Visit to Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia, USA

I was fortunate to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection on 08 October 2019, under the guidance of curator and UVA art historian Dr Henry Skerritt. My visit here is in connection with my Endeavour Executive Leadership Fellowship. Among other things, the collection consists of over 700 bark painting made by Indigenous Australians.

Looking at Indigenous Australian bark paintings held in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, University of Virginia

Launch of major government report relating to Indigenous knowledge in design

A large group of Indigenous knowledge holders, designers, practitioners, and government representatives gathered in Melbourne on Monday, November 20th, 2017 to celebrate the launch of a major government report on the teaching of Indigenous knowledge in design. The report was generated by Prof David Jones (Deakin University), Prof David Low-Chow (Griffith University), Associate Professor Grant Revell (University of Western Australia), Associate Professor Scott Heyes (University of Canberra), Associate Professor Richard Tucker (Deakin Unviersity), and Dr Susan Bird (Central Queensland University). The report can be downloaded here:


Public talk at Monash University’s Indigenous Studies Centre

Dr Scott Heyes and Dr Kristofer Helgen (Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide) will give an invited talk this week (13 September, 2017) at Monash University’s Indigenous Studies Centre in Melbourne.

hunting tools

An Arctic Landscape Revisited: Re-discovering a 130-year old Smithsonian Collection and making it relevant to today’s Arctic peoples

In this presentation we look at a story that started in 1882 when a talented young Smithsonian naturalist called Lucien McShan Turner took up residence at a tiny Hudson’s Bay Company trading post called Fort Chimo in the Eastern Canadian Arctic region of Ungava Bay. Representing the first International Polar Year, his official task was to record the weather at this station for the US Signal Army Corp. In his spare time, Turner earnestly collected physical and material cultural items belonging to the Inuit and Innu people of the region, even taking some of the earliest photos of them and their landscapes. These items were shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C and have been studied and reviewed by researchers ever since.

Our story begins with the “discovery” of a manuscript written on Arctic mammals by Turner, which was seemingly unknown to curators at the Smithsonian. We discuss in this talk how the rediscovery of this manuscript led to a re-knowing of Turner’s Collection, and how we extended Turner’s original manuscript to become a book (Mammals of Ungava and Labrador, Smithsonian Scholarly Press, 2014) that incorporated Inuit and Innu perspectives on mammals in contemporary times, as well as our own accounts and understandings of human-animal interactions in the Arctic. Our presentation will feature some of Turner’s characteristic ways for describing mammals, along with legendary stories of mammals that were relayed to us by Inuit hunters while undertaking fieldwork in the Arctic where Turner was once based.


Design proposals for Giiyong Festival, Jigamy, NSW

Dr Scott Heyes and his senior landscape architecture students from the University of Canberra travelled to Jigamy, NSW from 6-8 Sept, 2017, to contribute ideas towards the design of the 2018 Giiyong Festival. The design studio exercise requires students to work alongside the South East Arts NSW, Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, and the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council to develop design proposals for the Festival. The team camped at Jigamy for two nights to gain a better understanding of the Festival site, including meeting stakeholders. Students presented some of their preliminary mapping exercises to the Twofold Aboriginal Corporation Board on the visit. The maps are designed to help students understand the Indigenous values and understandings of Jigamy and the region. Thank you to the locals at Jigamy for making us feel so welcome on our stay!


Visit at Fiji High Commission in Canberra

UC students and UWA students (via skype) were welcomed to the Fiji High Commission in Canberra yesterday, as part of their introduction to the Fiji teaching project. We thank His Excellency Mr Yogesh Punja, Fiji High Commission in Canberra, for hosting our group. Pictured below (L-R): Prof Steve Basson, Deputy Dean, UC Faculty of Arts and Design; Prof Peter Radoll, Dean of UC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy; Her Excellency Martha Mavrommatis, High Commissioner for Republic of Cyprus in Canberra; UC students – Fred Leftwich, Jai Cornish-Martin, Alix Bateup, Malachi Murljacic; Felicity Corbin, Executive Officer, UC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy; His Excellency, Dr Attila Laszlo Gruber, Ambassador for the Hungarian Embassy in Canberra, and Dr Scott Heyes, Associate Professor of Cultural Heritage at University of Canberra (Group Leader).

fiji high commission visit_2017

Collaborative Teaching Initiative in Fiji

With colleagues from the University of Canberra and the University of Western Australia, and through funding support from the New Colombo Plan we have embarked on a teaching project that involves Indigenous Australian students being given an opportunity to learn about Indigenous Fijian society. The first teaching program (July 2017) will occur on Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, with travel to various cultural sites and places. The itinerary includes travel to urban, rural and remote regions of Viti Levu, with visits and interactions with cultural institutions, businesses, universities, and villages.  A blog has been generated to capture the experiences of the teaching project This site features the stories of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander University students as they prepare and take part in the program.


Participatory Design Presentation at Aalborg University, Denmark

Extraordinary MT Colloquium, Thursday 17 November, Rendsburggade 14, Room 3.529


Scott Heyes, University of Canberra

The impacts and benefits of undertaking Participatory Research in Indigenous Settings: Case Studies from Australia, Arctic Canada, and Fiji.

Abstract: In this presentation I will draw on my collaborative teaching and research projects in Indigenous Australia, Arctic Quebec and remote areas of Fiji on design and cultural heritage topics relating to Indigenous geographies, pathways, hangout spaces, legendary landscapes, and sacred sites. I will describe how my teaching and research activities have been undertaken using innovative participatory research methods or through mapping, exhibition, and design charrette exercises. Continue reading


screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-19-57-46This program is open to third year students in all disciplines University wide as an elective, with a GPA of over 4.5. The unit will be of particular interest to students studying Heritage, Museums and Conservation, Education, Creative Writing, Tourism, Management, Environmental Science or Architecture but would be an exciting addition to any degree!

Come to our information session to learn more about this exciting program: Tuesday November 12 at 10am in room 2A12

Arctic adventure for UC academic

rsz_img_5988Ultimately, this book is a celebration of Inuit and Innu knowledge of mammals of Ungava and Labrador that teaches us much about the rich understanding and respect that the Inuit and Innu had for land and sea mammals in the late 1800s, and serves to reinforce the profound knowledge that the Inuit and Innu continue to have today.