the orange sun against a black space background
Image: Geoff Wyatt

MAAS Indigenous Sciences Symposium 2019

Presented by Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences


The MAAS Indigenous Sciences Symposium 2019 is dedicated to honouring the next generation of Indigenous scientists and those supporting their development.

Standing on the shoulders of our Ancestors we celebrate 60,000 years of technological advancement and eco-sustainable practices. A key focus for the gathering is the discussion of ethical frameworks around Indigenous scientific knowledges – the sharing of information and the reclamation of intellectual property that has been developed over millennia.

This gathering brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics, theorists, researchers, designers, engineers, educators and students from across the community.

It provides an important opportunity to shape future research and investigations focused on exploring and sharing the sophistication, richness, and leadership of Australia’s First Peoples within the scientific domain.

To access the ATSI Community subsidised registration code please call MAAS Head of Indigenous Engagement & Strategy on (02) 9217 0184 or email


9.30 Registration
10.00 Welcome
10.15 Session 1:  Joanne Selfe – Nia yah mah – I have made it
11.00 Morning Tea
11.30 Session 2:  Shaun Angeles – The Strehlow Collection and Research Centre
12.15 Session 3:  Deb Breckenridge and Dr Emma Barnes – University/Community Research Collaborations: Achievements and Challenges
1.00 Lunch
1.45 Session 4:  Jess Fidler and Alyce Lythall – CSIRO Indigenous STEM and Data 61
2.30 Session 5:  Angie Abdilla and Keir Winesmith – Old Ways New: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the digital age
3.15 Afternoon Tea
3.45 Session 6:  Plenary and closing remarks
4.30 Networking

All details are correct at the time of publication – but subject to change without notification.



Marcus Hughes
MAAS Head of Indigenous Engagement & Strategy
Adjunct Associate Professor – WSU School of Humanities & Communication Arts

Peter Raddoll
Director – Ngunnawal Centre
Professor of Information Technology and
Dean – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy University of Canberra


Joanne Selfe
Joanne Selfe is an Aboriginal woman born in Sydney. A founding member of Warringa Baiya (NSW Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service) she sits on the Youth Koori Court as an Elder. She is a master grass weaver.

She has held a variety Aboriginal management positions across all sectors working in areas as diverse as health, women, information technology, sport, economic development, criminal, social and economic justice.   These experiences served to enhance her understanding of the depth of issues and aspirations of her people.

She is passionate about the need to establish robust ethical frameworks that guarantee the intellectual property that has been developed by community over millennia is protected and maintained, ensuring that the community directly benefit economically from their knowledge.

Joanne is committed to advancing the social, cultural, economic and political outcomes for her community through the cultivation of strong partnerships ethically developed through the respectful management of Indigenous knowledge systems.

Shaun Angeles Penangke
Shaun Angeles Penangke is a Kungarakany and Arrernte man who grew up in the central desert lands of his mother in Mparntwe, Alice Springs. He belongs to a long lineage of Kwatye-kenhe (Rainmaker) and Yerrampe (Honey ant) families whose traditional country is centered on Apmere Ayampe and Apmere Alkwepetye, both located north of Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

Shaun is the Artwe-kenhe (Men’s) Collection Researcher at the Strehlow Research Centre, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and has worked in this capacity for the past five years with a very important and highly restricted collection of Central Australian Aboriginal men’s cultural heritage material consisting of sacred artefacts, archival documents, genealogies, and a digitised catalogue of ceremonial film and song recordings. This role involves complex research that relies upon the continuous engagement and consultation with highly knowledgeable senior Aboriginal Elders who are imperative to the well-being of this significant collection.

He is currently completing a Master of Research at the University of Western Sydney with a thesis based on the significant contributions of the Akngerrepate (senior Elders) who not only informed TGH Strehlow’s research but were effectively the co-creators of this important body of ancestral cultural knowledge. Shaun is a member of the Indigenous Repatriation Program National Advisory Committee and is a passionate advocate of indigenous governance and agency within cultural heritage collections.

Deb Breckenridge
Proud Yaegl woman and artist Deborah Breckenridge is a Cultural Liaison Officer at Maclean High School in northern NSW. Deb has been instrumental in delivering Maclean High School’s unique River of Learning Cultural Immersion Program. She is also an integral team member of the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), which uses science to place Indigenous students in leadership positions.

Dr Emma Barnes
Dr Emma Barnes is a natural products chemist, part time program manager for the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), and founder of STEM Avenue. Emma is passionate about working with school, university and industry members to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in science education and careers.

Jessica Fidler
Jessica Fidler currently works as part of the Monitoring and Evaluation team under the Indigenous STEM Education Project administered by CSIRO. As part of her work with CSIRO Jessica has contributed to a number of projects as a research assistant and as a result Jessica has co-authored several papers. Jessica’s most significant body of work includes the impacts of technology on the workforce and the education sector.

Jessica is a proud Wiradjuri woman with family connections in Leeton, New South Wales. It is Jessica’s aspiration to significantly impact and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to take part in tertiary education.

Alyce Lythall
Alyce Lythall is a senior User Experience Designer with a focus on user research, strategic design and inclusive design. Alyce currently works at CSIRO’s Data61, where she helps data-driven technology products and projects balance diverse user, community and business needs, in order to achieve better outcomes for everyone. In the past she has also worked across a wide variety of industries, including financial services, communications, media, health, all levels of government, retail, education and not for profit.

Alyce is a proud descendent of the Yuwaalaraay and Guwamu/Kooma people from the Narran River area of Northern NSW and Southern QLD. She is passionate about embedding her cultural values into her work and uplifting Indigenous Australians through equity, agency and respect.

Angie Abdilla
Founder & CEO of Old Ways New, Angie Abdilla is a Palawa, (Trawlwoolway) woman who has been living and working in Sydney for over 15 years. Angie works across culture, research, strategy, and technology, using Indigenous cultural knowledges to inform service design, deep technology and placemaking for both the public and private sectors. Her published research on Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence was presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Angie and Old Ways, New have published the co-edited book Decolonising the Digital: Technology as Cultural Practice and co-founded the pioneering international Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence symposium. Angie previously lectured and led studio’s on Human/Technology inter-Relations and Futuring methodologies at the University of Technology Sydney and continues to publicly present on the topic. Angie is a Fellow of The Ethics Centre and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney.

Keir Winesmith
Keir is a digital leader, strategist and theorist who has been working at the intersection of digital, culture and place for the last 15 years. In June 2018 he was included in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for his work in this area. Keir is the lead digital strategist and practitioner for Old Ways, New. Previously, he directed the award-winning digital department at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where he created and led the museum’s R&D group, SFMOMA Lab. Before moving to California, he led the digital team at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and spent 4 years working as a software developer and then technical lead within the online team at the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Keir is a Professor at UNSW Art & Design where he completed his Ph.D. in New Media. He holds degrees in Computer Science and Physics from the University of Sydney.