Associate Professor Elaine Läwurrpa Maypilama

Hon. Doc Litt (CDU) & Associate Diploma in Teaching (Batchelor Institute)

Principal Research Fellow

Elaine Läwurrpa Maypilama is a Principal Research Fellow in the Northern Institute. Aspro. Maypilama is a senior Yolŋu educator and researcher with a wide range of research experience related to nutrition, child and maternal health, hearing loss, sign language, chronic disease, intercultural communication, child development and program evaluation. Läwurrpa is widely respected for her high level of expertise in developing and conducting culturally responsive and high quality research. Her advice and participation is frequently sought, not only by researchers and others working with Yolŋu, but from across Australia.

Aspro Maypilama  was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from CDU in 2013 and also has an Associate Diploma in Teaching from Bachelor Institute. Läwurrpa’s early career was as a teacher at Shepherdson College at Galiwin’ku and she has worked extensively in research with Charles Darwin University as well as Menzies School of Health for over twenty years.

Läwurrpa was one of the founding members of the research organisation Yalu’ Marŋgithinyaraw which uses traditional Yolŋu clan structures of governance and management to promote the physical, spiritual and emotional health of Yolŋu.

Läwurrpa has had extensive involvement with the Graduate School for Health Practice then the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing. She has been involved in numerous research projects including the ARC-funded ‘Indigenous birth and family’ project, FACSIA funded ‘Footprints in Time’ project, and Department of Health and Ageing funded ‘Taking Control of Chronic Disease’ project. She is also an author on many publications and has presented at numerous conferences across Australia and internationally.

Läwurrpa recognised that non-Indigenous researchers often fail to understand the complexities of an Indigenous worldview, and that this lack of understanding is significant when conducting research. To address this, she has consistently acted as a facilitator to assist non-Indigenous researchers to better understand their processes within a Yolŋu.

Associate Professor Elaine Läwurrpa Maypilama is currently based on Elcho Island and she continues to research with Northern Institute through the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre (


Current Research Projects

'Growing up children in two worlds’ -
building Yolŋu skills, knowledge and priorities into early childhood assessment and support. Yalu Marŋgithinyaraw in partnership with the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing, School of Health, CDU and SNAICC. Funded by Lowitja Institute.

Caring for Mum on Country Project”. Northern Institute, CDU.

Link to Research Publications



T: 08 8946 6473

Elcho Island

CDU Research Webportal