Adjunct Professor Patrick Sullivan

Adjunct scholar

BA (Hons) in South East Asian Studies and Social and Political Theory (Murdoch University)
PhD in Anthropology (The Australian National University)



Professor Patrick Sullivan is an Adjunct Professor at NCIS and a Professor at the Nulungu Research Institute, University of Notre Dame, Broome. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in South East Asian Studies and Social and Political Theory from Murdoch University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from The Australian National University. His PhD thesis was titled All free man now: culture and post-colonialism in the Kimberley Division North-Western Australia.


Professor Patrick Sullivan is an anthropologist who has studied the engagement of aboriginal people with the Australian Public Sector since his introduction to the Kimberley region, West Australia, in 1983. Much of his professional life has been spent working with independent aboriginal organisations. His numerous field studies and placements within indigenous organisations have involved practical research and advice on issues of land use and distribution, community control of community development, and governance institutions at the local and regional levels. He worked on native title claims following the High Court Mabo decision in 1992 and has been the Senior Anthropologist for the Kimberley Land Council formulating anthropological and policy advice on local, national and international projects.

Patrick is the author of numerous scholarly articles, practical reports and the recent book Belonging Together: Dealing with the Politics of Disenchantment in Australian Indigenous Policy (Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 2011). He was a Research Fellow in Indigenous Regional Organisation, Governance and Public Policy at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) from 2002 to 2013, and is now the Project Leader of the ARC-funded Discovery Project Reciprocal Accountability and Public Value in Aboriginal Organisations at the Nulungu Research Institute.

Scholarly interests

Patrick's current active research interests include: the anthropology of organisations; the anthropology of policy; critical management studies; and whole-of-government Aboriginal service delivery and development.

Research outputs: most recent

  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'A hope-led recovery?', Inside Story, 15 September 2016. 13 Jan 2017. ONLINE CONTENT.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'Farewell to the spirit of 1967', Inside Story, 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 Jun 2016. ONLINE CONTENT.
  • Thorpe, Alister; Arabena, Kerry; Sullivan, Patrick; Silburn, Kate; Rowley, Kevin, 'Engaging First Peoples: A review of government engagement methods for developing health policy', Lowitja Institute, Carlton, Victoria, 2016. 72 pages. WORKING/TECHNICAL PAPER.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'Aboriginal policy initiatives are ‘for whites’: academic', The Australian, 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 Sep 2016. ONLINE CONTENT.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'A reciprocal relationship: Accountability for public value in the Aboriginal community sector', Lowitja Institute, Carlton, Victoria, 2015. 32 pages. WORKING/TECHNICAL PAPER.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'The tyranny of bureaucracy and the anthropologist’s social contract', presented at the lndigenous Advocacy in Australian and Canadian Anthropology workshop: 'Indigenous Advocacy in Australian and Canadian Anthropology' (21-22 July) on 21 July 2014. Camperdown Campus, University of Sydney. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • McDuffie, Magali; Fogarty, William; Sullivan, Patrick, 'Caring for Our Country: Yurung Dhaura Land Management Team', produced for the Environmental and Sustainable Development Department, ACT Government, Canberra, ACT on 30 April 2014. 92 pages. REPORT.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'The Ord River Stage 2 Agreement and Miriuwung Gajerrong native title corporations', in: T. Bauman, L. M. Strelein and J. K. Weir (eds.), Living with native title: the experiences of registered native title corporations, AIATSIS Research Publications, Canberra, ACT, 2013, pp:181-207. BOOK CHAPTER.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'Disenchantment, normalisation and public value: Taking the long view in Australian Indigenous affairs', The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Routledge, Vol.14, Iss.4, 2013, pp:353-369. JOURNAL ARTICLE.
  • Sullivan, Patrick, 'The personality of public documents: a case study in normalising Aboriginal risk', Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Vol.1, Iss.1, 2012, pp:52-61. JOURNAL ARTICLE.

» view Patrick Sullivan's list of consultancies and commissioned reports (PDF 88KB)

» view/search Patrick Sullivan's complete list of research outputs; download selected documents

Updated:  13 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer