King’s College London and the University of South Australia have announced a special collaboration to provide new fellowship opportunities in the UK at KCL’s Menzies Centre for Australian Studies.
The Fellowships, underpinned by an MOU signed between the two universities in London this week, supports three-month placements at the Menzies Centre for up to three UniSA researchers with expertise in Indigenous knowledges, the identity and contribution of First Peoples in Australia, contemporary Australian identities and Australia’s place in the world and other contemporary issues.
Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the new Aboriginal and Contemporary Australian Studies Fellowships will provide a fantastic opportunity to pursue research at Europe’s leading centre for Australian studies and to promote broader and deeper understandings of Australian history, culture and contemporary society, across the region.
“The Fellowships will open up opportunities to share more comprehensive, detailed and balanced understandings of Australian politics, economics, life and culture within research communities and will bring new opportunities for specialists in Aboriginal cultures to extend and share their knowledge,” Prof Lloyd says.
“Significantly, our MOU with KCL also puts Aboriginal and contemporary Australian studies at the forefront with an agreement to host and annual David Unaipon* Lecture in London which will also be streamed live in South Australia at UniSA, and to foster other public speaking engagements.”
Established in 1982 at the University of London and then migrating to KCL in 1999, the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies has established an international reputation for research into Australian society and culture, public engagement through lectures and presentations - such as the annual Menzies Lecture - and a broad global Fellowship program.
It is also networked with similar Australian studies centres in Copenhagen, Barcelona and Dublin.
The three-month Fellowships will include return international airfares and accommodation and a stipend to cover living expenses and costs associated with academic work.
Director of KCL’s Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Dr Ian Henderson says the new agreement will support more engagement, with researchers exploring issues in Australian society that are of contemporary significance, including those around Aboriginal community, culture and knowledge.
“As the oldest continuous culture on earth, there is much to learn from Aboriginal societies both from an historical perspective but also about the contemporary issues that impact survival and resilience,” Dr Henderson says.
“We want to encourage engagement between researchers from all disciplines at KCL with the extraordinary knowledge of country and the world held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, as we confront the many challenges of the future.
“At the same time, we recognise there is much unfinished business between the peoples of Britain and Australia's First Nations, something we also hope to address in the conversations and projects we will develop.
“King's College London and the former colony of South Australia are historical contemporaries.
“We see the exchanges that these fellowships will enable as furthering an engagement begun in the 1840s, when young Ngaiwong man, Edward Warrulan, became one of the first South Australians to visit London.
“It is fitting, then, that we have turned to UniSA as the initiating partner in the development of King's conversations with Indigenous Australian communities.
“We are very excited to be partnering with UniSA to offer these important research opportunities at the Menzies Centre.”
*David Unaipon (born David Ngunaitponi) in 1872 was a well-known Aboriginal Australian of the Ngarrindjeri people. He was an inventor, writer, published author, public speaker and preacher. Unaipon's contribution to Australian society helped to break many Indigenous Australian stereotypes. Today that contribution is commemorated on the Australian $50 note.
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