Michael Cawthorn

MA Archaeology, Leiden University

Honorary Fellow

Michael has fifteen years’ experience as an anthropologist across the areas of material culture research, Native Title, cultural heritage management and repatriation of Aboriginal ancestral remains and cultural objects. His current research interests also include the initial colonisation of arid Australia and the relationship between climate and population processes.

He was previously Deputy Director of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Strehlow Research Centre and has worked extensively with Aboriginal communities in WA, NT and SA on applied and research-based projects. He has a strong interest in Indigenous community governance and served on the Board of Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS) from 2011 to 2017.

Michael currently works as an independent consultant anthropologist.

Research Interests

  • The history and politics of nineteenth century European scientific collecting of Indigenous material culture and ancestral remains.
  • The timing and strategies of early Australian arid-zone colonisation, and the relationship between climate change and human population processes.
  • Indigenous community governance.
  • Leveraging cultural and economic benefits of Native Title agreements.

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Research Projects

Current Projects

  • Native Title claim research
  • The interpretation of succession processes regarding Aboriginal rights and interests in Country under the Native Title Act
  • Researching nineteenth-century European scientific collecting of Indigenous ancestral remains and cultural objects

Publications & Resources

Journal Articles, Edited Volumes and Chapters

Cawthorn, M. and Cohen, H. 2013. ‘Digital Archives and Discoverability: Innovating access to the Strehlow Collection’. In L. Ormond-Parker, A. Corn, C. Fforde, K. Obata and S. O’Sullivan (eds.),  Information Technologies and Indigenous Communities. AIATSIS Research Publications: Canberra.

Cawthorn, M. and Malbunka, H. 2005. ‘Hezekiel Malbunka’. In A. Kenny. and S. Mitchell (eds.), Strehlow Research Centre Occasional Paper 4. Northern Territory Government: Darwin.

Cawthorn, M. (ed.) 2004. Traditions in the Midst of Change: Communities, cultures and the Strehlow legacy in Central Australia. Northern Territory Government: Darwin.

Selected Conference Presentations

Cawthorn, M. 2012. Session convener – Looking Forward Looking Back: Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) Governance and the role of Native Title in the Indigenous Affairs environment. National Native Title Conference, 4-6 June.

Cawthorn, M. and Cohen, H. 2011. Digital Archives, Datadiversity and Digital Storytelling: The Strehlow Collection as Knowledge Resource for Remote Indigenous Communities. AIATSIS Information Technologies and Indigenous Communities Conference, 19-22 September.

Cawthorn, M. 2010. The Strehlow genealogical collection: Strategies for transmitting topographical, genealogical and other information at a time of transformation (workshop). AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference. Young Old: Connecting Generations, 12-15 July.

Cawthorn, M. 2010. Care of material culture and palaeontological collections in an arid environment. Protection of Australasian Cultural Assets Symposia, 27 September.

Selected Reports

Cawthorn, M. 2016. Jinka and Jervois PPL Native Title Application, Anthropological Connection Report. Central Land Council: Alice Springs.

Cawthorn, M. 2014. Repatriation of Ancestral Remains Research Report: Martin Luther University Centre for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Halle, the Palaeoanthropology Section, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt, and the Charité Medical University, Berlin, Germany. Prepared for the Office for the Arts, Australian Government.

Cawthorn, M. 2014. Geological Survey of South Australia 2014/15 Work Program: Traditional Owner Identification. Prepared for APY, South Australia.

Cawthorn, M. 2013. Repatriation of Ancestral Remains Research Report: Martin Luther University Centre for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Halle and the Palaeoanthropology Section, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. Prepared for the Office for the Arts, Australian Government.

Cawthorn, M. and Gapert, R. 2013.  Repatriation of Ancestral Remains Research Report:  Charité Medical University, Berlin and Lower Saxony State Museum collections, Hanover, Germany. Prepared for the Office for the Arts, Australian Government.

Cawthorn, M. 2011. Species Naming Rights, Discussion Paper. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory: Darwin.

Cawthorn, M. 2010. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Curatorial Review. Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory: Darwin.

Cawthorn, M. 2008. Anamarapiti Preliminary Anthropological Survey. Ngaanyatjarra Council: Alice Springs.

Professional Positions, Memberships & Awards

Professional Positions & Memberships

  • Director, Queensland South Native Title Services (2011-2017)
  • Vice President, Museums Australia (2010-2012)

Awards

  • 2016: ANU Centre for Native Title Anthropology (CNTA). Fellowship – Guided Research Placement, June 2016. Research Title: Country can’t be empty Arrernte Irregular succession.
Michael Cawthorn

Contacts

T: +61 459 480 533
E: michaelcawthorn@gmail.com

Alice Springs, NT

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