Message from the NCIS Director

NCIS Director, Professor Mick Dodson AM.

Another year has come to its conclusion at NCIS and reflecting on what we have managed to achieve in 2014 has, in many ways, astonished me. For such a relatively small Centre at the University, we have performed at a very high level. Many of our achievements and successes are outlined in this newsletter and I'll but mention some of them here.

We have had a number of completions this year. Most notable for me has been the first two Doctor of Philosophy graduates from the Centre: Dr Samuel Curkpatrick (June) and Dr Fleur Adcock (July). Dr Curkpatrick is now based in Melbourne and Dr Adcock has a two-year contract as Research Associate at NCIS. Once more, I congratulate them both on their success and also for the contributions they have made to the life, work and scholarship at the Centre. I am very much looking forward to further PhD graduations from the Centre in 2015.

Also completed was For the love of the game – a report delivered as a key outcome of the Indigenous Cricket project, to the Management Board of Cricket Australia in December, on the state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in cricket in Australia. In spite of sniggers and guffaws from some of our colleagues, this was a serious piece of research history and writing conducted over the past 18 months by myself and Dr Bill Fogarty, ably assisted Ms Corinne Walsh who can fairly be described as somewhat lacking in knowledge about the game but nevertheless a fine research assistant. We believe our report was well received by the Board and is scheduled to be released during the Imparja Cup in February 2015.

Our numerous other research project grants have proceeded apace with their implementation. In November, we won another ARC project grant; this project is examining the effects of deficit discourse in Indigenous education. My own involvement in the Centre's research has been primarily with the Cowra-based Justice Reinvestment project managed by Dr Jill Guthrie from our end. I have very much enjoyed the engagement with the people of Cowra and wish to acknowledge their generosity in receiving us as researchers in their community, and their embrace of the project. We have also continued our work on the Learning on Country evaluation, which has seen researchers spending time in remote communities throughout Arnhem Land. The ARC Linkage Grant on repatriation – Return, reconcile, renew: understanding the history, effects and opportunities of repatriation and building an evidence base for the future began its valuable work this year led by the NCIS Deputy Director, Associate Professor Cressida Fforde. Also, we were honoured to have Dr Tim McKeown as a visitor to NCIS during the course of the year. Dr McKeown is a repatriation specialist in the USA and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at NCIS.

The Serving Our Country ARC Linkage Grant project has just completed the first year of a four-year project and the details of our work for this year can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. I want to thank all the team for their contributions to the project this year, our Chief Investigators, our industry partners, and our wonderful support team; a special thank you Craig, Kate, Alex and Allison. Only three years to go!

This year has also included the national Indigenous Governance Awards sponsored by BHP Billiton and Reconciliation Australia. I mention it here because I am the Chairman of the Awards' judging panel. I wish to once again congratulate the winners and all the finalists and the judges; we will do it all again in two years' time.

The most significant event in our year has no doubt been our relocation to the refurbished John Yencken building on the north-west bank of Sullivans Creek, on the ANU campus. Thank you to the architects, designers, builders, ANU Facilities & Services folks and staff of NCIS and the ANU College of Law for making it all possible. The premises are ideal for our purposes and future growth, and it is very convenient to have us all together in the one place again.

Welcome to new staff this year: Tamai, Melissa and Fleur, and new HDR scholar Annie Te One. But, a sad farewell to Dr Asmi Wood; thank you for three years' high-quality, professional and scholarly contributions to the Centre generally, and in particular to our HDR programme. Your passion, intellectual incisiveness and pastoral skills will be sorely missed, along with that signature smile. Don't forget we are just the other side of the creek where you will always be welcomed. Thank you also to all our visitors (too numerous to name) for enriching life at the Centre. A special mention also must go to our adjunct scholars for their much-appreciated support of the work of the Centre.

Finally, to all NCIS people – thank you. I wish you all the best for the festive season, to you and your families and friends, and my very best wishes for 2015.

Mick Dodson

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Updated:  6 January 2015/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer