News and events

The newsletter was a bi-annual summary of Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Project activities in 2018-2019, prior to the establishment of the Research Centre for Deep History and the Re. website.

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    • Deep Conversations Space, Time Stories

      on the 4th November, 2021

      Outer space has long beckoned, offering stargazers insights into new worlds, riches, and discoveries both on and beyond our home planet. This conversation brings together the insights of archaeology, international law, history, astrophysics and Indigenous knowledges to find new ways of narrating the universe beyond our planet. Join Alice Gorman, Tristan Moss, Cassandra Steer and Pete Swanton as they reflect on the past, present and possible of storying the skies. Deep conversations: history, environment, science series is a partnership of the Research Centre for Deep History and Centre for Environmental History. It aims to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss questions of history, science and the environment, and how they shed light on the global challenges we face today. **Speakers** - Associate Professor Alice Gorman, Flinders University - Dr Tristan Moss, Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University - Dr Cassandra Steer, College of Law, Australian National University - Peter Swanton, Research School of Astronomy, Australian National University **Co-Chairs** - Dr Laura Rademaker, Australian National University - Associate Professor Ruth Morgan, Australian National University Time: 12:00 -1:30 pm Date: Thursday 4, November This webinar will be conducted via Zoom. Please copy the link below into your browser. []( For more information contact the convenors of the series []( or [](
    • Returns and Reconnections Seminar Series

      20th October, 2021

      Over three days in September 2021 the Research Centre for Deep History (Australian National University) and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge) convened the three-part Returns and Reconnections Seminar Series. The series brought together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields of study who are engaging with the deep past through research collaborations with and alongside Indigenous and local communities. The seminars advanced new conversations about the nature of these collaborations, collectively thinking through the role of archives and collections in engagements with the deep past, considering what it means for communities to return to the knowledge and material traces of their ancestors, and elaborating some of the diverse meanings of deep time and deep history across different spaces, disciplines, and temporalities. The series was opened on 20 September by Professor Ann McGrath, Director of the Research Centre for Deep History. Seven papers were delivered across the three dates (20, 21, 27 September) with presenters and co-authors from Australia, Vanuatu, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, France, England, and Scotland. Comments on each paper from invited respondents were then followed by extended discussion with the 35-40 attendees at each session, with the final seminar on 27 September concluding with a drawing together of key themes from Professor McGrath and Dr Catherine Namono (University of the Witwatersrand). A number of cross-cutting themes emerged, including the challenges of navigating relationships between local knowledges and broader disciplinary or institutional structures; the right to interpretation (or reinterpretation) as a way of connecting with the past; the value of community partnerships and co-production; the complex ethical considerations involved when working across cultures and communities; and the necessity for Indigenous and local peoples not just to have access to artefacts and knowledge, but to have a position from which to speak. Series convenors Ben Silverstein and Mike Jones (ANU), and Paul Lane (University of Cambridge) are now exploring publication options for the papers featured, and may also convene additional seminars to continue the conversations started by Returns and Reconnections. The seminar series is another important milestone in the Research Centre for Deep History’s ongoing commitment to building productive collaborative relationships with scholars in our region, and around the world.
    • Articulating Sydney’s Aboriginal Past in the Public Realm, with Matt Poll

      on the 13th October, 2021

      Join us for the next talk in the First Nations Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Research Centre for Deep History, GML Heritage, and Sydney Living Museums. Along Australia’s east coast, Greater Sydney is unique, with over 800 known Aboriginal rock engraving sites recorded across Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park alone, each containing multiple motifs and designs denoting a rich artistic vocabulary. Being one of the largest
    • Deep Histories, Indigenous Futures ECR Workshop Wrap-up

      27th September, 2021

      ‘Deep Histories, Indigenous Futures’, the second Kathleen Fitzpatrick Workshop of the ARC Laureate Project ‘Rediscovering the Deep Human Past’, brought together postgraduate students and early career researchers from across the country. Indigenous histories address diverse audiences, speaking to local families and communities, to broader national and international conversations. These histories speak variously to policy change or to political contestation, sometimes to public memory or national mythologies. And they are formed through relationships between peoples and Country that were the focus of discussion. In these times of lockdowns and border closures, the workshop was organised into a series of online events, providing participants with opportunities both to hear from and be in conversation with leading thinkers who were generous in sharing their experience and knowledge, and to converse with other researchers in the field from across Australia. The workshop opened with a public webinar [Telling History through Country’](, co-hosted with ANU’s Centre for Environmental History. Chaired by Rebe Taylor, panellists included Ann McGrath, Peter Read, Lorina Barker, Eliza Kent and Michael Brogan. Country is more than the backdrop for history; it is an active participant within both its stories and their telling. So we explored questions of in what ways might Country speak? In particular, panellists spoke to their work on Country at Mulgoa, Western New South Wales, and at the Willandra Lakes. We were also encouraged to support Western NSW Indigenous communities given the COVID emergency: - [Wilcannia GoFundMe]( - [Engonnia & Goodooga GoFundMe]( - [Walgett - Dharriwaa Elders]( In the afternoon, Mike Jones led a workshop, ‘Exploring digital tools and techniques’, providing the postgraduates and ECRs with an overview of the possibilities, and the challenges, of working digitally. The session started with some of the fundamentals, from file naming, file formats, and structuring data to tips for evaluating digital tools, then moved on to basic tools for capturing research data, and for managing archival and other images. Workshop participants were then invited to take a closer look at Voyant (an online text analysis tool) and StoryMap (which helps present text, photographs, and audio-visual material associated with particular points on a map or large image). The session concluded with some ideas for exploring digital methods in more detail. Participants asked insightful questions throughout, and many took the opportunity to share useful tips with their peers. The second day began with presentations on [‘First Nations Histories towards Social Justice and Institutional change’]( delivered by three key speakers who have been at the centre of movements for institutional, national, and international change, and who addressed the role of historical research in creating political change. Maramanindji woman Sonia Smallacombe, Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman Professor Jackie Huggins, and Yawuru man Professor Peter Yu each emphasised the need for researchers to provide critical analyses of policy and its implementation, and to conduct this research in genuine partnership with communities. Universities, we were reminded, could have done a lot more for First Nations communities, and there is a need for research that moves beyond the political rhetoric to connect research with the lived experience of the people researchers serve. These themes emerged further in discussion, as participants described the costs of heartbreaking urgency of many of these questions, in COVID-stricken Western NSW and for those subjected to ongoing police violence and homicide. Professor Yu challenged participants to identify their contribution that has a real impact in the community, and it was this question that animated the following workshop, facilitated by the co-editors of [‘Aboriginal History’](, Yamatji woman Dr Crystal McKinnon and non-Indigenous man Dr Ben Silverstein. The workshop, titled ‘Who writes, whose stories?’, provided participants with an opportunity to consider and talk about their relationships to place and to people, and to reflect on the way they situated or positioned themselves. Over a series of discussions, participants spoke about issues of ethics, accountability, and their relationships to the work they do, the communities with whom they work, and the way their work spoke to the concerns of the expert panels. We’re looking forward to further collaborations with the many talented researchers who attended the workshop.
    • Deep Conversations: Telling History through Country

      on the 21st September, 2021

      If you missed this lively and engaging roundtable discussion chaired by Rebe Taylor, or you want to watch in again, now you can! Historians Peter Read, Ann McGrath, and Lorina Barker, along with collaborators Michael Brogan and Eliza Kent from the Taragara project
    • Live streaming: building the Re. atlas

      10th September, 2021

      My name is Tabs. I design and develop digital content for the Research Centre for Deep History (RCDH). Developing and maintaining the main website has been my primary focus thus far, as well as posting updates to the ANU’s School of History website. This is shifting to designing and developing a digital atlas - a technical deliverable of the [ARC Laureate program 'Rediscovering the Deep Human Past']( - and mapping projects.. We hope to have an alpha version ready by late 2021. Working as a developer with humanities research can be a challenge. The context in which we’re building affects the design and development process; most notably, who we’re collecting data from and who we’re designing for. There are additional layers of complexity involved surrounding ethics protocols and sanitising data. Communicating the difficulties and nuances of technology to non-developers requires practice. Transforming academic research into something understandable and potentially enjoyable by a wider audience requires a skillset beyond the ability to code; incredible experiences are quite often created by entire teams for this reason. As a result, I’ve been thinking about how to help people understand more about the work I’m involved in as part of my ongoing interest in supporting training and capability development. One of the ways I’m planning to do this is live streaming. Live streaming – broadcasting online in real time – has increased significantly in number of streamers and viewership with the onset of COVID-19. The most popular streaming platform, Twitch, surpassed [five billion hours watched as of Q2 2020]( The number of viewers increased, and so did the number of streamers – Twitch alone now has more than nine million unique channels. I have one of them. I [started streaming]( for two reasons: I wanted to handle myself in front of a camera (a lifelong struggle!), and to engage with the wider technical community. Since mid-2020 I have been coding live, gaming live, and hosted community ‘slackathons’ (like a hackthon minus time-constraints, and not restricted to code). It’s been an unexpectedly valuable learning process. Project types generally streamed are SaaS apps, small business websites, or games. While they’re amazing and it is fantastic accompanying streamers working through the creative process that is coding, project field diversity is lacking. Software projects related to the Arts or Social Sciences are few and far between, and academic involvement in projects is near non-existent. I intend to give the work I do for RCDH some visibility. If the average developer learns about transforming academic research, or a non-developer understands that design and development can be a hair-tearing process, I’d be ecstatic. I will likely be streaming work-related content on Mondays, and [will add streams to my schedule]( ahead of time. You will only require a Twitch account if you’d like to type in chat. Please feel free to engage, provide feedback, and ask as many questions as you like. I have had viewers keep quiet in an effort not to distract me – but if I didn’t want to be engaged with I wouldn’t be coding on a platform that encourages it! Please note that Twitch is similar to Twitter in the sense that personal and work content can be inextricably intertwined. I stream personal projects and content outside of my work. All opinions are my own. My channel is []( If you have any queries, comments, or 'slackathon’ project suggestions I can be contacted via my [ANU email]( or [Twitter](
    • First Nations Histories towards Social Justice and Institutional change

      on the 9th September, 2021

      **Thursday 9 September: 10:00am -11:30am** This seminar features three speakers who have been at the centre of movements for institutional, national, and international change. This expert panel will address the role of historical research and work in and towards public or governmental institutions to create political change. The speakers will discuss their work either within governmental institutions or directed towards government, and we will hear about their experiences of working with and undertaking, transformative research. Questions of where we practice scholarship, and for whom we write or present, are critical for emerging scholars to consider in Indigenous Studies and/or Indigenous Histories. Hearing about the different places and ways that these scholars have undertaken their important work will assist participants think about who they are, how they practice their history work, and how their own work can contribute to effective social justice and institutional change. **Presenters** Professor Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman who has enjoyed a stellar career across academic, corporate and social sectors. She is among the first First Nations historians in Australia. Currently Co-Chair of the Treaty Advancement Committee in Queensland, she has served on a number of national and state boards, directed her own consulting firm, and was Deputy Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the University of Queensland. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001 and a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities in 2007. She has written widely for history books and journals nationally and internationally. Professor Peter Yu is a Yawuru man with over 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at the state, national and international level. He is Chair or Deputy Chair of a number of organisations relating to Indigenous development and advocacy as well as a Council Member of the Governing Board of the Australian National University and CEO of Nyamba Buru Yawuru. Peter’s business and organisational acumen as well as outstanding track record in community leadership will be especially helpful. Ms Sonia Smallacombe is a member of the Maramanindji people from the Daly River area. She worked as a Social Affairs Officer with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for eleven years. Prior to joining the UN, Sonia was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Charles Darwin University. Her Masters thesis was on the intellectual and cultural property rights of Indigenous peoples. Co-Chairs: Dr Ben Silverstein, Australian National University and Dr Crystal McKinnon, RMIT [Register via Eventbrite]( This seminar will be conducted via Zoom. Please register immediately. A link will be emailed to all attendees prior to the event. For more information contact [](
    • Deep Conversations webinar: Telling history through Country

      on the 8th September, 2021

      Deep Conversations: Telling History through Country Wednesday 8 September: 10:00am -11:30am How might history be told through Country? In what ways might Country speak? Country is more than the backdrop for history; it is an active participant within both its stories and their telling. In this roundtable discussion chaired by Rebe Taylor, historians Lorina Barker, Peter Read, and Ann McGrath along with collaborators from the Taragara project “Gari: Stories Country Tells” share how historians might engage with Country in their research and writing. [Register via Eventbrite]( This webinar will be conducted via Zoom. Please register immediately. Prior to the event, a link will be emailed to all attendees. For more information contact the convenors of the series []( or []( Deep conversations: history, environment, science series is a partnership of the Research Centre for Deep History and Centre for Environmental History. It aims to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss questions of history, science and the environment, and how they shed light on the global challenges we face today.
    • Congratulations to Centre Deputy Director Laura Rademaker!

      17th August, 2021

      Laura was one of the success stories in the recent ARC announcements of funded DECRA projects. Laura’s project aims to provide a historical exploration of the experiences of self-determination in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Working in partnership with Indigenous collaborators, it expects to generate new knowledge of the challenges and opportunities which arose from the process of self-determination. Expected outcomes include a new history of the Northern Territory as shaped by self-determination, together with innovative methods for community-based collaborative research which give voice to historical Indigenous experiences. This should provide significant benefits for policymakers engaging with Indigenous communities and generate deeper cultural understanding of an important era in Australia’s Indigenous history. Centre Director Ann McGrath said “This is a wonderful achievement. Laura’s project promises real benefit for an understanding of Indigenous pasts and futures, which will be of high significance for future policy making. I am thrilled to congratulate Laura on the award of a DECRA, an award for outstanding Early Career Researchers”.
    • Minoru Hokari Memorial Scholarship

      16th August, 2021

      The School of History has announced the 2021 Minoru Hokari Memorial Scholarship. Available to a currently enrolled tertiary student, studying at any Australian university as a postdoctoral student or have completed a PhD degree in the past three years. More details can be found in the links below. Applications open now until 30 September 2021. []( [](

    We acknowledge and celebrate the First Australians on whose traditional lands we meet, and pay our respect to the elders past, present, and emerging.

    All rights reserved ® Research Centre for Deep History, 2020

    The School of History, The Australian National University