I completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons.) (2001) and a PhD (2002-2006) in Anthropology through Macquarie University in Sydney. My 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'. The work is grounded in sixteen months of fieldwork living in Wilcannia New South Wales.
Following conferral of my PhD, I gained a Postgraduate Fellowship within the Research Branch of the Australian Museum in Sydney where I continued my work with Aboriginal communities in far Western New South Wales. I 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 I built collaborative research links with industry, managed and developed projects, submitted and gained grants and published research results in highly ranked peer reviewed journals. I 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. During this time I was also fortunate enough to have my sole authored book 'We Don't Do Dots: Art and Culture in Wilcannia, New South Wales', accepted for publication. Please see CV for more information.
Part of my VCIF fellowship involved the leadership of an ethnographic longitudinal research project between the CRSI and the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES). I 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.
In 2012, I decided to take a break from academic life and from Sydney. I moved to Alice Springs where I took a position as a Community Centre Co-ordinator and Case manager with Tangentyere Council. Tangentyere Council is the major service delivery organisation for eighteen Aboriginal Town Camps. This saw me begin work at Hidden Valley Town Camp. Hidden Valley is an Aboriginal only community of approximately 450 people who experience high levels of marginalisation and complex socio-economic disadvantage. A main function of my role was to ensure the provision of casework, advocacy and support for families and children living at the camp and to seek out and refer families to culturally appropriate government and non-government services. I was responsible for facilitating and running programs and workshops for residents on various social, economic and health matters. This included issues such as, recognising and understanding alcohol and other drug misuse, understanding trauma and brain development, child abuse, domestic and family violence, information around police powers and community rights, housing issues, and employment and training.