Photo of Sandy Toussaint

Sandy Toussaint

Professor, MA PhD W.Aust.

  • 148 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
1992 …2019
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Personal profile


Professor Sandy Toussaint is an anthropologist, author and curator. A UWA academic staff member for 20 years, her research and teaching included applied and legal anthropology and contemporary social thought. She has worked with Australian Indigenous communities, families and organizations for more than three decades, most especially in the Kimberley region, on matters relating to cultural heritage, land, water and native title, family history, community engagement, health and medicine, material culture and exhibitions, and story-telling. Senior Research Officer for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody led in WA by Pat Dodson, the WA Aboriginal Land Inquiry, and Aboriginal Educations, Sandy is also a former Oxford Research Fellow, Trustee of the 1930s Kaberry Kimberley Collection at AIATSIS, and one of the co-founders and committee members of the RM and CH Berndt Research Foundation. A member of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register for Australasia and the Pacific Committee, her books include Ngurntakura Wangki- Amy's Story with Annette Puruta Kogolo and Marminjiya Joy Nuggett (2014) and Kimberley Stories (2012). She has also authored refereed articles and book chapters, commentary and prose. Driven by practice-led collaborative cross-disciplinary work and cultural ethics, Sandy’s coordinating/curatorial work includes exhibitions such as Martuwarra Jila (Cullity Gallery 2003), Jimmy Pike's Artlines (Berndt Museum 2012, and national tour), Ngurntakura Wangki - Amy's Story (Gallery Central 2013), Warmun Then and Now (2015, Berndt Museum exhibition at the LWG), and Visual Story-Telling: Painting the Future (2017, Notre Dame University, Broome Campus). The Co-Trustee of the Catherine Berndt Estate is a key responsibility Sandy continues to hold. Actively guiding a time of transition, she managed the Berndt Museum at UWA between October 2013 and December 2015. Current research projects with others include a Kimberley and Wheat Belt Medical Review; the art, life and death of Revel Cooper; development of an exhibition/installation focused on the combined value of material culture, religion and science, and a major Kimberley project with desert Traditional Owners. Also affiliated with the University of Notre Dame, Sandy was the 2017 Scholar-In-Residence at the Nulungu Research Institute, Broome, Kimberley, and she is a member of the Vincent Arts Advisory Group in Perth.

Roles and responsibilities

Trustee of the Phyllis Kaberry Collection at AIATSIS, Co-Trustee of the Catherine Berndt Estate, research grant and publishing review, editorial board of journal Collaborative Anthropologies, PhD supervision, Advisory Committee UNESCO's Memory of the World Register Australasia. Former AIATSIS Councillor (two terms), thirty years research experience.

Future research

Health and medical community project in the Kimberley and Wheatbelt; art / science / religion exhibition; the art, life and death of Revel Cooper; legal cultures, histories and human rights; human/environment interactions

Funding overview

Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant, Australian Heritage Commission, CSIRO, WA Health Department, Princess Margaret Hospital, Wenner-Gren International Anthropological Research Foundation..

Previous positions

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, WA Commission led by Patrick Dodson; WA Aboriginal Land Inquiry, led by Justice Paul Seaman; WAAECG Aboriginal Education.

Current projects

'Visual Story-Telling: Painting the Future' exhibition (UNDA Broome Campus); UNESCO cultural map nomination; Collaborative project about life and art of the late Noongar artist, Revel Cooper; arts/science research project; law museum; human/environment interactions.

Teaching overview

Applied and Legal Anthropology; Contemporary Social Thought; Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality; Contemporary Aboriginal Australia; Medical Anthropology; Honours


Epistemological inquiry and cultural ethics; Aboriginal Australian cultures, socialites and environments; material cultures and story-telling; collaborative cross-disciplinary engagements; legal cultures, histories and human rights; cultural curatorial theory and practice; health and medicine.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Sandy Toussaint is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

water Social Sciences
death Social Sciences
Rheumatic Heart Disease Medicine & Life Sciences
Rheumatic Fever Medicine & Life Sciences
child custody Social Sciences
Low Back Pain Medicine & Life Sciences
training program Social Sciences
anthropology Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1992 2019

"For the Children ... ": Aboriginal Australia, cultural access, and archival obligation

Toussaint, S., Croft, B., Meakins, F. & McConvell, P., 26 Oct 2019, Archival Returns: Central Australia and Beyond. Barwick, L., Green, J. & Vaarzon-Morel, P. (eds.). United States: University of Hawaii Press, p. 173-199 26 p. (Language Documentation & Conservation Special Publication ; no. 18).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Australia, Anthropology in

Toussaint, S., Sep 2018, International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

teaching practice
Federal Government

Berndt, Catherine Helen (1918–1994)

Toussaint, S., 2018, Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australia: National Centre of Biography

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

2 Citations (Scopus)
227 Downloads (Pure)

Wetlands need people: a framework for understanding and promoting Australian Indigenous wetland management

Pyke, M. L., Toussaint, S., Close, P. G., Dobbs, R. J., Davey, I., George, K. J., Oades, D., Sibosado, D., McCarthy, P., Tigan, C., Angus (Jnr), B., Riley, E., Cox, D., Cox, Z., Smith, B., Cox, P., Wiggan, A. & Clifton, J., 20 Sep 2018, In : Ecology and Society. 23, 3, 43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
wetland management
indigenous knowledge
resource management
natural resource

A letter to Catherine Berndt: Aboriginal cultural life and the preciousness of time

Toussaint, S., 2017, Griffith Review.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Projects 1996 2013