6 December 2000

A study arguing for revised cultural heritage legislation to protect a wider range of indigenous place properties and cultural values has received the inaugural Ceridwen Indigenous Scholarship.

Established last year, the $2000 scholarship is maintained by gifts from the estate of the late Ceridwen Greenfield and friends, and administered and awarded by The University of Queensland.

Ms Greenfield died in 1995 at the age of 51, leaving $50,000 to be used as her trustees saw fit to "benefit indigenous children".

The scholarship established in her name and administered within the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre (AERC) at the University, assists students undertaking study or research of benefit to Australia's indigenous children and youth.

Such work may encompass undergraduate and postgraduate study, pure and applied research, and include such areas as indigenous health, education, housing, community planning and design, and quality of lifestyle.

The first award winner, Stephen Long, said he would use the funds to complete his PhD thesis comparing a range of everyday indigenous people-environment interactions with the models of cultural heritage embedded in current cultural heritage legislation.

Fieldwork was carried out in Dajarra, northwest Queensland, where there is a high proportion of children. Mr Long said one of the best ways children could learn about places was by physically visiting them with Elders.

"Yet the children in Dajarra do not have the same opportunities to access the full range of places/country that their parents or grandparents had as children. Current cultural heritage legislation does not provide a means to overcome a range of access restrictions.

It also does not recognise and support indigenous rights to undertake customary place-maintenance activities (this includes the transmission of place-specific knowledge)," Mr Long said.

He said all research concerned with indigenous people-environment interactions must be considered within the context of cultural heritage.

Runners-up for the 2000 Ceridwen Scholarship were Jo Victoria and her masters study on the un-met housing needs of young indigenous people in Queensland with a special interest in single mothers, and Giles Newstead, investigating indigenous ecotourism projects in the Kimberley region.

The AERC operates as a research and consultancy practice, teaching centre and archive, providing a national focal point on issues of Aboriginal housing and architecture for the academic, government and community sectors.

It also offers several undergraduate courses and supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate theses on indigenous issues.

For information about the scholarship, contact Rose Mather at PO Box 12278,
Elizabeth Street Post Office, Brisbane, 4002, or telephone 07 3211 3522.

Media contact: Associate Professor Paul Memmott (telephone 07 3365 3660 or email p.memmott@mailbox.uq.edu.au) or Peter McCutcheon at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 1088).