Unit staff and students have undertaken archaeological and cultural heritage studies throughout mainland Australia as well as in Torres Strait, Papua New Guinea and various parts of the Pacific.
A major project was conducted in coastal central Queensland over a decade from 1994-2004, working in the traditional country of Gooreng Gooreng people. Unit personnel had key roles in a recently-completed 5-year multidisciplinary project in the Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which are owned by people from a number of different language groups. We have also just finished a joint French-Australian project working with Kanak people in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia.
Current proposals include an Australia-wide study of the costs and benefits of World Heritage listing for Indigenous people. This project will see staff and students from the Unit and other parts of UQ as well as from USQ in Toowoomba visit communities with World Heritage sites on their country, to record their views on World Heritage and how it could best be organised to take account of their particular needs and interests. This project links with on-going work with World Heritage bodies by Professor Ian Lilley to help improve their policies and practices regarding Indigenous people in Australia and internationally.
As part of UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Plan, Professor Lilley is developing a university-wide network for Conservation and Heritage Innovation (CHI). This network brings together staff and student researchers working in a wide variety of fields, such as anthropology and archaeology, architecture, art history, cultural studies, biological sciences, geography, planning and environmental management, health sciences, history, information technology, land management, law, linguistics, museum studies, political science and international studies, sustainable mining and tourism. CHI links with a global initiative called the International Heritage Group, an independent non-governmental network that aims to help global heritage agencies work effectively with Indigenous and other local communities.