Research project team

Minutes of Evidence Project

Julie Evans 

Julie Evans is Lead Chief Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project. She is an Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of Melbourne and has an MA in Women's Studies (La Trobe) and a PhD in History (University of Melbourne). Julie’s work in teaching and research explores relations between western law and Indigenous peoples from the 15th century to the present. Her work is interdisciplinary (law, history, criminology) and comparative (19th-century British empire/'post'-colonial states) and draws on a range of critical theoretical frameworks. Her books include Sovereignty: Frontiers of Possibility (University of Hawaii Press, 2013, edited with Ann Genovese, Alexander Reilly and Patrick Wolfe); Edward Eyre, race and colonial governance (University of Otago, 2005) and Equal Subjects, Unequal Rights (University of Manchester Press, 2003, co-authored with Patricia Grimshaw, David Philips and Shurlee Swain). 

Julie’s research on the Minutes of Evidence project addresses questions and notions of justice in settler states, with a particular focus on how understanding the complexity of the past can foster new ways of living together justly in the present and future. She has held several other ARC awards and in 2013 received an Australian Government Citation for Outstanding Contribution to University Teaching.

Jennifer Balint 

Jennifer Balint is a Chief Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project and Senior Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies (Criminology) at the University of Melbourne. She has a BA (Hons) LLB (Hons) from Macquarie University, and a PhD from the Law Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Her work addresses access to justice and the constitutive role of law, with a focus on genocide and other state crime. Her recent book, In the Name of the State. Genocide, State Crime and the Law (Glasshouse/Routledge-Cavendish 2012), is a legal and socio-political analysis of the capacity of law to address genocide and other forms of state crime. Drawing on her comparative international justice work, Jennifer’s research within the Minutes of Evidence project considers how the law hears claims of injustice, how legal processes can both stymie and effect structural change, and why legal processes continue to be sought to repair harm, despite being a companion to past and ongoing injustice.

Joanna Cruickshank

Joanna Cruickshank is a Chief Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project. Her research is driven by a desire to understand the role that religious belief and practices played in shaping the modern world, particularly in relation to questions of suffering and justice. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a PhD in History from the University of Melbourne. She is a Lecturer in History at Deakin University and was previously a Senior Research Associate at the University of Melbourne and a British Academy Visiting Fellow at the University of Manchester. Joanna has published widely on the history of Aboriginal missions in Australia, as well as the longer history of evangelical humanitarianism and religious cultures in eighteenth-century Britain and the British empire.

Joanna's research within the Minutes of Evidence project examines the non-Aboriginal people who testified at the 1881 Parliamentary Coranderrk Inquiry, focusing on their understandings of justice and placing them in the broader context of religious debates about race, missions and colonialism during this period. In particular, she is writing about Anne Bon, a significant ally of the indigenous people at Coranderrk and one of the instigators of the 1881 Parliamentary Coranderrk Inquiry. 

Patricia Grimshaw

Patricia Grimshaw’s particular interest in the Minutes of Evidence project is the relations of missionaries and Aboriginal Australians and more widely, the circumstances under which Indigenous Australians were enabled to assert their concerns in human rights and social justice. She has engaged with issues of settler populations and indigenous peoples’ rights in the co-authored book with Julie Evans and others, Equal Subjects, Unequal Citizens (2003), and with Indigenous Victorians in Letters from Aboriginal Women of Victoria, 1867-1926 (2002), co-edited with Elizabeth Nelson and Sandra Smith. Before her retirement she was the Max Crawford Professor of History in the History Department and is currently a Professorial Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. Her current activities include, in addition to the Minutes of Evidence project, another ARC funded Linkage project, ‘Women and Leadership in a Century of Australian Democracy’, and the Australian Women’s Archives Project, an online register for women’s archives developed in conjunction with the  National Foundation of Australian Women.

Zoë Laidlaw

Zoë Laidlaw is a UK-based Partner Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project. With Alan Lester she hosted a 2012 symposium in London and a 2013 conference at the University of Sussex for the Minutes of Evidence project. The latter will result in an edited collection examining indigenous communities’ retention and dispossession from land in Anglophone settler societies (Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World).

Zoë is Reader in British Imperial and Colonial History in the Department of History at Royal Holloway University of London, where she has worked since 2005. Between 2001 and 2005, she was Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield. She has undergraduate honours degrees in History and Mathematics from the University of Melbourne. She completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford, with the support of a Commonwealth Scholarship, between 1997 and 2001.

Zoë’s research covers Britain's empire and colonies in the nineteenth century, with particular focuses on imperial networks, humanitarianism, governance and colonial knowledge. Her Colonial Connections: Patronage, the Information Revolution and Colonial Government, appeared in the Studies in Imperialism series by Manchester University Press in 2005; a paperback edition was released in May 2012.She is currently writing a monograph, Protecting Humanity, which centres on the Aborigines Protection Society and its founder, Dr Thomas Hodgkin, in the mid-nineteenth century. She is an international partner on the ARC Future Fellowship, ‘Reform in the Antipodes: Quaker humanitarians, imperial journeys and early histories of human rights’.

Alan Lester

Alan Lester is a UK-based Partner Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project. His first degree was from the University of Cambridge and his PhD from the University of London. He has been at the University of Sussex since 2000, becoming Professor of Historical Geography in 2006 and the University's first Director of Interdisciplinary Research in 2013. He is also Co-Director of the Colonial and Postcolonial Studies Network. He has held visiting lectureships at Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare, and an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury. Alan’s publications include Imperial Networks: Creating Identities in Nineteenth Century South Africa and Britain, Routledge, London and New York, 2001; David Lambert and Alan Lester (eds) Colonial Lives Across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, 2006 and the forthcoming Alan Lester and Fae Dussart, Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance: Protecting Aborigines Across the Nineteenth-Century British Empire, Cambridge University Press. Alan is interested in colonial networks of various kinds and, increasingly, in Indigenous engagements with them.

Alan’s main contribution to the Minutes of Evidence project  is co-editing the volume Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World., with Zoë Laidlaw.

Mark McMillan

Mark McMillan is a Chief Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project. He joined the faculty of Melbourne Law School in 2011. He is a Wiradjuri man from Trangie, NSW. He was named National NAIDOC Scholar of the year for 2013. His research interests are in the area of human rights and, in particular, the expression and fulfillment of those rights for Indigenous Australians. His current Research Projects include: Chief Investigator on ARC Discovery Grant: “Resistance, Recognition and Reconciliation in Australia – lessons from South Africa and Northern Ireland.” Chief Investigator and Node Leader on ARC Special Initiative Grant: “National Indigenous Research and Knowledge Network.” NIRAKN. Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage Grant: “Minutes of Evidence: promoting new and collaborative ways of understanding Australia’s past engaging with structural justice.” Mark is a current board member of the Trangie Local Aboriginal Land Council and the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

Nesam McMillan

Nesam is a Chief Investigator on the Minutes of Evidence project and a Lecturer in Global Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Her research engages with international crime, law and justice from an interdisciplinary perspective. She completed her doctoral research at the University of Melbourne, which focused on the international response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Prior to undertaking her PhD, Nesam completed a BA(Hons)/LLB(Hons) and worked in legal policy at the Victorian Law Reform Commission. Following her PhD, she worked in the Legal Studies program at La Trobe University. Nesam’s research focuses on the way in which international crime and international criminal justice are conceptualised and addressed. Her current project critically reflects on the recent consolidation of the ‘international’ as a site of crime, law and justice. Her research to date has drawn on the insights of postcolonial and poststructuralist theory in order to explore questions concerning international responsibility and interconnectedness through the lens of crime and criminology. Nesam’s research on the Minutes of Evidence project interrogates the capacity of international criminal justice to account for colonial injustices and their ongoing legacy.

Giordano Nanni

Giordano is Senior Research Fellow on the Minutes of Evidence project. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Western Australia and a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne. He is dedicated to devising and presenting new, engaging and multi-disciplinary ways of making history more accessible to the broader public. To this end, Giordano conceived and edited the verbatim-theatre play Coranderrk: We Will Show The Country – produced by ILBIJERRI Aboriginal Theatre Company in association with the Minutes of Evidence project. Giordano has published two books: Coranderrk – We Will Show The Country (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2013), co-authored with Yorta Yorta playwright Andrea James; and The Colonisation of Time: Ritual, Routine and Resistance in the British Empire (Manchester University Press, 2012), which documents the ways in which western concepts of time were exported globally during the nineteenth century, through the process of settler-colonisation.

Early Career Indigenous Researcher Awards

The project incorporates postgraduate research training for Indigenous scholars to undertake research related to the project while also developing their individual research career development through publication, mentoring and networking opportunities:

Lilly Brown

Lilly belongs to the Gumbaynngirr people of mid-north coast of New South Wales, but grew up in the foothills of Perth, Western Australia. She has a BA in History and Anthropology from the University of Western Australia, in addition to first class honours in Indigenous Studies from the University of Melbourne. More recently as a Charlie Perkins Scholar, she completed an MPhil in Politics, Development and Democratic Education at the University of Cambridge.  Her interests lie in knowledge production and transfer, the link between knowledge and power, and the value of education as a tool to affect positive social change. Click to read project outline.

Olivia Slater

Olivia is a Yamatji Noongar woman, living and studying in Melbourne with an interest in where Indigenous creative expression intersects with archival records. Having recently completed by undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies she is currently undertaking an Honours year of study. Her thesis focuses on Coranderrk: We Will Show The Country, the play and the way in which a verbatim theatre performance can potentially redress historical injustices using specifically Indigenous/Indigenist research methodologies. Click to read project outline.

Karri Walker

Karri Walker is a Nyiyparli woman from the Pilbara, however has grown up on Wurudjeri land. She completed high school at Melbourne Girls College, upon completion she gained access to the University of Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Arts and was awarded a National Scholarship. Karri graduated with a double degree in Indigenous Studies and Criminology. She is currently studing a Juris Doctor of Law at the University of Melbourne. Her interests lie within Indigenous jurisprudence, and the way in which the Western law keeps Australia within a colonised state of being. Click to read project outline.

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