Dr Fitch's Fellowship project focuses on Phyllis Parkinson, who worked for the Australian Wine Board from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. Her public relations activities targeted women and helped normalise wine consumption in the home, creating a strong domestic market for Australian wine and changing perceptions around women and alcohol. The findings will provide a better understanding of feminised labour and promotional culture.
Dr Sengupta’s Fellowship will cultivate a monograph on Australia’s India between 1890 and 1950, an area hardly explored in its plural palette in excess of the colonial rote of tea, cricket or – the camels. India had been a formative influence in shaping debates and narrations around Australianness in the nascent years of Federal formation, if sometimes as a creatrix of alterities. Dr Sengupta’s research aims to dig into India as shadow-narrative in the policies, published volumes and private journals of three time Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, trace the subcontinent confected by storytellers and travel-writers in journals and magazines of the period, as also explore the India-perfumed translational models of Australianness limned by invisibilised authors deemed “failures” at the time, such as Mollie Skinner. The monograph aims to cultivate “failure” and the dis(re)membered pasts of Indo-Australian connections as non-formulaic places of possibility for the nation and trans-nation, presently plagued by holograms and retrotopes of the insular singular.
During this fellowship Dr O'Brien will undertake research on the role of the state in relation to market-based activism. A particular focus is the Australian government’s responses to political consumerism (for example, boycotts and buycotts), and political investorism (for example, divestment and shareholder activism). The aim of this research is to improve understandings of the intersection between the state, corporate actors, interest groups, and individual citizens in protest politics in the marketplace.
Message sticks are marked wooden objects that were once used throughout Indigenous Australia to convey important information between communities. Dr Kelly's Fellowship will address the question: What role did message sticks play in Indigenous long-distance communication? Drawing on archival evidence and original fieldwork, the project aims to be the first empirically grounded study of message sticks as a practice. The project is informed by Australian linguistics and anthropology, as well as historiography and material culture studies. Dr Kelly will interact with colleagues at the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, the ANU Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, the Australian Centre for Indigenous History, and national collecting institutions. The projected outcomes of the fellowship are: to initiate collaborations, explore significant archival resources and to promote the study of message sticks as a uniquely Indigenous information technology.
Dr Evans' book-length project is the first longitudinal, systematic analysis of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) as an institution—in fact, it is the first such analysis of any National Human Rights Institution (NHRI). It adapts concepts and theories from scholarship on judicial independence and the political construction of judicial power and uses them to develop a more robust analysis of NHRI independence than is currently offered in the extant literature. Marshalling five original datasets that draw on a diverse array of primary sources, Dr Evans will examine how partisan political actors have used the means at their disposal to enlarge and constrain the AHRC’s capacity to act independently.
The extraordinary life of Mavis Robertson offers a window onto major social and political movements in 20th-century Australian history. Robertson, a key figure in the the Communist Party of Australia, left the Party in the 1980s to became a pioneer in the development of industry and compulsory superannuation in Australia. She was actively involved in the peace, anti-nuclear, women's and post-Allende Chilean solidarity movements, helped establish Emily's List, the Jessie Street Trust and the Mother's Day Classic for breast cancer research. Dr Garner's Fellowship will enable a close study of Robertson's papers in the Noel Butlin Archives, leading to the eventual production of a biographical-historical audio documentary series.