Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Biography Workshop

Date and time

Thursday, 28 September, 2017 - 12:00 - 13:30

Location or Venue

McDonald Room, Menzies Library, ANU


Katherine Aigner


person icon Malcolm Allbrook

Katherine Aigner, a PhD student in the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the ANU, will discuss 'How do you write uncomfortable stories?'

Says Katherine: Through a biographical study of Lorraine Mafi-Williams (1940-2001), an Indigenous filmmaker, writer, actress, activist, and educator, an aspect of my PhD thesis investigates how key individuals keep cultural knowledge alive and pass it on. Despite massacres, forced assimilation and the Stolen Generations, her lineage of female knowledge holders has maintained its connection to country and sites of significance. Primary research is drawn from a three year period when I was invited to film Mafi-Williams as she ‘squatted illegally’ on traditional land to stop mining encroaching on a women’s birthing lake in northern NSW. Her actions brought her into conflict with the cultural, political and social milieu of the time.

Katherine Aigner has worked with Indigenous custodians and knowledge holders in Australia and overseas since the late 1990s, and has made award-winning documentaries on cultural heritage protection and history. In 2005 she made Australian Atomic Confessions about the British atomic bomb tests. Since 2008 she has worked with the National Museum of Australia and, since 2009, with the Vatican Ethnological Museum to re-connect their Indigenous collections with source communities around the world. She has worked on exhibitions, and published articles and catalogues on Indigenous collections, including The Americas collection (Vatican Museums 2014), and was invited to edit their Australia catalogue (with 20 Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors) which is to be launched in December 2017.

Updated: 21 September 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, NCB / Page Contact:  Web Publisher