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Australian Aboriginal emotional welfare

An EU project arranged a knowledge transfer secondment to an Australian university. The research focused on Australia’s indigenous people and history, specifically linguistics and language reclamation, and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.
Australian Aboriginal emotional welfare
The Wellcome Trust Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions operates from within the School of History at Queen Mary’s University of London. The school’s 40 historians mostly study European medieval, Renaissance and early modern periods.

The EU-funded EMOWELF (Emotional welfare: From brotherly love to fraternity) project arranged for one researcher’s 12-month relocation to the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotion. The researcher was based at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and liaised with the Centre’s other nodes in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. The secondment was intended to achieve knowledge transfer between the two Centres, and to the researcher’s home institution in Ireland.

Researchers experienced the latest methods being used at the Australian centre. The work focused on research themes including change, meanings and shaping the modern. EMOWELF also participated in the operation and management of the world’s largest humanities research project.

Seconded staff utilised the South Australian State Archives, the South Australian State Library, and the Lutheran Archives of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Researchers further engaged with the Barngarla and Kaurna indigenous communities, with a language reclamation focus. The project thus established links with the University of Adelaide’s linguistics department.

The work meshes with a museum exhibition, scheduled at Adelaide University’s Barr-Smith Library for October 2017. The exhibition will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Project researchers contributed an exhibit called ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, which explores the Reformation’s impact on the interaction between Europeans and indigenous Australians.

Through linguistic demonstration of cultural continuity, EMOWELF research informed Australian government policies concerning indigenous connection to the land. The work also carries implications for Native Title and indigenous rights. The study helped revitalise indigenous cultural awareness, while the resulting improvements to sense of self-respect positively affected Aboriginal health and social issues.

Upon returning to London, the project’s research team collaborated with many research groups. Collaborators included the School of History, programmes in theatre and psychiatrists at the Wolfson Institute for Preventative Medicine.

The work achieved a linkage between history and contemporary indigenous experiences.

Related information


Life Sciences


Aboriginal, emotional welfare, indigenous, EMOWELF, fraternity
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