Prior to joining UWA in July 2016, I held positions as a Lecturer and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the ANU, and as a Political Research Fellow at Ruskin College, Oxford. I also worked for a number of years for the Ministry for Culture & Heritage in New Zealand, and have extensive experience working in heritage consultancy, and as a special collections librarian and archivist.
2015-18: Australian Research Council DECRA, ‘The Presence of the Past: Historic places and community identity in Australia, 1965-2015’.
2011-14: CASS Postdoctoral Fellowship, Australian National University.
2010: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand.
2009-10: Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, London, and Ruskin College, Oxford.
2007:Ministry for Culture and Heritage Special Research Grant.
The Presence of the Past: Historic places & community identity in Australia, 1960-2010
This project will examine the explosive growth of interest in, and efforts to protect, historic sites in Australia between the mid-1960s and 2010. During this period, the number of recognised historic sites and buildings in Australia grew from less than 200 to almost 35,000. Focusing on the perceived social-political value of historic sites, the project seeks to explore how historic places have been understood and valued by different sections of society, and how government has responded to this growing public interest in heritage. It also seeks to further our understanding of how cultural values and identities are mediated, and how heritage landscapes and the historic fabric affect cultural wellbeing and belonging.
Cultural Rights, Human Rights
It is widely accepted that Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) remain marginalized within the modern Human Rights regime. Cultural rights are then doubly marginalized, as they are often pushed to the sidelines of ESCRs as a result of the pressing nature of other economic and social violations. Yet the abuse of cultural rights and acts of cultural genocide have had devastating impacts on communities – whether they be by the hand of Islamic extremists such as so-called ‘Islamic State’ or the Taliban; or carried out as part of colonial/neo-colonial projects. This project thus aims to examine the importance of cultural rights within the human rights regime, and how they might be more concretely addressed. I am undertaking this project with Dr Victoria Mason, with case-studies including the Middle East (Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan), Asia (Vietnam and China), Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
‘Keeping places’: historic preservation and the politics of 'place' in Australia, 1788-1960
This project explores the use of historical narrative in the cultural politics of history-making in Australia. It does this particularly through the lenses of historic preservation and interest in the historical landscape. Covering the period from the late nineteenth-century through to the beginning of the twenty-first century, it examines how heritage and historic preservation have been key sites for colloquy and debate between groups who have sought to harness heritage and the historic landscape in support of competing visions of identity and memory; how sites have been displayed or ‘exhibited’; and how these various groups interact or ‘experience’ historic sites and buildings.
My research sits at the intersection of heritage, history, and politics. In particular I'm interested in human rights (with an emphasis on cultural rights); historic preservation; and how cultural heritage and historical narrative are 'used and abused' politically. Plugging into this, with a decade's experience in web development, I'm also interested in the impact of the digital turn on pedagogical practice within the university.