Professor Michael Christie

Ph.D, M.A., B.Ed

Principal Researcher

Michael Christie is a Professor of Education and heads up the Contemporary Indigenous Governance and Knowledge Systems research theme at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

Professor Christie worked in Yolŋu communities as a teacher linguist in the 1970s and 1980s, and started the Yolŋu Studies program at Northern Territory University (now CDU) in 1994.  After working within the Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the School of Education, he moved to the Northern Institute in 2010.

Research Interests

Michael's current research interests cover a range of collaborative transdisciplinary projects in Indigenous contexts which involve careful investigation into diverse knowledge practices and methods. A key part of collaborative transdisciplinary methodology is avoiding simplification into received categories, and maintaining research websites has become a key aspect of that work. 

  • Yolngu languages and culture
  • Yolngu philosophy and education
  • Transdisciplinary and indigenous research

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Research Projects

Publications & Resources

Book Chapters

Catherine, B., Christie, M. & Brian, D. (2017) Digital futures for Bilingual Books In Devlin, B., Disbray, S., and Devlin N.R.F (eds) Singapore: Springer History of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory  (pp. 347-54)

Christie, M. (2017) Developing Local curriculum Materials – Learning Metaphors, Insightful Collaborations, Community Involvement. In Devlin, B., Disbray, S., and Devlin N.R.F (eds) Singapore: Springer History of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory  (pp. 127-40)

Campbell, M., & Christie, M.(2016) Shopping at Pine Creek: Rethinking Both-Ways Education through the context of Remote Aboriginal Australian Ranger Training In Mizzi, .C., Rocco, T.S. and Shore, S (eds) Disrupting Adult and Community Education: Teaching, Learning and Working in the Periphery. Albany: State University of New York.

Christie, M. (2016) Decolonising Social Sciences in Remote Australia. In Kuhn, M., and Vessuri, H., (eds) Contributions to Alternative concepts of Knowledge. Stuttgart: ibidem

Campbell, M., & Christie, M.(2014) ‘Theorising Engagement in Remote Aboriginal Intercultural Contexts’ in I. Bartkowiak-Théron & K. Anderson (Eds.), Knowledge in Action:University-Community Engagement in Australia, Cambridge Scholars Publishing pp 101-15

Christie, M. (2014). Decolonising methodology in an Arnhem Land garden. In B. Neumeier & K. Schaffer (Eds.), Decolonizing the Landscape: Indigenous Cultures in Australia (pp. 57-70). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Verran, H. & Christie, M. (2014). 'Postcolonial Databasing? Subverting Old Appropriations, Developing New Associations'. In J. Leach & L. Wilson (Eds.), Subversion, Conversion, Development: Diversity and the Adoption and Use of Information and Communication Technologies (pp. 57-76). Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press.

Christie, M. (2013). The Box of Vegies: Metaphysics in Yolŋu Research. In M Vicars, T. McKenna and J. White (Eds.), Discourse, power, resistance – Down Under (Volume 2, pp. 45-56). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Christie M., Guyula, Y., Gurruwiwi, D. & Greatorex, J. (2013). Teaching from Country: Connecting remote Indigenous knowledge authorities with university students around the world. In L.Ormond-Parker, A. Corn, C. Fforde, K. Obata & S. O'Sullivan (Eds.), Information Technology and Indigenous Communities (pp. 127-39). Canberra: AIATSIS Research Publications.

Christie, M. & Asmar, C. (2012). Indigenous knowers and knowledge in university teaching'. In L. Hunt, & D. Chalmers (Eds.), University teaching in focus: A learning-centred approach (pp. 214-232). Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Press: Camberwell, Victoria, Australia/Routledge: London.

Christie, M. (2011). Some Aboriginal perspectives on Gifted and Talented Children and Their Schooling'. In W. Vialle (Ed), Giftedness from an Indigenous Perspective (pp. 36-42). Australian Association for the Gifted and Talented.

Christie, M. (2008). Digital Tools and the Management of Australian Desert Aboriginal Knowledge'. In P. Wilson and M. Stewart (Eds), Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Practices and Politics (pp. 270-286). Duke University Press.

Christie, M. (2007). Yolngu Language Habitat: Ecology, Identity and Law in an Aboriginal Society'. In G. Leitner and I. Malcolm (Eds.), Australia's Aboriginal Languages Habitat (pp. 57-78). Berlin, New York: Mouton De Gruyter.

Christie, M. (2007)  ‘Knowledge Management and Natural Resource Management.’ in Investing in Indigenous Natural Resource Management, edited by M.K.  Luckert, B.M.  Campbell, J.T  Gorman and S.T.  Garnett, 86-90. Darwin: Charles Darwin University Press

Christie, M. (2005). Local Versus Global Knowledge: Resolving a fundamental dilemma in 'remote Education'. In Colin Boyle (Ed), Our Stories: Innovation and Excellence in Rural Education (pp. 7-14). Toowoomba: Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia.

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Journal Articles

Spencer, M., Christie, M., (2017) Collaboratively rethinking the nature and practice of voluntary service in three North Australian Aboriginal communities. Third Sector Review, 23(1), 9, 9-27.

Christie, M., (2015) Making Money: Financial Literacy as an Object of Governance Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in social Contexts Special edition: Objects of Governance (15) March, 40-45

Christie, M., (2015) Australian Indigenous Knowledge and the Globalising Social Sciences Journal of Glocal Studies #2, 93-104

Christie, M., Devlin, B., Bow. C., (2014) The Birth of the Living Archive: An emerging archive of Australian Aboriginal languages and literature. Archifact October, 48-63

Christie, M., & Campbell, M., (2014) ‘Aboriginal contributions to the evaluation of housing (and to postcolonial theory)’ Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in social Contexts Special edition: Evaluation (14) Sept  154-65

Christie, M.,  & Verran, H. (2014). The Touch Pad Body: A Generative Transcultural Digital Device Interrupting Received Ideas and Practices in Aboriginal Health. Societies: Special Edition: Beyond Techno-Utopia: Critical Approaches to Digital Health Technologies, 4, 256–264.

Christie, M., & Verran, H. (2013). Digital Lives in Postcolonial Aboriginal Australia. Journal of Material Culture, 18(3), 299-317.

Christie, M. (2013). Generative and 'ground-up' research in Aboriginal Australia. Learning communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 13, 3-13.

Christie, M., & Verran, H. (2013). The ethnographer in the text: Stories of disconcertment in the changing worlds of north Australian social research. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 12, 1-3.

Verran, H., & Christie, M. (2013). The Generative role of narrative in ethnographies of disconcertment: Social scientists participating in the public problems of North Australia. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 12, 51-57.

Christie, M. (2013). Talking home and housing: The ethnographer brought back down to earth. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 12, 29-34.

Christie, M. (2012). A postcolonial perspective on the systemic theory of gifted education. High Ability Studies, 23(1), 39-41.

Christie, M., & Young, M. (2011) The public problem of 'Aboriginal gambling': winning the struggle for an urban space. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 46(3), 253-272.

Van Weeren, T., Cathcart, J., Verran, H., Christie, M., Guyula, Y., & Greatorex, J. (2011). Touch Pad body: A new Health Literacy and Interpreting Tool. The Chronicle, 22(3), 4-5.

Verran, H., & Christie, M. (2011). Doing Difference Together: Towards a Dialogue with Aboriginal Knowledge Authorities Through an Australian Comparative Empirical Philosophical Inquiry. Culture and Dialogue, 1(2), 21-36.

Guyula, Y., Gotha, K., Gurruwiwi, D., & Christie, M. (2010). The ethics of Teaching from Country. Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal, 2, 69-80.

Christie, M. & Verran, H. (2010). Reflections on the Teaching from Country Programme as a Situated Learning Community: Media, Place, Pedagogy. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 2, 1-6.

Christie, M. with the assistance of Yiŋiya Guyula, Dhäŋgal Gurruwiwi, John Greatorex, Joanne Garŋgulkpuy & Kathy Guthadjaka. (2010). Teaching From Country, Learning From Country. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 2, 6-17.

Christie, M. (2010). Money Matters: Payment for the Participation of Aboriginal Knowledge Authorities in Academic Teaching and Research Work. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 2, 60-66.

Christie, M. (2010). The Task of the Translator. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 2, 67-74.

Christie, M. (2010). Workshop Report: Indigenous Health Literacy Benchmarking for the NT. The Chronicle, 19(4), 16.

Christie, M. (2010). Re-Thinking: Health Literacy in Remote Communities. The Chronicle, 19(4), 40.

Christie, M. (2009). Engaging with Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Charles Darwin University and the Yolngu of Northeast Arnhemland. Learning communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts. Special Edition: Indigenous Community Engagement, December, 23-35.

Campbell, M., & Christie, M. (2009). Researching a University's Engagement with the Indigenous Communities it serves. Learning communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts. Special Edition: Indigenous Community Engagement, December, 2 – 22.

Christie, M. (2008). Yolngu Studies: The co-constitutivity of Teaching, Research and Aboriginal Community Engagement at a Regional Australian University. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement, 1, 31-47.

Christie, M. (2008). Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge Practices and North Australian Biosecurity. Kritis: Journal of Interdisciplinary Development Studies and Learning communities; International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, July, 64-74.

Verran, H., Christie, M., Anbins-King, B., van Weeren, T. & Yunupingu, W. (2007). Designing Digital Knowledge Management Tools with Aboriginal Australians. Digital Creativity, 18(3), 129-142.

Verran, H., & Christie, M. (2007). Using/Designing Digital Technologies of Representation in Aboriginal Australian Knowledge Practices. Human Technology; Interdisciplinary Journal of Humans in ICT Environments, 3(2), 214-227.

Christie, M. (2007). Fracturing the Skeleton of Principle: Australian Law, Aboriginal Law, and Digital Technology. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, November, 30-39.

Christie, M. (2006). Transdisciplinary Research and Aboriginal Knowledge. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 35, 1-12.

Christie, M. (2006). Boundaries and accountabilities in computer-assisted ethnobotany. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning Special issue on Multicultural Issues in the Design of Learning Technologies, 1(2), 1-12.

Christie, M. (2006). Local versus Global Knowledges: A fundamental dilemma in 'remote education'. Education in Rural Australia, 16(1), 27-38.

Christie, M. (2005). Aboriginal Knowledge Traditions in Digital Environments. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 34, 61-66.

Christie, M. (2005). Words, Ontologies and Aboriginal Databases. Digital Anthropology: Multimedia International Australia, 116, 52-63.

Christie, M. (2004). Computer Databases and Aboriginal Knowledge. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 1, 4-12.

Christie, M., & Greatorex, J. (2004). Yolngu Life in the Northern Territory of Australia: The Significance of Community and Social Capital. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 26(1), 55-69.

Christie, M., & Greatorex, J. (2004). Social Capital in the Contexts of Yolngu Life. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 2, 38-51.

Cass, A., Lowell, A., Christie, M., Snelling, P., Flack, M., Marrnganyin, B., & Brown, I. (2002). Sharing the True Stories: Improving communication between Aboriginal patients and Health Care workers. Medical Journal of Australia, 176(20), 466-70.

Research Reports

Spencer, M., Christie, M., Spencer, M., Verran, H., (2017) Indigenous Languages, Culture and Knowledge Services Workforce, Business Opportunities in an Emergent NT Services Economy

Spencer, M., Christie, M., Lee, A. & Wallace, R. (2016) Helping and caring, not only our family: NT Indigenous perspectives on volunteering. Australian Red Cross.

Christie, M. & Wallace, R. (2016) Disaster Resilience, Management and Preparedness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in Darwin and Palmerston, Final Report. Charles Darwin University (CDU).

Christie, M. & Campbell, M. (2013) ‘More than a Roof Overhead - Consultations for Better Housing.’  Report from the ARC Project More than a Roof Overhead.

Christie, M. (2010) ‘Milingimbi Water: Djäka gapuw ŋamathaŋ – Care properly for our Water: Report to the NT Power and Water Corporation’

Christie, M., Greatorex, J., Guyula, Y., Cathcart, J., Weeren., Cook, J. , Gurruwiwi, D. & Garŋgulkpuy, J. (2010) ‘Primary Health Care Reform Group: East Arnhemland Client Education and Health Interpreting Scoping Study’

Christie, M., Greatorex, J., Gurruwiwi, D., Djirrimbilpilwuy, F., Galathi, J., Gapany, D., Garŋgulkpuy, J., Guthadjaka, K., Gurrumuwuy, C., Gumbula, I., Lawurrpa, E., Dhamarrandji, M., Gumbula, M., Nyuŋunyuŋu, M., Gaykamaŋu, W., & Guyula, Y. (2009)  ‘Regulated Gambling and Problem gambling Among Aborigines from Remote Northern Territory Communities: A Yolŋu Case Study’ for the NT Department of Justice

Campbell, M. & Christie, M. (2008) ‘Indigenous Community Engagement at Charles Darwin University’ report to the CDU Office of the PVC Community and Engagement

Trevor, V., Cathcart, J., Guyula, Y., Gumbula, I., Gumbula, M., Rami, G., Greatorex, J. & Christie, M. (2008) ‘An Evaluation of the ANZ-TCU Financial Literacy project Jan 2006-July 2007’,

Maypilama, Garnggulkpuy, Christie, M., Greatorex, J. & Grace, J. (2004). ‘Yolngu Long-grassers on Larrakia Land: First Language Research Report for the Community Harmony Project Darwin and Palmerston.’

Awards & Memberships


2011Northern Territory Australian of the Year
2010The Artful Integration Award from the 11th Biennial Participatory Design Conference
2008 - 2009National Fellowship, Australian Learning and Teaching Council
2008NT Government Research and Innovation McArthur River Mine Indigenous Innovation Award for 'Homeland micro e-business: e-learning champions for family-level businesses on very remote Indigenous communities'
2007Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Exceptional Performance in Research
2005Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching, awarded for the Yolngu studies teaching program
2005Business-Higher Education Round Table national award for best research collaboration with a CRC awarded for the 'Sharing the True Stories' Research
2002Wyeth Prize for best research article published in the Medical Journal of Australia
1988Winner NT Red Earth short story award

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Supervision

Current students

  • Anthea Nicholls: The Social Life of a Computer at Ramingining
  • Hayashi Yasunori: The Collaborative On-Line Representation of Gupapuyŋu history and culture
  • Robyn Williams: Cultural Safety
  • Julie Crough: Caring for country: Tools and resources
  • Adam Heaton: Anti-racist education
  • Lisa Hall:  Pathways into Teacher Education for indigenous adults
  • Sharon Gierus: Maths education in kindergarten
  • Robyn Ober: Aboriginal English
  • Kathy McMahon: Teaching maths
  • Adam Macfie: Assessing Cultural Significance
  • Alison Reedy:  Indigenous learners online
Professor Michael Christie


T: +61 8 8946 7338

Darwin, NT


CDU Research Webportal