Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Lorraine Gibson

Dr Lorraine Gibson

Lorraine completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons.) (2001) and a PhD (2002-2006) in Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney. Lorraine's PhD 'Articulating Culture(s): Being Black in Wilcannia' examines the perennial and eternally important question of 'culture' and its intersection with, and deployment within, the categories of 'art' and 'race'. 

Following conferral of her PhD, Lorraine gained a Postgraduate Fellowship within the Research Branch of the Australian Museum in Sydney where she continued her work with Aboriginal communities in far Western New South Wales. Lorraine was then awarded a Research Fellowship (2 years) at Macquarie University. This was followed by the prestigious Vice Chancellor's Innovation Fellowship (VCIF) (2.5 years) at the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI), Macquarie University. During this period, Lorraine built collaborative research links with industry, managed and developed projects, submitted and gained grants and published research results in highly ranked peer reviewed journals. Lorraine contributed to courses and workshops across Indigenous studies, anthropology, sociology and philosophy and was a visiting fellow at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada. Lorraine was also fortunate enough to have her sole authored book 'We Don't Do Dots: Art and Culture in Wilcannia, New South Wales', accepted for publication. 

Part of Lorraine's VCIF fellowship involved the leadership of an ethnographic longitudinal research project between the CRSI and the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES). Lorraine conducted this project with members of the communities of Alice Springs, Moree, Kempsey and Glebe (Sydney) over three years. The project identified what it means to live a productive and successful life from different Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal points of view, and the ways in which ideas and experiences of 'work' intersect with identity. The project culminated in the writing of a comprehensive 60,000 word report, 'Practical Reconciliation: The Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Possibilities for Economic Development and Cultural Sustainability'. This report is restricted access due to the highly sensitive nature of the results and is commercial in confidence.

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Research Interests

  • Race relations
  • Social inclusion/exclusion 
  • Class and social placement
  • Socio-economic and complex disadvantage 
  • Indigenous Australia 
  • Politics of identity 
  • Child welfare 
  • Aboriginal visual arts 
  • Museums and material culture

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  • Gibson, L. (sole authored) 2013. We Don't do Dots: Aboriginal Art and culture in Wilcannia, New South Wales. This richly textured ethnographic analysis examines how notions of Aboriginal art and Aboriginal culture are wielded as weapons of power in everyday racism in Australia. In so doing, it demonstrates how Aboriginal people deploy ideas or art, artists and culture to assert individual and group identity and to subvert dominant culture ideas and ideals which operate as tools of oppression, distancing and harm.

Book Chapters

  • Gibson, L. 2010. 'Who you is? Work and Identity in Aboriginal New South Wales' in Keen. I. (ed). Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies; Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. Canberra: Australian Nation University
  • Gibson, L. 2012. 'We are the River: Place, Wellbeing and Aboriginal Identity' in Place and Wellbeing. Atkinson, S, Fuller, S. and J. Painter. (eds.). Surrey; England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 

Journal Articles

Conference and Seminar Papers

  • Gibson, L. 2011. "The intersections of 'work', belonging and Aboriginal identity in an Australian country town.' Invited Seminar. Aberdeen University, United Kingdom.
  • Gibson, L. 2010. 'Politics, pain & pleasure: The Art of artmaking for 'settled' Aboriginal Australians.' University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Gibson. L. 2009 (April). 'How Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal meanings of work affect experiences of place and well-being in an Australian country town'. Presented at, Well-being and Place: An International Conference. Durham University, UK.
  • Gibson, L. 2008 (March). 'Living Culture and Responsive Culture: an Ambivalent Hyper-cognisance' Presented at the Warawara Indigenous Studies Unit Seminar Series, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2007 (November). 'We don't do dots: art styles, cultural assertions and prescriptions in far western NSW'. Presented at the Australian Anthropology Society (AAS) annual conference, Canberra.
  • Gibson, L. 2007 (July).  'What value social anthropology?'  Research Science Seminar Series, Australian Museum, Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2007 (September). 'Work, Identity and Aboriginality'. Research Science Seminar Series, Australian Museum, Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2007 (May). 'Reflexive dimensions of art and culture and their intersection with notions of traditional, urban and contemporary Aboriginality'. Macquarie University, External Colloquium Series.
  • Gibson, L. 2006 (November). 'Making Art and Making Culture in Far-Western New South Wales', Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Societies (AIATSIS), Canberra.
  • Gibson, L. 2006 (September). 'Making Art and Making Culture in Far-Western New South Wales', Australian Anthropology Association (AAS) annual conference, Cairns.
  • Gibson, L. 2004. 'Post Fieldwork Reflections', Macquarie University Anthropology Colloquium, Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2003. 'My kids play up for fish', Australian Anthropology Society (AAS) annual conference, Sydney University, Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2002. 'Liquid Country: Governance and the Meaning of Freshwater for the Barkindji People of Far-Western NSW', Macquarie University Colloquium, Sydney.

Other Publications

  • Gibson, L 2009 'Art of this day and age'. Explore Australian Museum: Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2007 (Vol 29 June). 'Art as Living Culture' Explore Australian Museum: Sydney.
  • Gibson, L. 2008 (Vol 30 June) 'Making a difference: the synergies of art, culture and philanthropy' Explore Australian Museum: Sydney. 

Other Academic Activities

  • Curator of 'Life on the Darling' Art Exhibition at the Australian Museum, Sydney. Lorraine conceptualised and curated the Aboriginal art and sculpture exhibition 'Life on the Darling' for the Australian Museum in Sydney. This exhibition expressed the relationship between Barkinjdi Aboriginal people and the Darling River and ran for six months from October 2008 until March 2009 in the Indigenous Gallery Space (Recognised for ERA ranking).
  • Gibson, L. 2008 'One Man, his Art and his Country'.  A short film featuring Barkinjdi artist Badger Bates, his art-work and his relationship with, and concerns for, the Darling River environs. Directed and co-produced by Lorraine Gibson. Co-produced and edited by Paul Monaghan UTS, Sydney for the Australian Museum, Sydney. 

Professional Societies and Affiliations

  • Editorial Board, Australian Aboriginal Studies (AIATSIS, Canberra)
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Assessor 2009-2013.
  • Co-Founder with Professor Gillian Cowlishaw of the South East Australian Network of Anthropologists (SEANA).

Journal Reviewer 

  • The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA).The Journal of the Australian Anthropological Society: Blackwell Publishing Journal of Space and Culture, University of Alberta, Canada Cultural Studies Review, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Oceania, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Australian Aboriginal Studies, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: Canberra.
  • Environment and Planning, University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

Awards and Prizes

  • 2010 - 2012: Awarded the competitive Vice Chancellor's Innovation Research Fellowship (VCIF) for 2.5 years. Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • 2008 - 2010: Awarded a Macquarie University Research Fellowship at the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI).
  • 2009: Awarded the Macquarie Alumni award for Distinguished Service. The awards for distinguished service have been established to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution of Macquarie University alumni to their discipline and the community.
  • 2006: Awarded prestigious Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the Australian Museum, Sydney.
  • 2007: Nominated by Macquarie University for Australian Anthropology Society AAS anthropology PhD of the year.
  • 2006:  Awarded Australian Anthropology Association (AAS) conference scholarship, (donated by Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy and Research (CAEPR), Canberra).
  • 2002 - 2005: Awarded Macquarie University Research Areas and Centres of Excellence (RAACE) PhD Scholarship in Research area 'Social Theory, Law and Cultural Representation'. Stipend and scholarship funded for 3.5 years.
  • 2002 - 2005: Awarded Macquarie University postgraduate research fund scholarship.
  • 2003 - 2004: Awarded Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) research grant G2003/6777.
  • 2001 - 2002: Awarded Macquarie University Honours Scholarship.

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