Tiffany Shellam

Staff member

Tiffany Shellam works collaboratively with the Nyungar community of Western Australian, historians, museum curators, and archivists to unearth hidden and alternative histories of 19th century encounters. She is interested in the ways in which collaborative work can unsettle the surety of archives, and the ways in which ethnographic and biocultural collections offer different narratives of past events. Tiffany has worked at Deakin since 2009. Beyond Deakin she loves swimming and setting off on bush adventures.

  • Research

    Tiffany’s previous research project, ARC Discovery Project Exploring the Middle Ground: New Histories of Cross-Cultural Encounters in Australian Maritime and Land Exploration, led by Dr Shino Konishi (UWA) focused on Indigenous experiences of maritime and land based exploration. Her more recent research projects are collaborations with the Nyungar community on returning archival documents and Nyungar knowledge to the community. As a Chief Investigator (CI) on the ARC Discovery Project Ancestors’ Words: Nyungar Writing in WA Government Archives led by Professor Anna Haebich (Curtin), Tiffany works with the descendants of Nyungar letter writers to return archived letters to families.  Tiffany is also a CI on the ARC Linkage Project Collecting the West: How Collections Create Western Australia, led by Professor Alistair Paterson (UWA). This project unearths key historical collections of and from Western Australia, with a focus on ethnographic and natural history collections.

    Tiffany’s current work focuses on the interplay of Indigenous knowledge and science in historical biocultural collections. Working with the Nyungar community, historians, curators, and conservation biologists, she is interested in readjusting the dominance of western science in these collections. Tiffany is working with the Wilman Nyungar community in Dryandra country on bioconservation in the ARC Indigenous Discovery Project Healing Land, Healing People: Novel Nyungar Perspectives, led by Darryl Kickett (Curtin), and with the Menang community in Albany on a historical fish collection.  

  • Select publications

    • 2019. Tiifany Shellam, Meeting the Waylo: Aboriginal Encounters in the Archipelago, UWA Publishing, Crawley, WA.
    • 2019. Tiffany Shellam, ‘The Collective Nyungar Heritage of an “Orphan Letter”‘, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol.20, no.2, special issue on ‘Critical Archives’.
    • 2019. A. Haebich, Tiffany Shellam, and Darryl Kickett, ‘Ancestors’ Words: Nyungar Letter Writing in the Archive (1860-1960)’, Westerly, article-no. 7.
    • 2018. Tiffany Shellam, ‘Nyungar Domains: Reading Gyalliput’s Geography and Mobility in the Colonial Archive’, in B. Silverstein (ed.), Conflict, Adaptation, Transformation : Richard Broome and the Practice of Aboriginal History, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
    • 2018. Tiffany Shellam, ‘Ethnographic Inquiry on Phillip Parker King’s Hydrographic Survey’, in Martin Thomas and Amanda Harris (eds), Expeditionary Anthropology: Teamwork, Travel and the ‘Science of Man’, Berghan Books.
    • 2015. Tiffany Shellam, ‘Mediating Encounters through Bodies and Talk’, in Shino Konishi, M. Nugent, and Tiffany Shellam, Indigenous Intermediaries: New Perspectives on Exploration Archives, Canberra, ANU epress.
    • 2015. Shino Konishi, M. Nugent, and Tiff Shellam (eds), Indigenous Intermediaries: New Perspectives on Exploration Archives, ANU Press.
    • 2015. Tiffany Shellam, ‘”On My Ground”: Indigenous Farmers at New Norcia, 1860s-1900’, in Z. Laidlaw and A. Lester (eds), Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism, Palgrave Macmillan.
    • 2010. Tiffany Shellam,  ‘Manyat’s “Sole Delight”: Travelling Knowledge in Western Australia’s Southwest, 1830s, in D. Deacon, P. Russell, and A. Woollacott (eds), Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, 1700 – Present, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, England.
    • 2009. Tiffany Shellam, Shaking Hands on the Fringe: Negotiating the Aboriginal World at King George’s Sound, UWA Publishing, Crawley, WA.
  • Teaching

  • Supervision

    Tiffany’s areas of supervision include:

    • The history of colonisation, in particular relationships between Indigenous Australians and explorers, settlers, and missionaries in the 19th century
    • Critical archival approaches to the history of colonisation
    • The history of colonial collections
  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    • 2018. Deakin University Science and Society Network Incubator grant for the project Two-Way Science: Assembling Nyungar Knowledge and Icthyology in Robert Neill’s fish collection ($9030)
    • 2014. WA History Foundation Grant ($3050)
    • 2013. Menzies Centre for Australian Studies Bicentennial Fellowship (£1500)
    • 2012. Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research in the Early Career Researcher category ($5000)
    • 2009. Deakin University Research Development Grant ($4000)
    • 2008. Australian Academy of the Humanities Travelling Fellowship ($4000) 

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