islPAL - International Society for Leadership in Pedagogy and Learning

Pedagogies and Learning

Professor Boni Roberston - Profile 

Professor Boni Roberston has held the position of Director of the GUMURRII Centre, Griffith University, since 1995. In 2007 was appointed to the position of Professor, Indigenous Policy, Community Engagement and Partnerships at Griffith University and currently works through the Office of Provost Logan campus. Prior to these appointments Professor Robertson held senior appointments in the Indigenous support program at The University of Queensland for 11 years, the State Ministerial Indigenous Education Advisory Committee for 4 years.

Professor Roberston has co-authored numerous state, national and international reviews and reports relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her main research interests include social health and law and justice, and her work has a strong emphasis on identifying proactive, solution-oriented interventions that enhance life circumstances for Indigenous peoples.

Throughout her career, Professor Roberston has provided advice to governments, the media, the legal arena, industry and the wider community on issues of relevance to Indigenous peoples.

Professor Robertson holds membership on a number of state and national committees, including: the Multicultural Council of Australia, the Murrii Court in the Queensland Magistracy, the World Indigenous Network Higher Education Consortium, the National Network of Indigenous Women's Legal Services, Vic Health Violence Prevention Advisory Committee, CSIRO National Indigenous Reference Committee, National Red Cross Indigenous Reference Committee, the National Indigenous Women's Research Consortium and National Indigenous Women's Justice Coalition to name a few.

Professor Robertson has a long and strong history in conducting and supporting research that aims to understand, respect and enhance the real lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Professor Robertson's key research concerns are in the areas of social science, health and legal studies.

Well respected for her skills and experiences in evidentiary and social action research Professor Robertson is recognised as an authority on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's experiences of violence and violence prevention following her significant role in the research report, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Task Force Report on Violence 1999 and many other reports around the emotional and social well being of Indigenous women, children and families. Professor Robertson has worked extensively with Elders to develop community based research projects to address the educational disengagement of young Indigenous people and community members.

Professor Robertson has also conducted extensive research in Indigenous communities and legal settings. She co-authored the Aboriginal English Project, which combined ethnography of communication and interactional sociolinguistics to explore the usage, application and recognition of Aboriginal English, as it applies in legal contexts. More recently, Professor Robertson has conducted collaborative research with colleagues in Canada and New Zealand to develop the report, 'Indigenous Women in the Criminal Justice and Correctional Systems: A Tri-Nation Report'.

Research conducted and supported by Professor Robertson has impacted social policies, practices and processes within State and Commonwealth government, Griffith University and the broader, more general community. Professor Robertson has been instrumental in working with Elders from the broader Indigenous community to sit on University bodies and advisory committees. The work undertaken by Professor Robertson has contributed significantly to what she terms 'Indigenising the University - its practices, processes, imagery; its culture'.

Within the broader, more general community, Professor Robertson took on a significant and challenging role in supporting the setting up of the Murrii Court, within the Queensland Magistracy. Professor Robertson regularly sits on the bench, where her role is to support in the determination of the most appropriate sentencing options and interventions for Indigenous peoples brought before the courts. Professor Robertson continues to provide proactive support for judicial processes that moves the criminal justice system towards their goals of equal and fair representation for all.

Professor Robertson's many achievements have seen her receive recognition as a role model for her people. An articulate and astute academic, Professor Robertson was awarded the inaugural Bennelong Medal for outstanding leadership in Indigenous affairs in 2002. Professor Robertson has a solid reputation within both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities for her tireless commitment to improving Indigenous education and race relations both internationally and in the Australian context. She was recently named one of the Top 50 A-List Thinkers in Queensland in her field of expertise and was appointed Co-Chair of the World Indigenous Higher Education Network Consortium resulting in her being the 1st Indigenous woman worldwide to hold this position. She is currently a member of the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council and a member of the Criminal Justice Research Advisory Committee.