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The Australian National University

Graduate profiles

Virginie Branchut

I studied anthropology at ANU and developed a particular interest in applied anthropology which led me to undertake the Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (MAAPD), specialising in Indigenous Policy (IP). The IP stream was taught by CAEPR and over ten weeks we were introduced to a range of indigenous policy issues and were able to take part in constructive and challenging debates. I believe that the strongest component of the CAEPR teaching was that each topic was covered by a CAEPR researcher who had specialist knowledge in that particular field and was simultaneously engaged in policy debates and long-term fieldwork. CAEPR's ongoing engagement with contemporary issues meant that we were pushed to think constructively about issues currently affecting Indigenous people. I went on to complete a supervised research project at CAEPR and also worked there as a research assistant.

The knowledge I acquired and the research skills I developed during my time at CAEPR enabled me to gain employment in Maningrida, North-Western Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory. I work as a coordinator/facilitator for the Maningrida Child Safety Service (MCSS), a service provided by the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, an outstation resource centre, CDEP provider and enterprise provider. The MCSS developed at the initiative of a group of strong local women who took it upon themselves to provide a safer environment for the many children of Maningrida. My role is to work with these women and support them to achieve their goals in ways that are culturally appropriate. The training I received through MAAPD and CAEPR has prepared me to work in a cross-cultural environment where I need to engage with, and provide a link between, local community members and non-Indigenous external organisations.

Nicholas Biddle

In 2003 I commenced a PhD in Public Policy through CAEPR. I came to the program with an honours degree in Economics and four years of work experience as a researcher in the public service. What attracted me to the program was the opportunity to develop expertise in applied research in an area of key public policy concern and to work with a number of the leading researchers in the field.

Throughout my candidature I benefited from the collegial atmosphere within CAEPR and had quite open access to both my supervisors and other senior academics within the Centre. Through collaborations and direct supervision I developed my skills in applied quantitative research and was given the encouragement and opportunity to present my research nationally and internationally.

After submitting my thesis I was promoted to Assistant Director level in the public service based for the most part on the experience I gained throughout my studies. I have recently taken up a Research Fellow position back at CAEPR, where I have built on my PhD research, taking it in a number of new and interesting directions. Because of the esteem with which a PhD from the ANU is held I have been invited to present past and ongoing work in a number of national forums and because of the links CAEPR has with government departments I have contributed directly to the policy making process at a high level.

Bill Fogarty

I came to the ANU in 2003 to undertake the Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (MAAPD), after several years working in a remote Indigenous Township. As part of this course I worked as an intern at CAEPR, pursing a research project on an area of interest to me. Upon completion of the Masters I was appointed as a research assistant at CAEPR and had the opportunity to research and write on areas across the Indigenous policy spectrum, as well as engage with the best research scholars in Australian Indigenous issues.

In 2006 I was awarded a PhD scholarship at CAEPR, through the Australian Research Council. This scholarship has allowed me to conduct substantial field work with Indigenous Rangers in Arnhem Land. I am now in the process of writing up my thesis, tentatively titled From Pedagogy to Production: Indigenous Land, Youth and Education. The research is supported by diverse industry partners including Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, the Northern Land Council and the Northern Territory Government. Being a student at CAEPR has been a fantastic experience and the collegial atmosphere and multi-disciplinary focus of CAEPR have ensured I have the best possible support and supervision in my studies. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in making a difference from policy to practice in whatever their field of interest may be in Indigenous affairs.

Inge Kral

I finished my PhD with CAEPR in early 2007. I had come from a background in Aboriginal education in Central Australia and had earlier completed a Masters in applied linguistics at the University of Melbourne. I had done my undergraduate arts degree in linguistics and anthropology at ANU, so returning to do a PhD in anthropology at ANU after so many years away was a really interesting experience. CAEPR was a great place to study as a mature age student as the atmosphere was supportive and the work was applied and had direct relevance to my previous work. My PhD was an ethnography of literacy entitled: Writing words - Right way! Literacy and social practice in the Ngaanyatjarra world.

After I finished my PhD I won an Australian Research Council Post-doctoral fellowship with CAEPR to work with Dr Jerry Schwab and our partner organisation the Fred Hollows Foundation on a three year ARC Linkage project Lifespan learning and literacy for young adults in remote Indigenous communities (2007 - 2010). In this project we are working with a range of research partners to investigate the ways in which young adults aged 16 - 25 are acquiring, maintaining and developing literacy in non-formal