Meet the team

Here at La Trobe University the ‘Graphers’ crew is led by Dr Liz Conor, Chief Investigator and ARC Future Fellow.

The Graphers all have a demonstrated track record of delivery of research and publishing and producing public programs and exhibitions.  They are hard at work collating, analysing and interrogating prints. We’re currently researching exploratory voyages, learning more about master print makers and remarkable encounters with First Nation peoples. We currently have 3,000 images and counting.

Dr Liz Conor

Chief Investigator

Dr Liz Conor in an ARC Future Fellow and Chief Investigator on the Graphic Encounters : Prints of Indigenous Australians project at La Trobe University. She is the author of Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women, [UWAP, 2016] and The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s [Indiana University Press, 2004]. She is co-editor of the Aboriginal History Journal, a columnist at New Matilda, founder of the Climate Guardians and Co-Founder (with Deborah Hart) of ClimActs.

Liz is an academic, activist, mother, editor and columnist. She was the 2015 Abbot Placid Spearritt Memorial Fellow at New Norcia. Her PhD was published as The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s, by Indiana University Press in 2004. She has completed an Australian Research Council postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne from which she wrote Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women [UWAP 2016]. She is former editor of Metro Magazine and Australian Screen Education andedited A Cultural History of Women in the Modern Age and a special issue of Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies on Types and Typologies and she has published articles on colonial and modern visual and print history in the Journal of Australian Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Studies in Australasian Cinema, Feminist Theory and Gender and History. Her freelance essays and editorials have appeared in The Age, The Conversation, The Drum,, and Arena. Her blog has been archived by the National Library of Australia.

Liz is a community campaigner, founding and convening the Coalition Against Sexual Violence Propaganda (1990) on media portrayal of sexual violence, the Stick with Wik (1997) campaign on Native Title, the Mother’s of Intervention (2000) campaign on Maternity Leave, and the guerrilla theatre troupe The John Howard Ladies’ Auxiliary Fanclub (with Zelda Da, 1996).

Ms Zena Cumpston

Research Assistant

I am a Barkindji woman who is passionate about all aspects of representation in relation to First Peoples, especially within museum and gallery contexts. I have mainly worked in the area of Aboriginal Visual History. Most recently I have been working at Melbourne Museum as part of the First Peoples exhibition as an assistant curator to facilitate the online component of this project to ensure outside audiences - both community and worldwide, have access to the wonderful people, narratives and culture that form this groundbreaking exhibition.

My first work as a researcher in the field of History was with Dr Jane Lydon on the ARC-funded project Aboriginal Visual Histories: Photographing Indigenous Australians which looked at key collections of photographs of Australia’s First Peoples in both Australia and throughout Europe. This project included both scholarly and community perspectives.  Aboriginal Visual Histories interrogated the historical narratives long associated with many images from colonial times, such as the assumption that Aboriginal participants were always passive victims and not active agents within the picture-making process.

In 2011 I completed an internship at the National Gallery of Victoria assisting the Curator of Indigenous Art (Judith Ryan) with research related to acquisition.   Also in 2011 I was chosen as a participant in the Wesfarmer’s Indigenous Arts Leadership Program at the National Gallery of Australia. In 2013 I was selected to join an international study tour of the world's leading universities through the Charlie Perkins Trust / Aurora Travelling Scholars. In 2014 I graduated with an Arts Degree from Monash University with a double major in History and Australian Indigenous Studies.

In my past life in the Performing Arts I worked as an actor, producer, writer, director, publicist and workshop facilitator and was a founding member and Artistic Director of the Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre Company, opening the iconic Old Fitzroy Theatre in 1997. As an Actor I worked with many companies including the Tamarama Rock Surfers,  Sydney Theatre Company, Pork Chop Productions, Brink Theatre Company, Legs on the Wall and The Australian Theatre for Young People. I have been directly and indirectly involved in the Arts sector for over 20 years.

Ms Bronwyn Johnson

Project Manager

Bronwyn Johnson is one of Melbourne’s leading arts producers. She has produced major street theatre and performance art programs for the Melbourne International Festival for the Arts, the opening of the Southgate cultural precinct, the Green Mill Dance Project before developing the not for profit Melbourne Art Fair into one of the leading visual art events of the Asia Pacific from 1996 to 2012.  This approach to the arts transcends disciplines and brings artists to the broader public in socially, politically and environmentally engaged contexts. Most recently, Bronwyn as Executive Director of CLIMARTE co-produced ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2015 and 2017 festivals with CLIMARTE’s founder and CEO Guy Abrahams. CLIMARTE was awarded the 2015 City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Award for contribution to community sustainability. Bronwyn Johnson is a joint editor, with Guy Abrahams, and Kelly Gellatly, Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art at The University of Melbourne of the recent Melbourne University Press publication ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE (June 2016).

Bronwyn Johnson is a former Peer of the Australia Council, former Board member of Melbourne Fringe and the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

Bronwyn is currently a Board Member of CLIMARTE and the President of Arts Project Australia a supported contemporary art studio and gallery for artists with intellectual disabilities based in Northcote.

Ms Sari Braithwaite

Research Assistant

Sari Braithwaite is a research assistant who has had appointments at ANU,University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, ACU, and La Trobe University. She has worked on a number of large-scale ARC projects: with Professor Ann Curthoys on The British Empire, Indigenous Peoples, and Self-government for the Australian Colonies, Professor Jane Lydon on the Aboriginal Visual Histories Project.

She has worked in the history of social welfare in Victoria with Dr. Nell Musgrove. Most recently, she has been a research assistant for Dr. Kate Wright the ARC project Childhood Maltreatment and Late Modernity: Public inquiries, social justice and education

Collaborators and Advisors

British Museum

The Art Gallery of Ballarat

Mr Roger Butler, Curator of Australian Prints, National Gallery of Australia,

Gregory Lehman, University of Tasmania

Professor Jane Lydon, University of Western Australia