Affiliated Researchers

The Australian Centre brings together scholars who are interested in contributing to and furthering the Centre's focus on advancing a critical understanding of Australia as a colonial project. Underpinned by our commitment to working in a collaborative manner, the Centre utilises the expertise of each Affiliated Researcher to present a unique and nuanced perspective on the settler state, its culture, institutions, sovereignty and identities.

Dr Amy Spiers

Dr Amy Spiers is an artist, curator, writer and researcher living on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin nation in Narrm (Melbourne, Australia). She is currently a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT School of Art (2022-24), where she is engaged in research that explores the critical capacities of public and socially engaged art, and how such art practices might generativity address difficult colonial histories and social relations between Indigenous and settler peoples in Australia. With Worimi researcher, artist and filmmaker, Genevieve Grieves, Amy co-convened the online symposium, "Counter-monuments: Indigenous settler relations in Australian contemporary art and memorial practices", that was hosted by Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) in March 2021.

Dr Archie Thomas

Dr Archie Thomas is a Chancellors’ Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. They are an interdisciplinary researcher focused on understanding how discourses, policy frameworks and institutions like schools shape our lives. Archie has collaborated on multiple grant-funded research projects to produce innovative new research on media, education and policy. Their current project explores the emergence of a school-to-prison pipeline in Australian schools, with a focus on understanding how systemic racism and discipline practices are connected.

Their other work has included developing new understandings of the experiences of Indigenous journalists in mainstream media organisations, the role of Indigenous independent schools in facilitating self-determination, the place of the media in communicating Indigenous political aspirations, and narratives about gender diversity in Australian political discourses. They have worked across Indigenous-led research centres and across the disciplines of education, Indigenous studies, history and media studies.

Craig Ritchie

Craig Ritchie is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunghutti and Biripi nations and is the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Craig joined AIATSIS as Deputy CEO in April 2016, and formally appointed CEO in May 2017. Prior to joining, Craig has worked in other senior roles in the Department of Education and Training 2011-2016 in roles heading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education, higher education access  and participation for people from low-SES backgrounds, and international student mobility, as well as founding Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the ACT Government. Craig has extensive experience in the community sector, including as CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) - the peak advocacy body for Aboriginal community-controlled health services.

Craig is one of a small number of Indigenous Commonwealth Government agency heads and a founding member of the APS Indigenous SES Network. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney where he also serves on the Vice- Chancellor’s Industry Advisory Board. He also holds honorary appointments at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University. He is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government. He studied History, Classics and Education at the University of Newcastle and has a post-graduate qualification in management and is currently completing his PhD at the Australian National University. His thesis topic is Culture and Policymaking: Towards Better Aboriginal Policy and explores the cultural basis of contemporary policymaking and researching Aboriginal culture as a vector for the transformation of policymaking systems.

His research interests are interdisciplinary and span literature, history, classics, philosophy, and political science. He has a scholarly focus on the interaction between culture and socio-political systems with a strong interactionist orientation.

Dr David McDonald

David B MacDonald is a full professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Guelph, where he has been since 2007. He is of mixed Indo-Trinidadian and Scottish origins and was raised on Treaty 4 lands in Regina, Saskatchewan. He served  a three-year term as Research Leadership Chair from 2017-2020, and he has previous been a faculty member at Otago University, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the ESCP Graduate School of Management, Paris, France. With co-researcher Sheryl Lightfoot, he shares a five year SSHRCC Insight Grant on Indigenous practices of self-determination in comparative perspective, with a focus on Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand (

His recent books are The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation (University of Toronto Press, 2019) and Populism and World Politics: Exploring Inter- and Transnational Dimensions, co-edited with F.A. Stengel and D. Nabers (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019). He researches and publishes primarily on comparative Indigenous-settler relations in Canada and other CANZUS states, focusing on such themes as Indigenous sovereignty, settler colonial genocide, transitional justice and truth commissions, and UNDRIP implementation. He also writes on multiculturalism and ethnic diversity in CANZUS states. He is a fellow at the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law.

Elise Klein

Associate Professor Elise Klein

Elise Klein is an Associate Professor in Public Policy at the Crawford School in Public Policy at the Australian National University. Her research focuses on development policy with a specific interest in work, redistribution, decoloniality and care.

Lorenzo Veracini

Associate Professor Lorenzo Veracini

Lorenzo Veracini is an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Australian Centre and teaches history and politics at Swinburne University of Technology. His research focuses on the comparative history of colonial systems and settler colonialism as a mode of domination. He has authored Israel and Settler Society (2006), Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (2010), The Settler Colonial Present (2015), and most recently The World Turned Inside Out: Settler Colonialism as a Political Idea (2021). Lorenzo co-edited The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism (2016), manages the settler colonial studies blog, and is Founding Editor of Settler Colonial Studies.

Associate Professor Morgan Brigg

Morgan Brigg is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies in the School of Political Science and International Studies at The University of Queensland. He is a specialist in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, governance, development and innovative approaches to cross-cultural relations and the politics of knowledge. Morgan’s work facilitates exchange between Western and Indigenous political philosophies and socio-legal orders as part of a wider exploration of the politics of cultural difference, governance, and selfhood. His current research examines how ideas of relationality can be used to a) re-theorise improved engagement with diverse global peoples and traditions, b) de-colonise political science, and c) to advance Indigenous-Settler relations. He regularly writes with Dr Mary Graham on Indigenous governance and Aboriginal political concepts:

Associate Professor Sheryl Lightfoot

Sheryl Lightfoot is Anishinaabe, a citizen of the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga, Michigan. In 2018, Sheryl was appointed to the role of Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Affairs, a position within the First Nations House of Learning. She is an associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Political Science. Sheryl is Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics at the University of British Columbia. Associate Professor Lightfoot is a leading scholar and renowned expert in the fields of global Indigenous politics and Indigenous settler relations and has been appointed the North American Member on the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2021-2024).

Associate Professor Sheryl Lightfoot’s major areas of research expertise are in Indigenous politics, especially Indigenous rights and their implementation in global, national and regional contexts. Sheryl has research experience in the areas of comparative Indigenous politics and policy studies, Indigenous-settler relations, Indigenous diplomacies, Indigenous social movements, and critical international relations. Sheryl has undertaken extensive research in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in the United Nations.