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Research projects for Australian society, history and culture

Research projects for Australian society, history and culture

ARC Media Releases and News
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14 October 2020 

Research projects for Australian society, history and culture  

The Australian Research Council (ARC) will support 49 research projects with a focus on Australian society, history and culture under its Special Research Initiatives scheme. 

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas, welcomed the Minister for Education Dan Tehan’s announcement today of the successful grants worth $11.8 million under the new 2020 Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture. 

Professor Thomas said the research projects will advance understanding into the formation, development and future of Australian society.  

“These new research projects will range from investigating past and present Australian literature, art, music, politics, health and geography to examining current social, political and cultural issues,” Professor Thomas said. 

“It will also build Australian research capacity in this area by supporting researchers of the highest standing as well as fostering development of high-quality postdoctoral researchers.” 

Some examples of the new projects include:  

  • Professor Kate Burridge at Monash University will investigate the uniqueness of Australian vernacular English from the late 1800s until today ($282,726)  
  • Professor Odette Best at the University of Southern Queensland will investigate the histories of Aboriginal Queensland women who trained as nurses or midwives from the 1890s - 1950s ($116,265) 
  • Dr Martin Tomko from The University of Melbourne will explore the engineering processes that enabled the Gunditjmara people to site, plan, construct, operate and maintain the world’s oldest aquaculture system - Budj Bim World Heritage Cultural Landscape ($277,000)  
  • Dr Rayner Thwaites at The University of Sydney will examine the role the law plays in shaping theories of belonging to Australia and concepts of citizenship and Australian nationhood. The project will address these questions, exploring key constitutional cases in which individual claims to ‘belong’ were the central issue ($113,075) 
  • Professor Susan O’Connor from The Australian National University will lead a project to record and contextualise Indigenous and non-Indigenous carvings and inscriptions on ancient Australian boab trees growing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia ($283,678) 

A full list of the grants and research project areas is available on the ARC website.  

Media contact: 
ARC Stakeholder Relations
0412 623 056 or 

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