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We have a number of committees and boards that support and provide advice across our organisation. 

Committees that provide advice to the Council:

  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Collections Advisory Committee
  • Foundation Board
  • Membership Standing Committee

Committees that provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer:

  • Consultative Committee
  • Health and Safety Committee
  • Indigenous Caucus
  • Native Title Research Advisory Committee
  • Publishing Advisory Committee
  • Research Advisory Committee
  • Research Ethics Committee
  • Audit and Risk Committee

    The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is governed by the AIATSIS Council. The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) is integral to good governance and a valuable source of independent advice for the accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity.

  • Collections Advisory Committee


    The Collections Advisory Committee (CAC) was established by Council to provide advice to the AIATSIS CEO and Director of Collections about matters in relation to collection development, management and access. The CAC will do the following:

    • consider proposals for major donations or deposits and provide advice on acceptance or otherwise;
    • provide advice on policy development, specifically on risk to the collections
    • provide advice on major project development;
    • make recommendations to the Principal about collection matters; and
    • contribute to planning or strategic‐thinking workshops run by Collections


    Council will appoint two members to the Committee. The balance of the Committee will comprise four external members, independent of AIATSIS; the Principal of AIATSIS; Deputy Principal of AIATSIS; and the Director of Collections. The external committee members will have strong collections or client interest. CAC members will normally serve a two‐year term. Members may be reappointed for a further term of two years.

    Collections Advisory Committee members:

    • Ms Nadine McDonald-Dowd
    • Ms Veronica Lunn
    • Mr Daniel Featherstone
    • Professor Peter Radoll
    • AIATSIS Council member
    • AIATSIS Council member
    • Mr Craig Ritchie (AIATSIS CEO)
    • Mr Michaael Ramalli (AIATSIS Deputy CEO)
    • Ms Leonard Hill (AIATSIS Executive Director Collections)
  • Foundation Board

    The Foundation Board reports to, and makes recommendations to the AIATSIS Council and AIATSIS Executive. 


    The functions of the Foundation Board are to:

    • Guide AIATSIS fundraising activity
    • Connect AIATSIS with strategic partners, including communities, philanthropists, industry, social enterprises and individual donors.
    • Provide advice to the AIATSIS Council and Executive on Foundation matters.

    The AIATSIS Foundation Board consists of a minimum of five (5) members and a maximum of nine (9) members appointed by the AIATSIS Council.

    Current Foundation Board members:

    • Professor Clint Bracknell (Chair, AIATSIS Council Deputy Chair)
    • Ms Henrietta Marrie (Deputy Chair, AIATSIS Council member)
    • Dr Myfany Turpin (AIATSIS Council member)
    • Mr Glenn Johnson (Member)
    • Mr Steven Kinnane (Member)
    • Ms Sue Kee (Member)
    • Mr Ben Phelps (CEO delegate)
  • Native Title Research Advisory Committee

    The AIATSIS Native Title Research Advisory Committee (NTRAC) was established by AIATSIS to provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on the research program of the Native Title Research Unit (NTRU).

    The committee comprises:

    • No fewer than 5 and no greater than 12 members;
      • Comprising majority Indigenous members and should seek to reflect a gender and age balance as well as a balance between institutional and non-institutional membership;
    • The AIATSIS CEO (also Committee chairperson) or their nominated delegate;
    • A representative of the primary funding body of the Native Title Research Unit, nominated by the Commonwealth Department responsible for Indigenous Affairs and approved by the CEO (normally the First Assistant Secretary with responsibility for native title organisations);
    • The AIATSIS Executive Director of Research and Education;
    • At least two native title experts, who are in current practice, connected with native title processes and reflect the disciplinary diversity involved in native title practice.

    Native Title Research Advisory Committee members:

    • Mr Craig Ritchie (CEO, AIATSIS) (Committee Chairperson)
    • Wayne Beswick (Council Member, NIAA)
    • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director of Research, AIATSIS)
    • Representative from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
    • Dr Valerie Cooms (Member – NNTT)
    • Ms Melissa George (CEO NAILSMA)
    • Ms Natalie Rotumah (CEO, NTSCorp)
    • Mr Jason Behrendt (Chalk and Behrendt Lawyer)
    • Kaylene Malthouse (Chair – NQLC)
    • Debra Pigram (Director – Yawuru PBC) 
  • Publishing Advisory Committee

    The Publishing Advisory Committee members offer a range of skills and academic credentials including Indigenous community and language knowledge, research, writing and publishing expertise. Along with staff in the Aboriginal Studies Press team, the committee considers manuscripts submitted for publication. The committee members make recommendations to the CEO about publication. 

    Publishing Advisory Committee members:

    • Mr Leonard Hill (DCEO, AIATSIS)
    • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director, Research and Education)
    • Ms Marie Ferris (Director, Aboriginal Studies Press)
    • Professor Heidi Norman
    • Dr Sandra Phillips
    • Dr Lawrence Bamblett
    • Dr Jessa Rogers
  • Research Advisory Committee

    The Research Advisory Committee is established under section 31(1) of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989 (the Act).

    The Research Advisory Committee consists of the following members:

    • Up to 10 experts appointed by the CEO
    • The AIATSIS CEO (Chairperson and ex officio)
    • The AIATSIS Executive Director of Research and Education (ex officio)

    The Research Advisory Committee has the following functions:

    • To provide strategic advice to the CEO in relation to AIATSIS research matters

    Research Advisory Committee members:

    • Mr Craig Ritchie (Chair, Chief Executive Officer) 
    • Dr Lisa Strelein (Executive Director, Research and Education) 
    • Professor Braden Hill
    • Professor Bronwyn Fredericks
    • Professor Colleen Hayward 
    • Professor Jacinta Elston
    • Professor Maggie Walter
    • Professor Peter Anderson
  • Research Ethics Committee

    The AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee is responsible for reviewing projects involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research to ensure the appropriate ethical standards have been met. The Committee welcomes applications from external organisations (fees apply). All AIATSIS research projects are subject to review by the Committee.

    The Committee is registered with the NHMRC and reviews projects in accordance with the National Statement and the AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Research.

    We are currently recruiting members to the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee (REC).

    Research Ethics Committee members

    Kevin Williams (Chair)

    Kevin is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka people. He joined the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as Chairperson. Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts degree (CQU), Bachelor of Laws (UNSW), Master of Laws (SCU) and has worked in academia and human rights for a number of years. Kevin is currently undertaking a PhD in law.

    Associate Professor Andrew Crowden (Deputy Chair)

    Andrew Crowden has PhD and Master’s degrees from the Bioethics Centre at Monash University. He is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Queensland’s School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) where he is Chairperson of the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and Chairperson of the Animal Ethics Committee. Andrew’s research in philosophy, ethics and genomics is funded by the University of Queensland, the Queensland Genomic Health Alliance and the John Templeton Foundation in collaboration with the University of Virginia and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Andrew joined the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee in 2017.

    Mandy Downing

    Mandy Downing is a Yindjibarndi woman who descends from the Lockyer family from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Mandy is a Research Development Advisor in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University located on Wadjuk Noongar Boodjar and has worked in various roles in research at Curtin since 2012. Mandy was twice awarded the Curtin University Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award in 2018 and 2020.

    Mandy joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a Researcher. Mandy has a Bachelor of Applied Science Indigenous Australian Research (Honours) degree from Curtin University, Centre for Aboriginal Studies where she explored the institutional barriers which Aboriginal researchers face when conducting human research. Additionally, Mandy graduated from the University of Melbourne with first class honours in a Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research Leadership and is a Doctor of Philosophy student at the University of Melbourne with research interests in the decolonisation of policy and institutional racism. Mandy is a graduate from the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute and has worked in the education, employment and training sector for over 20 years. Mandy is a Committee member for the University of Western Australia Human Research Ethics Committee and the Western Australian Department of Education Schools Animal Ethics Committee.

    Further, Mandy is a consultant with the Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services, the Australian lead of the Australasian Research Management Society’s First Nations Research Special Interest Group and the Co-Facilitator of the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute’s Emerging Leadership program. 

    Dr Rowan Savage

    Rowan Savage is a proud Kombumerri man. He works in the field of Aboriginal education, with a focus on languages and culture. He has a strong interest in equity and diversity, across all aspects of identity but with a particular focus on Aboriginality and LGBTQI identity. He volunteers in various positions related to these interests.

    Rowan joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a Researcher. He holds a doctorate in sociology and, before entering his current position in Aboriginal education, has worked as a university lecturer, and in public service in the field of human rights.

    Trent Shepherd

    Trent Shepherd is an Aboriginal lawyer and Gomeroi man. Currently working at the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, he was previously working with the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court on improving access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and families. He was instrumental in the establishment of Indigenous Family Law courts across Australia. Trent also sits on the NSW Law Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee.

    Trent joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a lawyer. Trent has degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Wollongong. He has been admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Federal Court and High Court of Australia.

    Tara Harriden

    Tara is a Wiradjuri woman who was born on Eora Country and grew up on Turrbal and Yugara Country (Brisbane City). Tara been a registered teacher since 1991 and has worked as a high school Dance, English and Art teacher, school counsellor, principal, head of wellbeing, professional learning coordinator and careers/guidance counsellor. She has worked as an educator in high schools, TAFEs and universities from Bamaga to Hobart, Geraldton to Alice Springs and Adelaide and has written and delivered the nationally accredited Diploma of Flexible Learning.

    Tara is also a youth worker and a registered and practising Arts Therapist, having completed a Master of Mental Health at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in 2009. Tara runs art therapy and arts-based clinical supervision sessions for her clients on weekends and after hours. Tara has 2 very loving parents, 3 beautiful adult kids, a dog, a cat, 5 fish and a collection of pot plants she shares her love with. Tara joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a pastoral care representative.

    Kay Blades

    Kay Blades is a Mandandanji woman from South West Queensland. Kay joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a pastoral care representative. She is recognised around the country for her work in building the cultural capability of staff working for Commonwealth agencies and departments.

    Kay has worked with the Commonwealth for 33 years. For a lot of these years she has worked in Indigenous affairs. Kay also brings to the committee her lived experiences of holding an advisory position with not-for-profit Aboriginal organisations for the past 7 years.

    Dr Tracey Powis

    Tracey is a pākehā (European descent, from Aotearoa/New Zealand) cis-woman who grew up in Australia and has spent a fair amount of her life going back and forth across the ditch for work and family reasons. She's worked with Aboriginal communities in a number of capacities, whether in research, community-outreach or therapeutic services. She's also a mother to two children, of pākehā & Aboriginal heritage respectively.

    Currently Tracey works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their families in Canberra, ACT.

    Tracey joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a practitioner. Tracey has tertiary qualifications in psychology and research and is genuinely surprised to realise that she's been working in this space for almost 15 years. She continues to learn from those who have gone before her, and from the children and young people in her life, who keep her accountable on a daily basis.

    Natalie Clark Reynolds

    Natalie joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2020 as a layperson. She was born in Canada into a family who embedded in her an empathy and caring in all she undertakes. Natalie has a degree in Chemical Engineering and although her career begin in technical fields, she has migrated towards areas of ethics, health and education. She has been a Community Representative on Bellberry Limited Human Research Ethics Committees since 2009, has also worked as a Consumer Representative on her local health network and with CT:IQ on a project to improve recruitment of clinical trials in Australia. Natalie works part time as a student support officer in a primary school and spends much enjoyable time with her family.

    Associate Professor Alwin Chong

    Alwin is a Wakamin man from Far North Queensland and has over 35 years of research experience in various roles as Associate Professor at the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP), Director for Positive Futures Research Collaboration, Acting Director of Yaitya Purruna Indigenous Health Unit (YPIHU), and Senior Research and Ethics Officer for the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia.

    Alwin's areas of expertise closely align with his commitment to Indigenous health and child protection. These areas include alternative strategies for Aboriginal child protection, conducting research that tackles large societal issues such as smoking and gambling in Indigenous communities, and the perception around Fatherhood for young Indigenous men.

    Caroline Hughes

    Caroline joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a layperson.

    Cheyne Halloran

    Cheyne joined the Research Ethics Committee in 2019 as a layperson.