News & notices


Award for NCIS Visiting Fellow

L-R: Australian Rotary Health CEO Joy Gillett, NCIS Visiting Fellow Len Kanowski, and Australian Rotary Health Chairman Jeff Crofts.

NCIS Visiting Fellow, Mr Len Kanowski, has been awarded the Australian Rotary Health / Kaiyu Enterprises Scholarship in Sydney, which will support him in his doctoral endeavours. Len's PhD scholarship is for research in the area of Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Worker support in NSW.

Len is working in close consultation with the NSW Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, the NSW Ministry of Health Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol office and Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing workers across NSW as part of the research. His research is being completed at the University of Newcastle with support and guidance from The Wollotuka Institute, an Aboriginal Reference Group, and staff and fellow HDR scholars at NCIS where Len is based in his role as a Senior Advisor in Aboriginal mental health and wellbeing, for the NSW Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health.


ANU becomes participant member of the Lowitja Institute CRC

ANU has become a participant member of the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Cooperative Research Centre (Lowitja Institute CRC), which commenced operations on 1 July 2014. The ANU membership agreement was led by the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) and is made possible by financial contributions from NCIS, the ANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) and the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment (ANU CMBE).

The Lowitja Institute, which is named in honour of its Patron, Dr Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE DSG, is Australia's national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. As part of its aims, the Lowitja Institute CRC works to promote high-quality and strategic research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ensure effective transfer of research findings into policy and practice.

Through the University's membership, ANU researchers have the opportunity to contribute to the development of robust research programs in the Lowitja Institute CRC's three focus areas:

  1. Community capability and social determinants of health.
  2. A health workforce to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
  3. Health policy and systems.

Dr Asmi Wood, former NCIS academic, attended the Lowitja Institute AGM in 2014. Staff from NCIS, CAEPR and ANU CMBE will participate on forthcoming Lowitja Institute Committees, Round Table events and meetings. Opportunities for grant funding and scholarships are also likely to be made available in coming months.

The ANU membership furthers the University's commitment to growing research capacity and outcomes in priority health areas for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Other work undertaken by NCIS in conjunction with the Lowitja Institute

NCIS Research Fellow Dr Jill Guthrie was part of a Lowitja grant awarded to the Kirby Institute at UNSW in 2012, for the purpose of carrying out Citizens Juries. The findings of the study – aimed at assessing the public's views of incarceration and non-incarceration alternatives using Citizens Juries and conducted throughout 2013 – were presented to senior policy-makers in early 2014. A final report of the study was co-authored by NCIS staff Dr Jill Guthrie, Dr Melissa Lovell and Ms Corinne Walsh and was published by and with support from the Lowitja Institute in 2014:

Simpson, Paul; Guthrie, Jill; Lovell, Melissa; Walsh, Corinne; Butler, Tony, 'Views on alternatives to imprisonment: A Citizens Jury approach', The Lowitja Institute, Carlton South, Victoria, 2014.


Cowra group visits ANU to discuss the 2015 Justice Reinvestment forum

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, and Councillor Ruth Fagan, together with distinguished community leaders from the Cowra Aboriginal Land Council, Mr Les Coe and Mr Geoffrey Steele, travelled to ANU in their capacity as research reference group members for the Justice Reinvestment research project where Cowra is the case study site.

The group met with ANU researchers to progress planning for a stakeholder forum as part of the Cowra-based Justice Reinvestment research project, and were also invited to Professor Mick Dodson's public lecture on 'Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians' which coincided with their visit. Professor Dodson's presentation reinforced their cause.

Justice Reinvestment is a framework for rethinking the criminal justice system so that large sums of taxpayer money are not spent imprisoning people for low–level criminal activity.

L-R: Mr Les Coe and Mr Geoffrey Steele (Cowra Aboriginal Land Council), Dr Jill Guthrie and Ms Corinne Walsh (NCIS, ANU), Councillor Bill West (Mayor of Cowra), Dr Melissa Lovell (NCIS, ANU), Councillor Ruth Fagan (Cowra Shire Council) and Ms Phyll Dance (NCEPH, ANU).

Councillor Ruth Fagan and Professor Dodson will co-facilitate a Justice Reinvestment stakeholder forum to be held in May 2015. NCIS Research Fellow, Dr Jill Guthrie, highlighted that the stakeholder forum will facilitate a chance to share information and weigh options. Young people, parents and service providers who have participated in the Justice Reinvestment research project will be interviewed as part of feedback.


Towards zero prison population growth

Melissa, Jill and Emily celebrate the submission of their ARC Linkage grant application.

NCIS Research Fellow, Dr Jill Guthrie, NCIS Research Officer, Dr Melissa Lovell and NCIS Research Manager, Ms Emily Brennan have submitted an ARC Linkage grant application entitled 'Towards zero prison population growth: Justice Reinvestment in the ACT'.

Partner organisations on the application are the ACT Government and the Australian Institute of Criminology. The applications is the culmination of some three years of developmental work on Justice Reinvestment, including a workshop entitled 'Exploring the feasibility of Justice Reinvestment in the Australian Capital Territory' (PDF 1.6MB) and convened by Jill at AIATSIS in November 2011, and a Justice Reinvestment Forum convened by Jill at ANU in August 2012.

Other University collaborators on the funding application include the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, the ANU College of Law, the University of NSW Kirby Institute and the University of NSW Law School, and Melbourne University's Melbourne School of Population & Global Health.

This research aims to explore whether Justice Reinvestment is a viable policy for the Australian Capital Territory. While there has been much rhetoric about Justice Reinvestment, it has not been adopted as policy in any Australian jurisdiction. Justice Reinvestment is a data-driven approach aimed at improving public safety, reducing corrections and related criminal justice spending, to reinvest those savings into community-based initiatives. Given Australia's incarceration rates, particularly of its Indigenous citizens, the research has both local and national significance, potentially moving Justice Reinvestment beyond rhetoric into policy and practice.

The research incorporates three semi-concurrent programs comprising seven activities:

  • data linkage
  • appraisal of fiscal and social impact of JR initiatives
  • modelling zero prison population growth
  • measuring citizen preferences using willingness-to-pay techniques
  • measuring citizen preferences using a Citizens' Jury stakeholder deliberations
  • analysis of legal framework for criminal justice and sentencing
  • need for reform.

The application seeks funding for three years. Reviewers' comments will be received in February 2015, and the results of the application will be known in June 2015.


Timothy McKeown comes to ANU as Fulbright Senior Specialist

NCIS Adjunct Fellow, Dr C. Timothy McKeown, has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Tim will spend November 2014 in Australia working with NCIS and other partner organisations as part of a three-year ARC Linkage project 'Return, Reconcile, Renew Project: understanding the history, effects and opportunities of repatriation and building an evidence base for the future'. The project focuses on the history, effects, and opportunities of repatriation of indigenous human remains from museum collections around the world.

During his time at NCIS, Tim will provide specialist input into the development of the first of what will be annual five-day intensive training modules on repatriation, as well as provide lectures, master classes, and seminars.

The Fulbright Specialist Program is a program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals approved to join the Specialist Roster in select disciplines to engage in short-term collaborative projects at eligible institutions in over 140 countries worldwide.

» view details of a public seminar presented by Tim McKeown at ANU


ANU and South West University of Nationalities, MoU

Yi student, Lama Itzot, recites Dark Secrets: Camp.

Professor Luo Qingchun (Aku Wuwu), Dean and Professor of Ethnic Minority Studies, SWUN.

The Australian National University (ANU) and the South West University of Nationalities (SWUN) in Chengdu, China, have proudly signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), crystallising a new friendship between the two institutions. On behalf of Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Erik Lithander travelled to Chengdu to sign the contract with SWUN's president Professor Zeng Ming. The unique collaboration was initiated by NCIS PhD scholar Ms Glynnis-Anne Buckley with the support and encouragement of the NCIS Director, Professor Mick Dodson. The signing was a momentous achievement for both Universities and a symbol of growing academic ties between Australia and China.

Delegates attending "The signing ceremony for Memorandum of Cooperative Understanding between South West University of Nationalities and The AustralianNational University".

Professor Mick Dodson presents the opening speech (translated into Mandarin Chinese by Ms Glynnis-Anne Buckley) at the Yi studies centre.

Preservation of classical Yi language and texts at the Yi studies classical literature museum.

The signing of the MoU paved the way for NCIS to formally collaborate with the Yi studies centre, which is directed by the internationally renowned poet Professor Luo Qingchun (Aku Wuwu). Professor Luo Qingchun, Dean and Professor of Ethnic Minority Studies, Southwest University for Nationalities, Chengdu, China, is a well-known poet of the Nuosu branch of the Yi ethnic group. It is intended that Australian Indigenous scholars, researchers, artists and poets will come together with their Yi studies centre counterparts in sincere friendship, good will and cross-cultural exchange.

After signing the MoU, the delegation was treated to a night of performances by Yi studies centre students with an appearance from recently graduated Masters scholar Lama Itzot. Using three languages, Lama recited the first of a nineteen-verse historical poem Dark Secrets: Camp by ANU Indigenous poet Dr Jeanine Leane. The poem was originally translated in June 2013 by Ms Glynnis-Anne Buckley and Lama Itzot, into both Chinese and Yi language. The complete translation by the two translators of Dr Jeanine Leane's poem, along with an epic piece from Professor Aku Wuwu, are due to be published as an illustrated book next year in all three languages.

Professor Mick Dodson presented the opening speech (translated into Mandarin Chinese by Ms Glynnis-Anne Buckley) at the Yi studies centre. The prestigious event was also attended by President of SWUN, Professor Zeng Ming. In his speech, Professor Dodson indicated the importance of bilingual teaching and learning and understanding of indigenous knowledge systems. The highlight of his speech was a personal sharing of the Indigenous Yawuru people's concept of 'liyan'.

["Liyan relates to Yawuru and other Aboriginal peoples' view of their wellbeing. [It is about the] way they feel about themselves and their relationships with their community and the wider world." – Professor Patrick Dodson.]

The trip to China was wrapped up with a visit to the Yi studies classical literature museum, the only one housed in China. The centre carries 6000 texts, 3000 of them classical pieces from the Yi regions of Sichuan, Guiyang, Yunnan and Guangxi. The challenges of preserving classical Yi language and texts are recognised along with the measures that were in place to protect them.


NCIS relocates

John Yencken building,45 Sullivans Creek Road, ANU campus.

Since 2005 and with only three staff members, NCIS has been comfortably housed within the ANU College of Law building. Over the years, the number has grown to more than a dozen staff and a handful of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) scholars, with more HDR scholars expected to enroll in 2015 and 2016. In 2014, the University very graciously provided a facility to accommodate our rapid growth.

The NCIS team moved to the John Yencken building in the beginning of September. The Centre's graduate scholars and adjunct Professors now occupy the ground floor of the building and Centre staff occupy the third floor. The building has given NCIS an opportunity to provide excellent support to its research projects and internship visiting program, both of which had hitherto been split across the ANU campus.

'This will be a place where our stories and our history will be honoured and where we will see cutting-edge Indigenous research conducted, and research knowledge developed and shared, in the hope for a greater understanding and appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities' said Aunty Agnes Shea in her Welcome to Country speech.

Professor Mick Dodson, Professor Margaret Harding, Aunty Agnes and Professor Stephen Bottomley cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Professor Dodson thanks everyone for their contribution to the Centre.

Representing the Vice Chancellor's office, Professor Margaret Harding – Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) – officiated the opening of the newly furbished building. Professor Stephen Bottomley – Dean of the ANU College of Law – was among the well-wishers and his message to the Centre was clear and simple. 'Very strong relationships were formed during the time NCIS was located in the ANU College of Law building and I hope this continues', he said.

Members of Reconciliation Australia, the University of Canberra and the Tjabal Centre were among the many who attended the opening event.


Welcome to Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Grace Koch

Ms Grace Koch has been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow with NCIS. 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. Grace serves as a connection point between NCIS and AIATSIS by researching ethics and protocols for collecting and accessing Indigenous cultural materials.


Welcome Tamai Heaton

NCIS welcomes Ms Tamai Heaton as our new Centre Administrator. Having worked for numerous prominent organisations including Le Cordon Bleu, Australian Medical Council and Mission Australia, Tamai holds vast administrative experience. She joined ANU in 2012 as Executive Assistant to five Executives within the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, including former College Dean, Professor Andrew MacIntyre.

Tamai's passion for reconciliation strategies has drawn her to the Centre to support its research initiatives, provide executive support to the Centre Director, and take ownership of the Centre's administrative load.


'Practical experience and real-life insight' – NCIS HDR scholar, Veronica Fynn, speaks at the 2014 United Nations Youth Australia National Conference

For many students, getting the practical experience and real-life insight to support their learning is often an afterthought, but for NCIS PhD scholar, Veronica Fynn, it has been something she has had little choice about.

Speaking at the 2014 United Nations Youth Australia National Conference, Veronica said it was education that had enabled her to overcome the challenge, difficulty and danger that had marked her life since she fled the civil war in Liberia in 1992.

» read more


Research Officer for the NCIS repatriation project

Ms Julia Torpey Hurst has joined NCIS to provide research assistance on the ARC-funded research project ‘Return, Reconcile, Renew: understanding the history, effects and opportunities of repatriation and building an evidence base for the future’, working with Associate Professor Cressida Fforde.

Julia is an Aboriginal writer, playwright, director and historian. Her mother's Aboriginal family is from New South Wales and their experience as a family is of separation and continuing to reconnect with history. Julia has a particular interest in Indigenous culture and history and is currently completing her PhD in History at the University of Sydney.


A Research Manager for NCIS

For the first time in its history, NCIS has appointed a dedicated research support worker. Ms Emily Brennan, the Centre's new Research Manager, works closely with NCIS staff to support and promote research at the Centre. Emily advises academic staff on research-related policy, identifying opportunities for research funding, supporting funding applications and helping to manage contractual requirements for grants, contracts and consultancies.


National Native Title Conference 2014

NCIS Director & AITASIS Chairperson, Professor Mick Dodson, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, & AIATSIS Principal, Mr Russell Taylor.

The NCIS Director, Professor Mick Dodson, welcomed delegates and guests and chaired a discussion panel at the National Native Title Conference 2014, in his capacity as Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Chairperson.

The National Native Title Conference is an opportunity for people to come together and engage in debate concerning native title. The conference engages with native title as an active agenda for justice for people and country – both before and after the outcome of native title determination, and within the broader compass of traditional ownership. Participants include native title holders and claimants, traditional owners, native title representative bodies and service agencies, the Federal Court, National Native Title Tribunal, Commonwealth and State government agencies, academics, consultants and industry representatives.


'Cloisters and clapsticks' – interview with NCIS HDR scholar, Aunty Kerrie

Dr Kerrie Doyle (Photo: Alex Ellinghausen).

NCIS HDR scholar, Kerrie Doyle, was interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald about her involvement in community health. Kerrie graduated last November with a scholarship-backed Master of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy from Oxford University.

» read the SMH newspaper article (PDF 1.3MB)

» view the article transcript


New ANU Centre to boost Indigenous health research

Professor Mick Dodson, Dr Misty Jenkins, Ann Evers, Pip Deveson & Mick Gooda at the NCIG launch.

The NCIS Director, Professor Mick Dodson, has commenced a new role as member of the governance board for an ANU Centre to boost Indigenous health research. The newly launched National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG) aims to establish a national resource, under Indigenous governance, for appropriate and respectful genetic and genomic research that will benefit Indigenous Australians. The Centre's purpose is to give researchers new tools to help close the gap on Indigenous health and life expectancy.

» read about the Centre launch on the ANU News website


New research associate for NCIS

Fleur Adcock has joined the NCIS academic team as a research associate, after submitting her PhD thesis at the end of 2013. Fleur will be assisting on several of the NCIS research projects, working on publishing from her doctoral thesis, and developing new research projects for the Centre. She will also continue her teaching role within ANU.

Fleur hails from Aotearoa New Zealand and is both Maori, from the iwi (nation) Ngati Mutunga, and English. Fleur moved to Canberra in 2010 to join NCIS as a doctoral candidate. Her doctoral dissertation explored how the international human rights system, through the United Nations Human Rights Council's special procedures mechanism, regulates state behaviour towards Indigenous peoples. Fleur received an ANU Vice Chancellor's Scholarship for Doctoral Study to pursue her research at ANU. Fleur currently holds a Master of Laws with Distinction from the Victoria University of Wellington and Bachelors of Laws (with First Class Honours) and Arts (in Maori Studies) from the University of Canterbury. Fleur was admitted to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2003 and, prior to commencing her doctoral studies, spent several years practising as a solicitor in New Zealand and as in-house legal counsel in the United Kingdom. Fleur's legal experience includes assisting in the negotiation of historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements between Maori and the New Zealand Government. Fleur's tertiary teaching experience includes tutoring in the ANU College of Law's 'Indigenous Australians and the Law' and 'Lawyers, Justice and Ethics' courses, as well as delivering various guest lectures. Fleur has also presented on her research at a host of national and international conferences, symposia and workshops.

Welcome to the research team Fleur!


New research assistant for NCIS

A warm welcome to the Centre's new research assistant, Krystal Lockwood, who will provide support on research projects focusing on Indigenous incarceration and alternatives to incarceration, and engaging young Indigenous people through cricket.

Krystal is from the Gumbangerri and Dhungutti nations. She holds a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Hons) from Griffith Universityand and a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford.

Updated:  24 January 2017/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer