Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Grace Koch
BSc (Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, Massachusetts)
MMus (Boston University)
T +61 2 415 560 937
Grace Koch was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow with NCIS in August 2014. She is also a Visiting Research Scholar at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). She is a Chief Investigator for the Return, reconcile, renew research project – an Australian Research Council-funded project based at NCIS that focuses on repatriation of human remains. Her work on the project consists of researching the existing ethics and protocols as used by collecting institutions for the return of cultural materials to Indigenous communities. Grace also facilitates the linkage connection between NCIS and AIATSIS, providing listings of relevant materials held in the AIATSIS collections.
Originally from the USA, Grace has lived and worked mostly in Australia since 1974. She taught in music education at the (then) Canberra College of Advanced Education in 1975, leaving that position to become Research Assistant in Ethnomusicology to Dr Alice Moyle at the (former) Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. The Central Land Council engaged her as a consultant to document three land claims under the 1976 Land Rights Act (NT) and two claims under the Native Title Act as well as writing a book on the oral history of the Kaytetye people of Barrow Creek, NT. She worked as an audiovisual archivist at the Institute until 2002, when she moved to the Native Title Research and Access position there. Grace is a Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
In 1993, she lectured in Aboriginal Music at the University of Vienna and presented workshops and papers to the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome and the Austrian Sound Archives Association in Graz, Austria. In 2013, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Cologne, and worked as a volunteer at the Archives of the City of Cologne.
She has served on the Executive Board of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, concentrating on protocols to manage Indigenous materials, and with Unesco on safeguarding traditional folklore and culture. In 2008, Grace was appointed to the foundation Board of the National Film and Sound Archive.
Grace has worked in the fields of music education, ethnomusicology, and audiovisual archiving and history. She has an extensive background in native title issues as well as the return of Indigenous cultural materials to Australian Indigenous communities. Several of her publications explore the connection between song and land, especially as evidence for land claims. She has done extensive research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music. Most recently, her work has centred on analysis of Aboriginal music from historical sources, especially on the 1960s recordings from Central Australia and the Lake Eyre District gathered by the linguist Dr Luise Hercus. She is also working on a chapter for a book on Victorian Aboriginal song.
- 2018 Grace Koch and Kazuko Obata. ‘I am sorry to bother you’: a unique partnership between Luise Hercus and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. In Language, land & song: Studies in honour of Luise Hercus (2nd edition), edited by Peter K. Austin, Harold Koch & Jane Simpson. Batchelor, NT: Batchelor Institute Press ISBN 978-1-74131-325-3, pp. 36-46.
- 2018 Obata, Kazuko and Grace Koch. ‘Making Audio Recordings Then and Now: The audio collections of Dr. Luise Hercus.’ Australasian Sound Archive, No. 42, Spring. ISSN 0818-5646, pp. 17-26.
- 2018 Koch, Grace. “We want our voices back”: Ethical Dilemmas in the Repatriation of Recordings. Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation., Rob Lancefield, Frank Gunderson, Bret Woods. August 2018. www.oxfordhandbooks.com. Accessed 15 August 2018.
- 2017 Grace Koch and Kazuko Obata (2016). ‘I am sorry to bother you’: a unique partnership between Luise Hercus and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. In Language, land & song: Studies in honour of Luise Hercus, edited by Peter K. Austin, Harold Koch & Jane Simpson. London: EL Publishing. pp. 44-56.
- 2017 Hercus, Luise and Grace Koch 2017. ‘Lone Singers: the others have all gone.’ In Wafer, James and Myfany Turpin, eds. Recirculating Songs: Revitalisation the Singing Practices of Indigenous Australia. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics, College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University. Pp. 102-118.
- 2016 Koch, Grace. ‘Legacy collections; their value and their accessibility. IASA Journal 46, April 2016: pp 13-21.