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ADI researchers receive prestigious grants from the Australian Research Council

ADI researchers receive prestigious grants from the Australian Research Council

Research projects led by A/Prof Benjamin Isakhan, A/Prof Eben Kirksey and Dr Tiffany Shellam all receive the green light for funding from the ARC in 2020.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) today announced a suite of research projects that will be funded from next year. Three research projects led by Alfred Deakin Institute (ADI) researchers were among those that were successful in this round of funding in the Discovery and Discovery Indigenous schemes.

A/Prof Benjamin Isakhan.

A/Prof Benjamin Isakhan, with Stanford University’s Professor Lynn Meskell, will lead a Discovery project titled After Islamic State: Local-State-Global Heritage Dynamics in Syria and Iraq.

“Since the Iraq war of 2003 and the Syrian civil war from 2011, the people of Syria and Iraq have witnessed a cataclysmic wave of both human suffering and heritage destruction,” said A/Prof Isakhan.

“In response to this heritage destruction, a number of state institutions and global bodies have launched initiatives to reconstruct the heritage of Syria and Iraq. However, these efforts often rely on problematic assumptions about how citizens value and engage with their heritage, how they perceive and interpret its destruction, and the value they place on its reconstruction.”

“Investigating the complexities of local-state-global dynamics in the destruction and reconstruction of Syrian and Iraqi heritage through this project will provide us with unprecedented empirical insights into how the people of Syria and Iraq perceive their heritage, and the extent to which it actually aligns with the attitudes of key state and global actors,” said A/Prof Isakhan.

A/Prof Eben Kirksey (Image: Andrea Kane/Institute for Advanced Study).

A/Prof Eben Kirksey is a Chief Investigator on a Discovery project, ‘The Promise of Justice’, with the University of Sydney’s Dr Sophie Chao, and Partner Investigator Dr Benny Giay.

This project will undertake collaborative ethnographic research in Indonesia, focussing on the province of West Papua, a region plagued by conflict, to reconceptualise the notions of justice and make recommendations with regards to the environment, human rights and health.

“Justice is often framed as a human problem, but how other species shape just or unjust futures is rarely considered. Biodiversity loss and modernisation programs can result in unequal suffering for Indigenous communities. Health inequalities, produced by microbial diseases, also disproportionately impact marginalised peoples in developing countries,” said A/Prof Kirksey.

“This project will examine those unexamined areas of what can and should be considered justice when we escape the human-centred paradigm that we’ve created for ourselves.”

A/Prof Kirksey is currently a resident scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Dr Tiffany Shellam is a Chief Investigator on a Discovery Indigenous project, ‘Healing Land Healing People: Novel Nyungar Perspectives’ with colleagues M. Darryl Kickett, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich, and Dr Carol Dowling from Curtin University, and Professor Stephen Hopper from the University of Western Australia.

This project aims to investigate means of biodiversity conservation and human resilience in a global hotspot by advancing collaborations between Aboriginal environmental and cultural knowledges and Western science and humanities.

The project will generate new strategies to slow decline of biodiversity in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region, and help build Aboriginal resilience by exploring innovative techniques to restore narratives of local life styles to Dryandra Woodland history.

Expected outcomes include enhanced sustainability of environment and culture and new theories and assessment models. This should provide significant benefits for Aboriginal well-being, national reconciliation and for coping with global climate change.

Projects funded under the Discovery Program scheme contribute both to an expanded knowledge base and research capacity in Australia, and economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for Australia.

The Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to support research programs led by an Indigenous Australian researcher and build research capacity of higher degree research and early career researchers.


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