Dr Kirstie Close-Barry’s Latest News

Dr Kirstie Close- Barry‘s new job at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education as Director of the Graduate School, and other news.

In November 2015, I started a new job with the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education as Director of the Graduate School. The job has brought me to Darwin, and I have been getting to know Australia’s ‘top end’ a lot better. I oversee the whole postgraduate program for Masters and PhDs in Indigenous Perspectives, from enquiries about the course, through the various stages of research and writing, right up to the point of examination. Batchelor’s postgraduates are located around the country, so we make the most of Skype, Dropbox, and other electronic resources. As part of this role, I organised a supervisor training workshop which ran from 5-6 April. Professor Jakelin Troy from the University of Sydney led discussions, which provided time to reflect with colleagues and develop strategies for how best to mentor the Batchelor postgraduate cohort, as well as support each other.

While starting in this new job at Batchelor, my book was published through ANU Press. A Mission Divided is now available online and can also be ordered in hard copy through the ANU Press website. I have yet to officially launch the book, but details about this will be coming soon. Watch this space!

In 2016, I am continuing to work with Papua New Guinean colleagues on the World War Two oral histories project led by Dr Jonathan Ritchie. We will conduct interviews in New Ireland province, and one of the outcomes of this endeavour will be a biography on Aisoli Salin, one of the first Papua New Guineans to serve on the PNG Legislative Council.

Opportunities to do more collaborative writing have been very enjoyable. I have been editing a special issue with Dr Claire McLisky. Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson and I are also discussing ways to further our work on labour in colonial contexts. Both Sophie and I are turning our attention increasingly to the Northern Territory, knowing that it was a hub of trade between diverse communities. It’s exciting to share conversations with both Claire and Sophie and see our ideas take shape on paper.

I will be presenting some of my latest research at the Pacific History Association conference in Guam in May, including research on the work of Fijian and Torres Strait Islander missionaries in Arnhem Land during the mid-Twentieth Century. In this work especially I continue to explore themes that emerged in my postgraduate research, around the way labour was organised at mission sites, and the connections between various parts of the Pacific through the Methodist Overseas Mission.

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