagship universities in Australia and New Zealand, and has worked as a research fellow at the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University. She has been monographs editor for Aboriginal History since 2010 and is an executive member of the Aboriginal History Board. Her specialist research area is twentieth-century Aboriginal politics, focusing on the role that activists, missionaries and anthropologists have played in campaigns for Aboriginal rights. She is an experienced researcher and writer of scholarly biographical works. In 2012 her monograph Doctor Do-Good: Charles Duguid and Aboriginal Advancement, 1930s-1960s was shortlisted for the Magarey Medal in biography. Rani has recently completed a commissioned history of Aboriginal child health, and is currently engaged to write a history of Indigenous education at the Monash Indigenous Centre.

Prof Keir Reeves

Professor Reeves holds a chair in regional engagement at Federation University Australia. He is particularly interested in how regional development can drive sustainable communities. His current research concentrates on Australia, Asia and the Pacific in the areas of regional development, regional policy, and cultural heritage. Keir is the current historian member of the Heritage Council of Victoria. He is very interested in postgraduate supervision, currently supervises in the areas of regional development, cultural industries, tourism development in Asia and goldfields history heritage and also supervises PhD projects affiliated with current ARC projects.

During the past five years Keir has co-guest edited special issues of Tourism Analysis, Australian Economic History Review, Historic Environment, Australian Historical Studies, Journal of Australian Colonial History and Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues.

Sara Weuffen

Sara is an early-career academic and confirmed PhD candidate. Sara is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Coordinator in the Faculty of Education and Arts. In her role she actively engages local Indigenous Australian communities in conceptualising and developing courses of studies for pre-service teachers. Sara is undertaking a PhD by research focusing on ways in which Indigenous Australian communities and schools collaborate to develop units of learning from the Australian curriculum. Her research interests include: Indigenous Australian education and studies, addressing disadvantage, sociology, gender studies and disability studies.

View staff profile for Sara Weuffen

Dr Margaret Zeegers

Dr Zeegers is an associate professor in the School of Education at FedUni. An experienced teacher and researcher, she has worked in education as a school teacher in state schools, in TAFEs, and in universities in Australia and abroad. Margaret's areas of expertise include: English, literacy; postgraduate pedagogies; graduate studies in education; communities of interest and of practice. Some of Margaret's editorial and committee roles have included: Editor of Practically Primary: A Journal for Teachers and president of International Board on Books for Young People Australia. Her latest research project (ARC application and publications) deals with an Indigenous Australian artists-in-residence program at a regional Australian primary school.