In our research we are committed to acting in the interests of First Nations communities of Australia. We maintain the same position with all communities that we work with.

Who we are

Dr Lorina Barker is a Wangkumara and Muruwari oral historian, and a lecturer at the University of New England on Anaiwan land in New South Wales. She is also researching a significant Songline that runs from Muruwari Country in Queensland through to South Australia.

Dr Piers Kelly is a non-Indigenous man of British and Irish ancestry. At the University of New England his job is to locate message sticks in collections and storage facilities all around the world.

What we can do for you

Our research involves working within museum collections and archives to restore knowledge to Country. When we find significant materials we inform the cultural owners. If you are a cultural owner and you wish to access these materials we will help facilitate this to the best of our ability.

What you can do for us

Sometimes we get in touch with communities through their cultural organisations, such as language centres, art centres and other representative bodies. We do this because we would like to request permission to search collections for materials that we may not ourselves have a cultural connection to, but which may relate indirectly to aspects of our research.

In order to move forward, institutions may ask us for a short letter of authorisation. It might say words to the effect of: “Our [Indigenous-owned and managed cultural organisation] wishes to confirm that Dr Barker and/or Dr Kelly contacted us to request permission to research documents and materials relevant to our members. We endorse this work on the understanding that the findings will be made available to us for our own review.”

You can read more about who we are here, and about our repatriation policy here.