Dr Diane Smith joined CAEPR in October 2019 as a Fellow. Her PhD (Anthropology, Public Policy) from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at The Australian National University on Cultures of governance and the governance of culture: Indigenous Australians and the State investigates Indigenous cultural and organisational modes of governance, and how those articulate in an intercultural arena with the governmentality of the Australian nation state. Diane also has a Master’s Degree (Anthropology) from ANU in Aboriginal reproduction and identity; and Honours (Anthropology) from Queensland University on colonial constructs of Aboriginal leadership and governance. She also holds an Assoc Diploma (Furniture Design) from the ANU Institute of Arts.
Diane is an anthropologist with over 40 years' experience working with Indigenous Australian communities, groups and organisations in remote, rural and urban locations across Australia. She has extensive field-based research experience using a diverse range of methodologies, has worked as an employee of several Indigenous organisations, and published widely on Indigenous public policy initiatives and frameworks.
As part of her research and outreach contributions, Diane has been a member of the National Native Title Tribunal conducting mediations and arbitrations. She was a Chief Investigator for the ‘Australian Indigenous Community Governance Research Project’, one of the largest multi-disciplinary research undertakings into governance carried out in Australia. Based on that research, she produced the written and creative learning content for the ‘Indigenous Governance Toolkit’, a public access web-based resource tool for Indigenous Australians working to build and strengthen their governance arrangements (http://toolkit.aigi.com.au/). She is currently a Board member of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute.
Diane's research interests, including for supervision purposes, range across issues of Indigenous culturally-based modes of governance, organisational and community governance, the governance of Australian governments, Indigenous political organisation, Indigenous socioeconomic status, Indigenous development, family and household systems, women's ritual and knowledge systems, native title and land rights, and applied research methodologies. Diane's approach to scholarly projects is to produce robust evidence and analysis that will ‘make the research count’ on the ground.