University appoints inaugural Director of Indigenous Knowledge Institute

Professor Aaron Corn has been appointed the new Director of the Indigenous Knowledge Institute.

Experienced educator and leading scholar of Indigenous music Professor Aaron Corn has been appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Melbourne’s new Indigenous Knowledge Institute for world-leading research and partnerships concerning Indigenous knowledge.

Professor Corn has almost 30 years’ experience of close collaborations with Indigenous colleagues. He has worked towards broader recognition for the significance of Indigenous knowledge through multiple research and education initiatives, including major grants and fellowships led by Indigenous colleagues.

He has been involved in many collaborative projects with Indigenous colleagues, as well as partners including the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Mulka Project, the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, the Archive for the Indigenous Languages of Latin America and the College of Indigenous Studies at National Dong Hwa University.

His previous work as a lecturer in Australian Indigenous Studies and completion of a PhD at the University of Melbourne involved extensive collaboration with Indigenous colleagues in Arnhem Land, including founders of the band Yothu Yindi and the Yothu Yindi Foundation.

Professor Corn has recently been Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music Studies, and the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music, at the University of Adelaide. He has served as a Director of the National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia since 2010.

Professor Corn said he was excited by the extraordinary opportunity to contribute to establishing and developing the Indigenous Knowledge Institute. “The breadth and depth of Indigenous researchers and research at the University of Melbourne is truly outstanding. It is a great honour to be Inaugural Director of this Institute, which has a great opportunity to help maintain, cultivate and showcase the importance Indigenous knowledge and cultures.”

Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said: “The Indigenous Knowledge Institute is building on the incredible work already taking place between University researchers and teachers and Indigenous communities across Australia. Professor Corn’s ability to work closely with Indigenous researchers and others engaged collaboratively in Indigenous research will help the Institute make a significant difference to recognising and advancing Indigenous knowledge.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) Professor Shaun Ewen said: “There is a lot of work ahead. We want the Institute and the wider university sector to be a place where Indigenous knowledge and other knowledge systems have a rich and beneficial exchange, contributing to the betterment of our communities and societies.”

The University’s Associate Provost Professor Marcia Langton said: “Professor Corn has an unwavering commitment to understanding and promoting the importance of Indigenous knowledge, and he will bring great experience and a determined partnership approach to working across different disciplines, sectors and cultures.”