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Tasmanian Indigenous researcher honoured with top University award

The two-decade career of Tasmanian Indigenous researcher Dr Emma Lee has been recognised through the presentation of the University’s Foundation Graduate Award.

The award recognises high-achieving University of Tasmania graduates in their early to mid-career and was presented to Dr Lee last Thursday night (10 May, 2018), at the University Dinner held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart.

“This is the greatest moment of my professional career - it does not get better than this,” Dr Lee said.

“This award says that Indigenous people are worthwhile, that we can contribute greatly to our society and country [and] that we can aspire to greatness.

“An honour of this magnitude will be carefully nurtured by me; it is a cloak of honour to wear it.”

The University of Tasmania graduate and postdoctoral researcher is an expert in establishing joint management processes and models for Tasmania’s protected areas, which formed the basis of her PhD. 

Dr Lee is a driver in the State’s first joint management plan for a protected area - the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, providing the project with both academic expertise and Indigenous insights.  

Her work as a postdoctoral fellow within the Centre for Marine Socioecology focusses on shifting legislative barriers to Indigenous engagement with fisheries and aquaculture practices, sponsored by the University and the Department for Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania) and hosted by the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS).

As part of the project she is investigating the case for, and working towards establishing an Indigenous cultural fisheries and food market in Tasmania, which will make a rich contribution to Tasmania’s culture and be especially significant for the Tasmanian Indigenous community.

About Dr Emma Lee

Dr Lee was awarded her PhD, ‘Establishing Joint Management Processes and Models for Tasmania’s Protected Areas’, by the University of Tasmania in December 2017. During her doctoral research training, she was the first Aboriginal Tasmanian to be a recipient of an Indigenous Fellowship under the Australian Government’s Endeavour Awards. She elected to spend time in Catalan, Spain, exploring other community structures.

Dr Lee has worked in the field of Indigenous rights and land management for the past two decades, undertaking a career as a consultant archaeologist and publishing an award-winning book on the Aboriginal heritage of Sydney’s northern beaches. She has engaged in protected area management as a manager at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (2003-06), a past member of the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council (2010-15) and current Policy & Programme subcommittee chair of the ICCA Consortium, an international Indigenous advocacy body. She has extensive experience building establishing policy frameworks and programs that increase collaboration between government, business stakeholders and the Indigenous population.

In December 2017 she was nominated by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs to be Tasmania’s Indigenous representative on the Tasmanian Regional Jobs and Investment Package Committee.

Image: Dr Emma Lee receives her award from Young Dawkins, by Karen Brown.

Published on: 14 May 2018 3:14pm