Associate Professor Sandy O'Sullivan

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Associate Professor Sandy O'Sullivan


Teaching areas

  • Visual Arts and Design
  • Music and Sound
  • Cultural Studies
  • First Nations' Creative Practice
  • Museum Studies
  • Genderqueer Performance Studies

Research areas

  • museums, curatorial practice and cultural interpretation
  • Indigenous cultural studies and practice
  • visual arts and design
  • Indigenous higher education
  • first Nations’ built environment
  • genderqueer performance
  • creative practice and industry and creative research
  • social media, coding, app development in First Nations’ contexts
  • sound and music performance and production
  • ingesting culture/food and cultural resistance/resilience


Associate Professor Sandy O'Sullivan is a Wiradjuri (Aboriginal) academic, researcher and creative practitioner. Her research and teaching includes art, design, music, performance and cultural representation – with a particular focus on First Nations’ agency and aspiration.

Sandy was the inaugural director of the Centre for Collaborative First Nations’ Research and across that role completed an ARC funded review of 470 national and international museums that examined their capacity to engage and represent First Nations’ Peoples; she continues to work across the museums, curatorial and interpretation space.

An enduring Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, Sandy is the recipient of multiple national competitive ARC and OLT grants and awards and has given keynotes nationally and internationally.

She is on the publishing board of Aboriginal Studies Press, recently co-convened the first Indigenous Built Environment in Higher Education forum and is completing a major ARC Linkage with the Queensland Conservatorium on mapping creative practice across the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory.

Sandy’s research focus is on empowering and engaging national and international First Nations’ Community/ies, scholars, industry, and practitioners in agentic and aspirational approaches to nation(s)-building through the creative industries.


Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows
  • Sandy is the current National Indigenous Convenor for the ALTF. Contact Sandy if you require information or consultancy on embedding processes.
  • Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow (2009-enduring) and National Indigenous Representative

Professional memberships

  • Editorial Board of Aboriginal Studies Press
  • Ambassador, IndigenousX
  • Member, Music Australia
  • Member, Australian Feminist Research Network
  • Editorial Board of Journal of Global Indigeneity
  • Editorial Board of Ab-original Journal
  • Adjunct Professor, Koori Centre, Deakin University
  • Adjunct A/Prof, QLD Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University
  • Founding member of the Indigenous Studies Network
  • Member of the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence
  • Member of AIATSIS
  • Associate Member of Creativities in Interarts Network (CIAN – Cambridge)
  • Research Associate with Thinking Through the Museum: Museum Queeries, Canada

Awards and Fellowships

  • Office for Learning and Teaching Fellow, now Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow (2009-enduring)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Research Fellowship (2010-2014)
  • Australian Feminist Research Network Fellowships (2015-16)
  • Academic in Residence at James Cook University (2014)
  • Academic fellowship funding from Forum for Indigenous Excellence/Croakey (2016)
  • Artist in Residence at Nova Scotia School of Art and Design (2004)
  • Artist in Residence at Wollongong City Art Gallery (1995-6)

Current research projects

Project name Project description
Creative Barkly This ARC Linkage project focuses on mapping creative practice across the remote Barkly region of the Northern Territory. The project is led by the QLD Conservatorium Research Centre and industry partners include Barkly Regional Arts and Regional Development Australia (NT). Publications across 2018-19. For more information visit Creative Barkly.
Worlds This app/smp focused international museums, keeping places, interpretation spaces, and national parks project is currently under development.
Recalibrating extremes across museum collections: anthropodermic bibliopegy and the shock of the everyday

This is an ongoing project associated with Museum Queeries of the Thinking Through the Museum Collective. Through reviewing strategies that engage counterpoint and subtlety in representation, the project aims to assert agency and subvert colonial narratives that diminish capability and potential. Publications across 2018-20. Funding for the next stage is currently being sought.

Pan-optics/Pan-igine/Self-igine Facilitated by travel funding from SUNY: Albany and the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence, this project explores the idea of connections between First Nations’ Peoples and First Nations’ scholars and social networking, travel, and the value of comparative study. For exhibition across 2018/19. Publications across 2018-20.
The Disciplines A co-authored work with Dr Sandra Phillips, where we explore our experiences as Aboriginal academics working across mainstream discipline areas within universities. Publication early 2018.
Infectious Agents: the pure Indigene The single drop theory and its challenges/ers. This is a creative project exploring ideas of ingestion, the emergence of food sentinels, miscegenation and representation. Due for completion in 2018/19. Publication and exhibition.

Research grants

Grant / Project Name Investigators Funding body & A$ value Year(s) Focus (of research grant
Creative Barkly

With Prof Brydie Bartleet, Dr Naomi Sunderland, Prof Phil Hayward w., Regional Development NT and Barkly Regional Arts.


ARC – Linkage

2015-2019 The project aims to map creative practice across the remote Barkly region of the Northern Territory.

Collaborative Research Network – Develop CCFNR

Lead CI, w/co-lead -Dr Peter Stephenson


A$1.5 m
2011-2017 The development of the Centre for Collaborative First Nations’ Research and a higher degree program aimed at Indigenous candidates across education, creative practice and languages.

Museum Queries: Intersectional Interventions into Museum Cultures and Practices

Keynote/workshop/funding with 

University of Winnipeg/Canadian Museum of Human Rights

Canadian Government Connection Grant


2017 Funded to travel to give keynote/workshop, and to work with team at the University of Winnipeg.

Reversing the Gaze

ARC / Discovery Indigenous
Lead CI w/PI Dr Peter Stephenson, PI Dr Lyn Fasoli

ARC Discovery Indigenous


Representation and engagement with First Nations’ Peoples in the national museum


Reversing the Gaze

Bachelor Institute Internal funding

Lead CI

Internal funding



Matching ARC Discovery on Museums

New Media resources for Indigenous researcher training

Lead CI

OLT Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship and Development

A$90,000 + A$30,000



 The fellowship and development, focused on engaging supervisors of Indigenous research candidates, to encourage alternative dissemination of research findings
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