12 August 2019

Two of the University of South Australia’s top women in Aboriginal education have been awarded the Menzies Australia Institute-UniSA 2019 Aboriginal and Contemporary Australian Studies Fellowships, which will see them heading for King’s College in London. 

This year’s recipients are  Dr Belinda MacGill and Dr Karen Sinclair and both will be involved with research, teaching and public engagement as part of the Fellowship. 

Delighted to be working in London, Dr MacGill will focus her teaching and public discussion on how understandings of Australian visual art have been shaped by colonisation 

“Today, non-Indigenous audiences can look at two Australian paintings side by side and have full capacity to understand a conventional image like Tom Roberts’, The Breakaway, but limited tools to engage with important works like Bushfire Dreaming, by Petra Nampitinpa,” Dr MacGill says. 

“That kind of comparison is a teaching moment, it compels us to rethink the Australian landscape and its meanings and to understand a bigger view of our environment – free from the omissions, constructions and misrepresentations that have been central to colonial representations of our country.” 

A Ngarrindjeri woman and educator, Dr Karen Sinclair says she is passionate about working alongside students to collaboratively broaden understandings about Aboriginal research methodologies and constructions of knowledge. 

“I enjoy teaching about Aboriginal knowledges, pedagogies, research methodologies and their associated ethics and protocols and this Fellowship will certainly give me a great opportunity to explore these issues in a new context,” Dr Sinclair says. 

The Fellowships support academic exchange to provide a better understanding of Indigenous knowledges, the identity and contribution of the First Peoples of Australia, and contemporary Australia's identity and place in the world. 

In turn Menzies Fellows have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of contemporary issues in the UK and Europe. 

University of South Australia Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says the Fellowships provide a fantastic opportunity to pursue research and 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 globally,” Prof Lloyd says. 

Undertaken at King’s, the Fellowships focus on a broad range of research areas including arts and humanities, law, science and business. 

They mark a continuing and successful collaboration between King’s College London and the University of South Australia and demonstrate the progress and development of King’s Indigenous, a program in partnership with colleagues in Australia to develop Aboriginal-led research, teaching and impact. 

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli phone: +61 418 823 673 or +61 8 83020966 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au




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