The Academy launched The John Mulvaney Fellowship in 2019. This award honours the outstanding contribution to Humanities scholarship, the Academy and the cultural life of the nation of one of our longest serving Fellows and former Academy Secretary John Mulvaney AO CMG FBA FSA FRAI FAHA.

Fondly known as the “father of Australian Archaeology”, John Mulvaney was an acknowledged world-leader in the field of hunter-gatherer archaeology and a passionate defender of Australia’s heritage and the rights of its Indigenous peoples. He not only introduced Australian prehistory into the tertiary teaching curriculum, but also fundamentally changed the way archaeological fieldwork was practised in Australia.

In keeping with Professor Mulvaney’s deep commitment to Indigenous people and cultures, The John Mulvaney Fellowship is an award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early career researchers and PhD students working in any area of the humanities. The recipient of the John Mulvaney Fellowship will receive $4000 towards undertaking research or fieldwork in Australia or overseas, including accessing archives and other research materials and connecting with researchers and networks.

The 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship recipient

An award-winning Australian artist Dr Carol McGregor, whose recent practice involves the revival of the traditional Indigenous possum skin cloak, is the recipient of the 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship.

Dr Carol McGregor is a Brisbane-based artist of Wathaurung (Kulin Nation) and Scottish descent, and is a possum skin cloak maker, painter, printmaker and sculptor. She has held various tutoring and lecturing positions over the last five years at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

As an artist, she seeks to adapt and embrace new technologies to reclaim and connect to cultural expression, whilst revealing and exposing hidden histories within the landscape. Dr McGregor revives the traditional possum skin cloak as a contemporary art form and a way to strengthen community and individual identities.

Her research trip will further her work on possum cloaks. She will meet with Elders in the Bidjara community and visit the Gunggari people who are the Native Title holders of Mt Moffat. She plans to conduct workshops and by working with Elders and the community, she hopes to create contemporary cloaks while educating the community and starting new conversations about their importance and tradition.

Dr Carol McGregor (L) and ‘Skin Country’ cloak (2018) (R)

It is an honour to be selected as the 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship recipient. This project honours his work in the field and particularly the connection he had to the Mt Moffat and the Carnarvon Range area, and the respect and understanding he had for the rights of Indigenous people. This research and the continuum of culture is significant on a local, national, global scale. Not only to Indigenous communities, but to all humanities.
Carol McGregor, 2020 recipient

Learn more about Dr McGregor’s work via this video from the ‘Art of the Skins’ exhibition (2016):


The next round of the John Mulvaney Fellowship will open in early February 2021.

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