University congratulates new AIATSIS appointments

Dr Myfany Turpin working with Marie Mudgell and Patrick Smith to document songs in Balgo, Western Australia

Welcomes opportunity to continue valuable work with Institute

The University of Sydney warmly congratulates new Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) CEO and council members, including Sydney’s own Dr Myfany Turpin.

AIATSIS, the home of Australia’s premier collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures, traditions, languages and stories, recently announced its new Chief Executive Officer, Craig Ritchie, and the results of its council elections.

University of Sydney Deputy Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) Professor Shane Houston welcomed Mr Ritchie to the Chief Executive Officer role and recognised his long contribution.

“Craig’s extensive experience in government and education has served him well while acting in the CEO role.

“We look forward to continuing our work and exploring new possibilities with AIATSIS through our partnership via the University’s National Centre for Cultural Competence.”

Beginning in 2014, the partnership between the National Centre for Cultural Competence and AIATSIS has enabled a valuable exchange of ideas and research materials, and collaboration on public engagement events including last year’s Controversial Conversation: reclaiming, resilience and decolonising.

“It’s also wonderful to see one of our own academics, Dr Myfany Turpin, join the council,” Professor Houston said.

A linguist and ethnomusicologist at the University’s Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Dr Turpin holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to investigate the relationship between words and music in Aboriginal songs in central Australia.

“Myfany’s research with Aboriginal communities over more than 20 years makes her a rare expert on Aboriginal song-poetry and Arandic languages, she will bring invaluable understanding, knowledge and rigour to the role,” Professor Houston said.

Dr Turpin was delighted to be elected to the Council and said, “Language, culture and heritage are immensely valuable and play an important role in Indigenous health and well-being. As a council member I hope to promote and develop the uses of records and further understandings of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge and expression.”

Professor Houston also thanked outgoing members, including Professor Mick Dodson, for their contribution over many years.

“The University of Sydney has long held a strong relationship with AIATSIS, and thanks those members stepping down for their ongoing collaboration and contribution.

“Mick has been an ally and a friend to the University and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Media enquiries:

Rachel Fergus, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809 rachel.fergus@sydney.edu.au